Stan Okoye had one of the most impressive weeks of his Collegiate career after two 30 points performances gave VMI important victories in the final games of the Big South Conference (North) division. The Senior had 32 points and 11 rebounds in VMI’s 83-66 win over Liberty on Tuesday night, then followed that up with an even more impressive 34 points and 16 rebounds including a career high seven three-pointers in his last game on his home court, defeating Longwood 94-80 on Saturday night. In a game that was really never in doubt, VMI took their largest lead of the game at 66-45 when Okoye knocked down a 3-pointer with 17:58 left in the game. This was Okoye’s 49th career 20th point game, and he has now scored 30 or more points six times this season. His 21-point average leads the Big South and ranks 10th in Division I. His nine rebounds per game also top the league. Okoye must now prepare for next week’s Big South tournament in a bid to advance into the NCAA tournament. Okoye named Big South Player of the Year
Another athlete who had an impressive outing on Senior day, was 6’7 forward Jamal Olasewere, Olasewere finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds, fueling a second half comeback for LIU in the 96-90 win over Quinnipiac on Saturday. Down by 9 points going into the half, Olasewere hit a three from the top of the arc to cut the deficit to one point with 17:17 left in the game. LIU proceeded to take the lead and did not look back after that. Throughout the game, Olasewere was a handful for the Quinnipiac defense his strength and impressive footwork was earning him easy buckets down low, and when pushed out of the key, he was able to use his perimeter skills to get himself to the rim. The win earned LIU home-court advantage going into the NEC tournament as the third seed where they will have a repeat match-up against Quinnipiac on Wednesday night. Olasewere who is in his senior year is averaging 19.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1,2 assists per game.
Trevor Mbakwe was playing like a man possessed in his best performance of the week as Minnesota faced off against no.1 ranked Indiana on Tuesday night. The 6’8 Senior Forward could not be contained as he put up a gallant effort with 21 points and 12 rebounds going up against one of the top players in the country in Cody Zeller. Mbakwe had set the tone early, finishing off with authority at the rim, and when he was left open, he was able to knock down jumpers from outside the key. On defense, an emphatic block sent Cody Zeller sprawling on the floor sending the whole arena in a frenzy, and he was also cleaning up on the glass. Mbakwe scored 12 points in the first 12 minutes before getting into foul trouble which limited his playing time, despite this, Minnesota still managed to keep up with Indiana who were led by Victor Oladipo. Maverick Ahanmisi, a guard with Nigerian heritage came off the bench to knock down a couple of three-pointers to keep Minnesota in the game, making it three Nigerians to get on the scoring list on the night. When Mbakwe came back on the floor, he did not let up, showing passion, energy and guile as Minnesota took the lead in the 2nd half and kept Indiana at bay converting down the stretch. The game finish 77-73 in favour of Minnesota, and they must now continue in this form as they look to lock up a top seed in the NCAA tournament.
With one more year of Collegiate basketball still to play at Stanford, Chiney Ogwumike has already cemented her place as one of the greatest ever Stanford athletes of all time. This week was no exception as the 6’3 forward who has already broken all types of records put up spectacular displays worthy of player of the year recognition. In two games played within a three day span, Chiney had 24 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Washington on Thursday night, then followed it up with 28 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Washington State on Saturday night thus claiming a share of the Pac-12 title for the 13th straight season for the Stanford Women’s program. Ogwumike, who broke Stanford’s single season rebound record (Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 376 in 2009-10) with 381, has been one of the best players in the nation this season, her 22.7 points per game is 3rd best in the nation, and her 12.7 boards per game ranks fifth in the nation, she is also the only player in the nation to rank in the top 5 in scoring , rebounding, field-goal percentage, and double-doubles this season. As Stanford prepare to go into Championship action, look for Chiney to spearhead the Stanford team on their road to success.
Coming of the bench for Virginia Tech, Uju Ugoka put up her fourth double double of the season when she registered 21 points and 12 rebounds in the 71-52 win over Wake Forest on Sunday night. the 6’1 Junior out of Lagos, was very impressive throughout as Virginia won their first game at home since December. FSU had taken a 13-9 lead early in the first half, however, Tech replied with a 14-0 run in which Ugoka contributed six points to dictate the game from there on. Ugoka is averaging an impressive 12.6 points and 8.7 rebounds in 15 games played this season.
Despite a monster 18 points, 18 rebounds and 5 steals by 6’2 forward Sarah Imovbioh, it was not enough as Virginia fell in overtime 68-73 to Wake Forest on Monday night. In a game that went back and forth throughout, Virginia had three chances to seal the game in regulation with the score tied at 60 apiece, but where unable to convert, forcing the game into overtime. In overtime, Virginia had taken a 65-64 lead with 3:01 left, and looked to push on for the lead, but a couple of key turnovers turned the momentum back in the favor of Wake Forest who converted on back to back baskets and later held on for the win. Imovbioh is currently averaging 8.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Other Key Performers
- 6’4 Freshman combo guard Rasheed Sulaimon scored a career-high 27 points, leading Duke to a 89-68 win against Boston College last Sunday night.
- Nigerian Junior International and University of California shooting guard Afure Jemerigbe claimed a share of the Pac-12 Conference regular season title for the first time in school history with a 78-50 win over Washington on Saturday afternoon.
- Nigerian International Sarah Ogoke was awarded 1st Team All Conference, Newcomer of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year for SPSU in mid-week. She followed it up by delivering 27 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals as she carried SPSU to the semi finals of the Conference Championships. On Friday nigh, she continued where she left off as her 13 points, seven boards, five assists, three steals and a game-best three blocked shots has now taken SPSU to the finals
Video - Jamal Olasewere Vs Quinnipiac