New Mexico State University Aggies are the Western Athletic Conference Champions after defeating Abilene Christian 66-52 in the Championship game.
The result means that Yuat Alok is the first Kiwi to be declared a starter at next week’s NCAA Tournament. The former Rangitoto College standout scored 2 points for the Aggies while Tobias Cameron had 4 points and a team high 5 rebounds for Abilene.
The other Kiwi that could join Alok with an automatic berth is Sam Mennenga. After a team high 15 points in the quarters Mennenga produced a more sedate 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists performance as Davidson College eased into the Atlantic 10 Conference Final with an 84-69 win against St Louis – a win in the final would clip Davidson’s ticket for the Big Dance.
In Women’s NCAA Division I action #2 seed UC Irvine had to settle for runners-up spot at the Big West Conference Tournament after being defeated 59-48 in the Grand Final by top seed Hawaii. Freshman guard Olivia Williams had a couple of rebounds in that one.
Selection Sunday takes place tomorrow when we will learn which other Kiwis will be headed to the NCAA Tournament.
Following a first round win against Teinhardt University Rocky Mountain College pulled away from Dakota State to win their second round tie 89-73 at the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Women’s National Championship. Waikato’s Dominique Stephens finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, all at the offensive end, a block and a steal as Rocky advance to the Round of 16.
Dallas Baptist University returned to the NCAA Division II National Championships for the fifth straight year but had to take on Black Hills State without centre Will Heather. The former Rosmini College National Championship winner has had to undergo surgery for a lingering back injury. DBU struggled without their influential big man and were defeated 76-68.
Former Harbour guard Hannah Wentworth was New Zealand’s sole representative at the Women’s NCAA Division II National Championships but she and her Eckerd College teammates couldn’t repeat the heroics of their first round victory against Florida Southern. Wentworth made 4 from 5 from deep on her way to 15 points in that one but came up short in the 73-48 second round loss to Union University making 9 points plus pairs of rebounds, assists and steals.