basketball

Brits in College 2019-20 – February/March

We take a look back on how the top British females in college got on in the final two months of a season that was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic with March Madness cancelled.

NCAA Division 1

Ire Ozzy-Momodu started February’s action with five straight double-doubles including a season-high 23 points going with 15 rebounds for Robert Morris (23-7) in a win at Wagner. The junior centre would earn All-NEC second team honours after capturing another regular season title, posting 11 points and 12 rebounds in her penultimate game of the season.

There was more British success as Evelyn Adebayo celebrated winning both the AAC regular season title as well as the post-season tournament with UConn (29-3) who finished 16-0 in conference play.

Holly Winterburn closed out the regular season with five points in a dominant win for Washington State as Oregon (31-2) wrapped up the regular season title before storming their way to a PAC-12 tournament triumph.

Hannah Jump was in opposition in the Championship game with Stanford (27-6) with the freshman netting six points in consecutive games in February and finished the season as a 41.3% shooter from 3-point range.

A pair of Brits enjoyed success with Lauren Saa on the comeback trail and Maya Hyacienth seeing court time as Rider (25-4) claimed a share of the regular season title in the MAAC in dramatic fashion with a 50-49 victory at the buzzer.

Khaleah Edwards nearly surpassed her season-high after posting 21 points in a 53-74 win for Wagner (10-20) as well as recording two double-doubles and closing out with 17 points against Robert Morris in the post-season tournament.

Emerald Ekpiteta also finished on a high with a fourth double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds for Niagara (10-21) in defeat to Rider having scored 18 points in February against Monmouth.

Junior forward Monique Esbrand had a strong February with nine points in a 70-67 victory for Miami (11-20) before adding a further seven points against Northern Illinois. Gabby Nikitinaite posted a season-high of 19 points in opposition to help NIU (11-19) to an 86-84 overtime triumph to cap a run of four straight games in double figures including 17 points against Central Michigan.

Jenelle Grant hit double figures with 12 points at the start of February after going 5 of 5 against Iowa before adding nine points in a close 63-65 loss against Michigan State, though Purdue (18-14) would avenge the defeat in the Big Ten tournament.

Molly Taylor closed out her college career at Loyola Maryland (8-22) with a season best of six points in early February before getting the start on senior day with three points and five rebounds in a 76-65 success. Paige Robinson also wrapped up her collegiate career and finished with three points, three rebounds and a block in her final game for Florida (15-15) as they exited the SEC tournament at the hands of LSU.

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Georgia Gayle netted eight points in a 56-48 win for UCF (20-10) over USF and closed out the regular season on a high with 4 of 5 shooting from 3-point range for 12 points in a big win over Wichita State. The Knights defeated the same opponents to advance in the AAC tournament prior to a loss against third seeds Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, Loren Christie posted six points in 27 minutes of action against Akron and would finish her freshman year with three points in two MAC tournament outings for Buffalo (19-12) as they overcame Miami before falling to Kent State.

Redshirt freshman Milly Knowles set a new career-high with eight points during March, going 3 of 7 from the field in 18 minutes as Eastern Washington (4-26) were beaten at Idaho State. Esther Oluade recorded four points and three rebounds for Loyola Marymount (7-25) and caught the eye with an impressive assist against Pepperdine.

Kyla Nelson missed the last couple of months of the season having made an impressive comeback late in 2019 following surgery in the summer, while Savannah Wilkinson was another player to miss the majority of the season due to injury.

NCAA Division 2

Maya Price earned All-SSC Newcomer honours for Eckerd (24-5) with a best of 13 points coming in February on 6 of 7 shooting before her side went on to win the conference post-season tournament, while Macy Spinks was also set to compete in the DII Championship with Saint Anselm (21-7) having been named to the NE-10 All-Rookie team after an impressive first year with the Hawks.

Rebecca Morrison continued her impressive with 20 points against Wilmington before setting a new season-high with 24 points in the next outing to earn a third CACC rookie of the week award. The freshman forward then posted a second double-double with 18 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for Caldwell (8-21) with Imogen Cook netting seven points on two occasions off the bench in the run-in.

Sophomore guard/forward Shauna Harrison opened February with her second double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds for Cal University of Pennsylvania (21-9) and then fired in a career-high of 28 points to go with 11 rebounds and five assists in a win at Pitt-Johnstown. Harrison finished the month with a 19-point outing and began March with 17 points with the Vulcans heading into the Championship tourney prior to the cancellation.

Charlotte Ellmore hit 20 points for the fourth time at West Florida (8-20), finishing the season just shy of double figures in scoring averages. Another former BA guard in Sarah Round kept her scoring average above 10 points per game after finishing the season with double digits in four of the last five games for Goldey-Beacom (9-18) with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists coming against Dominican.

In her final appearance on the season, Chandera Jones posted a season-high with 13 points including 7 of 7 from the line in a 74-60 success for Millersville (8-19). Gina Brierley continued to log heavy minutes for Saint Leo (15-15) with at least 33 minutes played from February onwards with a best of 15 points coming in her penultimate game against Nova Southeastern.

Ashleigh Pink also enjoyed success against the same opponents after setting a new career-high with 18 points for Barry (9-18) in a narrow 65-66 defeat. Team-mate Harriet Swindells continued her fine form of the season with double figures in each of the eight games since February with a 28-point haul containing six triples coming at Embry-Riddle.

Alix Henderson hit double figures for the third time this season at Point Loma (18-11) with 12 points against Notre Dame de Namur having also recorded new season-highs with 12 rebounds and then eight assists in the final game of her sophomore year, while fellow Scot, Shawnisay Millar had a best of nine points for Midwestern State (11-16) in February.

Junior guard Jessica Eadsforth-Yates hit 10 points on two occasions in February for Davis & Elkins (7-22), while Dami Adeyinka also recorded double figures twice for Quincy (7-21) having also collected a season-high of eight rebounds during her side’s final month of the season. Megan Haines hit a best of 11 points for Charleston (23-7) at the start of February in concluding her sophomore year.

Cheyenne Scott scored eight points against Barry in just her fifth start on the season for Florida Tech (13-16) having faced off against five fellow Brits in the month of February alone – also facing Eckerd and Lynn.

Dani Lozzi hit 10 points at the start of February for Lynn (12-16) before finishing with 12 points against Tampa, while Loie Webb posted a season best of 20 points in a win at Rollins prior to adding a further 18 points in the next outing.

Two more Brits were destined for the NCAA DII tournament with Anna Popovic and Jade Blackburn set to be involved with Tampa and Sioux Falls, respectively before the cancellation.

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