Tai Webster has found some good form lately for the Nebraska University Huskers. He is the only player averaging double figures in Big Ten Conference play while not making a start in conference play. Webster is averaging 11 points per game and had 12 points and a career-high five steals last week against Michigan.
On Saturday the Huskers visited Purdue, a college that must have one of the least attractive monikers in NCAA sport, being known as the Boilermakers. Unattractive or not the No. 21 ranked Purdue topped Nebraska, 89-74, the Huskers slipping to 4-5 in conference games. Webster was in the thick of the action again with 17 points (6/10FG, 4/5FT), 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
Jack Salt only played 4 minutes for the Virginia University Cavaliers on Tuesday but he was a member of the excited bench brigade looking on as the Cavs came back from 10 points down with 1:23 remaining to defeat Wake Forrest 72-71. Guard Darius Thompson made a sideline three on the buzzer to give the Cavs the most unlikely of victories.
Virginia improved to 6-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play on Saturday routing Louisville 63-47. Salt only played in the last minute but did step on court in front 22,000 Louisville supporters. Imagine that!
US College - Women
Being named the West Coast Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for the third straight week did nothing to diminish Kalani Purcell's thirst for action.
The BYU-Provo Cougars forward recorded her 11th double double of the season as the Cougars won the first of four consecutive road games beating Loyola Marymount, 82-75 on Thursday. Purcell recorded 14 points and 14 rebounds. BYU closed out its southern California road trip with its tenth straight win, 77-66, in a close fought battle against Pepperdine on Saturday.
Saint Mary's Gaels completed their first-ever undefeated month of January, defeating Pacific 83-75 on Saturday. Stella Beck fouled out in just 17 minutes after contributing 7 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. The win gave the Gaels a 7-0 record in January, as they improve to 17-4 overall, 8-2 West Coast Conference. The win sets up a big weekend next week as the Gaels welcome first-place co-leaders BYU-Provo and San Diego. The Gaels are just one game back in the loss column and can move up the WCC standings with a win or wins.
Hawkes Bay Forward Josie Stockill led the Colgate scoring with 19 points (6/24FG, 6/8FT) as the Raiders lost 64-56 to America in Washington. Stockill, who is having an outstanding season, added 7 rebounds an assist and a block as Colgate slip to a 2-7 record in Patriot League games.
After battling traffic on the trip down to Orange County, Cal State Northridge Matadors picked up its second Big West Conference win defeating UC Irvine 83-64 on Thursday night. Tessa Boagni came off the bench to finish with eight points (2/3FG, 4/5FT); all coming in the opening quarter, and eight rebounds for the Matadors.
Boagni was in boards dominating form again on Saturday as the Matadors won its third-straight conference game with a 79-52 victory over Cal State Fullerton. The Cantabrian added 4 points, 2 assists and a block to a 10 rebounds haul.
Former Rangitoto College student Penina Davidson (2pts/2rebs/1steal) started for University of Cal Golden Bears who picked up just their second Pac-12 Conference win on Friday, edging to a welcome 74-71 win against Washington State.
At home again on Sunday the Golden Bears slipped up against University of Washington going down 75-65. Davidson had 4 points and 3 rebounds as Cal slip to 2-8 in Pac-12 games.
Leon Henry would have loved to get another win over on his former team at Vector Arena on Friday night. The Breakers looked to be heading for a comfortable victory to avenge their 23 points drubbing at the hands of the Crocs last week. The hosts led by 11 points in the fourth quarter but in the end had to withstand a typical Townsville fight back to eventually stumble across the line 77-74. Henry had a relatively quiet night adding a block and a rebound to a couple of points.
In the battle of the top two sides Melbourne United secured an overtime victory, 91-85, in Perth against the Wildcats on Friday. Jarrod Kenny (2p/3r/4a/2steals) helped spark a Cats revival as they scored ten of the last twelve points in regulation but United weathered the Perth revival to move to the top of the NBL ladder with a 17-8 record.
Sydney Kings went down 81-76 in Cairns in the third Friday night game, the defeat handing the Kings the NBL wooden spoon for just the second time in franchise history. Dion Prewster had 2pts/4rebs/2 assists for Sydney.
There were initial fears Kirk Penney may have suffered a season-ending hamstring injury against the Breakers a couple of weeks ago before scans confirmed a burst blood vessel was behind the extensive bruising and swelling in his leg. Without Penney the Illawarra Hawks managed to split their two game series with the Adelaide 36ers in this round, both teams winning their home encounters.
Australia - Women
Our four Tall Ferns playing in the Australian WNBL had quiet outings this week despite their respective teams recording victories.
The Townsville Fire secured an important win against Sydney University Flames on Friday. The Fire won 89-80 against another top four play-off contender with guard Micaela Cocks contributing 7 points (3/6FG), 3 rebounds and an assist. Fellow Kiwi guard Chevannah Paalvast did not trouble the scorers playing just three minutes for the Fire.
Cantabrian Toni Edmondson had a 0 from 5 shooting night on Saturday as Perth Lynx thumped the injury plagued Melbourne Boomers 80-59. The Lynx remain top of the ladder, one win ahead of Townsville who have a game in hand, with a 14-6 record
Tall Fern Jess Bygate hasn't been seeing much court time lately for Adelaide Lightning but the Nelson forward did make her only shot of the game as the Lightning moved out of the bottom two on the ladder for the first time this season with a comprehensive 70-47 win over Melbourne Boomers.
It has recently been announced that at the conclusion of the WNBL season Bygate will link up with Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama at Sunbury Jets to play in the Victorian Big V League.
On Wednesday in the Eurocup Italian club Dinamo Sassari never trailed before holding on to 75-72 win over CAI Zaragoza to stay in contention for a place in the quarter finals. Sassari and CAI both hold 2-2 records in a share of second place of Group N, but CAI has the tie-breaking advantage with its 12-point win over Sassari last week. The top two teams in each group advance into the last eight. Isaac Fotu went 2 from 5 from the field for 4 points for Zaragoza.
Zaragoza was beaten 91-81 at Andorra on Saturday and appears to be in a Liga Endesa relegation battle in the second half of the season. Fotu started for Zaragoza but scored just 5 points as his team slip to 16th in the 18-team competition with a 5-13 record.
Plymouth Raiders had a double header against Sheffield Sharks at the weekend and got bitten on both occasions. Duane Bailey scored 2 points and secured 5 rebounds as the Raiders went down 74-68 on Friday night in a British Basketball League encounter. 48 hours later the Raiders were knocked out of the Trophy competition at the quarter final stage thumped 99-73 at home.
Europe - Women
Jillian Harmon is enjoying a heck of a season in Italy. In the latest game in the Italian League Harmon led all scorers with 25 points as Le Mura Lucca, with an impressive 16-1 record, retained top spot on the SerieA ladder after a hard fought 71-61 win at Battipaglia.
The Tall Ferns forward has registered nine 20+ points haul this season and sits fifth in scoring in the league averaging 19.9 points per game and second in steals with 3.8 per game.
Calais (3-12) lost its fifth game in a row in the French League going down 62-49 at Hainaut and remains 13th on the 14-team ladder. Former Canterbury guard Erin Rooney fouled out with 2 points (1/5FG), 3 rebounds and 3 assists for Calais.