March Madness begins with Leger-Walker on song

March 1

Having been named to the 2023 All-Pac 12 team by both the Pac-12 coaches and the League’s media earlier in the week Charlisse-Leger Walker scored 23 points to ensure Washington State University made a winning start at the Pac 12 Tournament.

WSU beat Cal Berkeley 61-49 and will now match up against second seeds Utah. Leger-Walker’s 16th point in the game carried her past 1,400 career points – becoming the fifth Kiwi after Stella Beck (1,439), Megan Compain (1,497), Akiene-Tera Reed (1,624) and Erin Rooney (1,647) to have reached 1,400 points in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

In other Pac 12 news Charlotte Whittaker and Colorado, seeded #3, will play the winner of the Oregon State and Southern California first round tie.

Emme Shearer scored 9 points as Portland University Pilots rounded out the regular season with a 61-49 win at BYU. The win was the 15th West Coast Conference victory of the season for Portland – a programme record.

As second seeds at the conference tournament Portland will enjoy a bye straight to the semi-finals.

McKenna Dale scored 4 points and claimed 6 rebounds as Virginia’s season came to an end. The Cavaliers were beaten 68-57 by Wake Forest in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Dale played in all 30 games as Virginia finished with a 15-15 record.

Sam Mennenga was once again the leading scorer for Davidson College (7-9) as they fell 75-70 to George Washington. Mennenga finished with 23 points (7/11FG, 6/6FT) to go with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Mennenga now in striking distance of a 500-points season – currently with 460 points to his name.  

In NCAA Division II action Eckerd College are through to the semi-finals of the Sunshine State Conference tournament after dismantling Embry-Riddle 74-51. Hannah Wentworth was a major contributor with 17 points making 5 from 10 threes.

In case you missed the news from earlier in the week:

Wofford College Terriers (10-4) claimed a first ever Southern Conference regular season title with an 82-76 victory over Mercer. Helen Matthews put together an all-action display with 16 points (3/6 3PG), 9 rebounds and a career high 4 blocks in the win.

It’s not just the first title for the Terriers but the first by any women’s team sport at Wofford.

Ben Gold scored 4 points on 2 from 2 shooting as Marquette University Blue Demons pulled away for a 72-56 victory at Butler University. The win clinched Marquette’s first ever outright Big East Conference regular season title.

Given Marquette were picked ninth in the preseason poll it’s a remarkable result for the Blue Demons. Only in his freshman season Gold, a 2022 Tall Black, has been a contributor off the bench in every game. 

In NAIA Division 1 play Nico Hill and Missouri Baptist University clinched back to back American Mid-West Conference titles with a 12-4 record (16-12 overall).

The Taranaki native played all 28 games for the Spartans averaging 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Corey Le’aupepe and Menlo College failed to reach the Golden State Conference play-offs after finishing with a 7-11 record. However the former St Pat’s and Wellington forward had the satisfaction of bringing up 1,000 career points and Menlo in the final month of his collegiate career. He is only the 10th player in the programme’s history to reach the notable milestone.

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