Dec. 22, 2010

Amy Farnum,

It was quite a trip to the Aloha State for the Thomas More College women’s basketball team as the Saints remained unbeaten with a pair of wins at the Hoop N Surf Classic in Honolulu over the weekend.

First, the Saints upended then-No. 3 Christopher Newport University, 74-64, behind senior center Nicole Dickman’s 18 points, and then rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit to down Ithaca College, 74-73, in overtime on Dec. 20. Dickman finished the game against the Bombers with a double-double of a career-best 28 points and 11 rebounds.

Thomas More moved up five spots to No. 5 in the latest Top 25 following the upset of CNU. The Saints will take a break before putting their 9-0 record on the line against Centre College for a non-conference contest on Dec. 30.

Need to Know

• Calvin College broke back into the Top 25 on the merits of a five-game winning streak after defeating Albion, 73-65, in a battle for first place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association on Dec. 18. Sophomore center Carissa Verkaik was one blocked shot short of a triple-double as she contributed 30 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks and the Knights moved to 3-0 in MIAA play. A native of Holland, Mich., went 9-of-15 from the field and grabbed four steals as the Knights came back from a 10-point deficit for the win. Verkaik, a native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., collected her second MIAA Player of the Week award for her performance.

• University of the Ozarks women’s basketball has seen a major improvement over last season as the Lady Eagles have already matched their win total of seven before the holiday break. Junior center Sabrina Goddard helped the Lady Eagles snap a four-game losing streak with 23 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots in an upset of Texas-Dallas last week. It was UTD’s first loss of the season. Goddard, a product of Stroud, Okla., was named American Southwest Conference East Division Player of the Week for her outstanding play in the 69-60 victory. Goddard currently leads the ASC with 42 blocked shots this season.

• No. 8 Babson College will head into the holidays with a perfect 10-0 mark after finishing off the Las Vegas Hoopla festival with a 61-50 defeat of SUNY Oneonta on Dec. 21. The Beavers began the tournament with a win over Roanoke College behind junior Nicki Wurdeman’s 23 points and 11 rebounds. Wurdeman, a native of Rowley, Mass., followed it up with 24 points and 14 rebounds as the Beavers handed SUNY Oneonta its first loss of the season. Wurdeman tops the team in both scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg).

• Muhlenberg College junior Alexandra Chili picked up the fourth Centennial Conference Player of the Week honor of her career as she sparked the Mules to a 67-53 win at Montclair State on Dec. 18. Chili netted 27 points along with five assists and three steals as the Mules moved to 8-0 on the season. The native of Rockville, Md., has tallied at least 20 points in five contests, and leads the CC in scoring with 21.8 points per game and 3-point field goals per game (3.13).

• Millikin senior center Elise Wildman posted double-doubles in consecutive Big Blue victories in the Harriett Crannell Holiday Classic last week, and was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for her efforts. The native of Lovington, Ill., registered 17 points and 13 rebounds against previously unbeaten Wisconsin Lutheran, and then added 19 points and 19 rebounds versus Blackburn. Wildman reached the 1,000-point career mark during the tournament, and was selected College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Player of the Week for her performance.