Feb. 18, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

Francis Marion maintained its relentless momentum as the Patriots pulled away for a 98-80 victory at Lander Feb. 16, extending their winning streak to 13 consecutive contests.

FMU kept its two-game lead in the Peach Belt Conference standings as the squad improved to 15-1 in league play.  The team’s only loss of the season came at the hands of USC-Aiken on Jan. 7.

The Patriots jumped four spots to No. 11 in the latest WBCA USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25.  FMU leads the nation in scoring with 90.7 points per game, and a 27.9-point scoring margin.  The squad looks to continue its streak against Augusta State Feb. 18.

RANGERS ROLL:  Wisconsin-Parkside’s Amanda Gibson garnered Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week after helping the Rangers stretched their winning streak to five games last week.

The native of Boulder Junction, Wis., averaged 22.5 points on 75.0 percent shooting from the field, along with 8.5 assists in victories over Saint Joseph’s and Bellarmine.  Gibson was perfect from the free throw line on the week.  She paces the Rangers with 17.3 points per game, and ranks fifth in the GLVC in scoring and second in league with 4.71 assists per game.

UW-Parkside has won six of its last seven games and currently is in first place in the GLVC East Division standings.  The Rangers will travel to second-place Northern Kentucky on Feb. 18 in a match-up between the top two teams in the division.  NKU is ranked fourth in the nation.

‘BELLE OF THE BALL: Angelo State knocked off Abilene Christian with a 64-59 overtime decision in a pivotal match-up between the two Lone Star Conference South Division squads on Feb. 14.

Sophomore guard Camille Perkins contributed a game-high 20 points with five rebounds as the ‘Belles won their fourth straight game, and their third consecutive against a regionally-ranked opponent.  The native of Groesbeck, Texas, was named LSC South Player of the Week for her performance.

ASU solidified its hold on third place in the LSC South standings with the victory, and trails Abilene Christian by just one game in the league race.  The ‘Belles will host division-leading No. 7 West Texas A&M Feb. 18 as they look to hand the Lady Buffs their first loss in league play.

BIG NUMBERS: Senior guard Jahzinga Tracey of Indiana (Pa.) received her third Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Player of the Week honor after sparking the Crimson Hawks to a pair of league wins last week.

The native of Des Moines, Iowa, began the week with 31 points and nine rebounds as IUP cruised to a 79-40 win over Lock Haven for the fourth 30-point game of her career.  Tracey added 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor in a victory over Mercyhurst.  She also grabbed five rebounds in the game to become just the second player in school history with at least 1,000 points (1,939) and 1,000 rebounds (1,002) in a career.  Tracey leads the PSAC and ranks third in the nation with a 61.9 field goal percentage.

IUP looks to avenge its only loss in PSAC West action as the No. 10 Crimson Hawks host No. 6 California (Pa.) Feb. 18.   California is the top-ranked team in the Atlantic Region.

NOTABLE:  Second-ranked Fort Lewis extended its winning streak to 19 straight games with a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference wins over CSU-Pueblo and N.M. Highlands as the Skyhawks remained perfect in league play.  Junior forward Katie Mackey averaged 16 points, while shooting 88.9 perfect from beyond the arc for the week … Tampa’s Gianna Messina earned Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in wins over Eckerd and Barry last week.  She also hit the game-tying three-pointer that sent the Barry contest to overtime.  Tampa sits in second place in the SSC standings behind No. 18 Rollins College.