Aussie Women take winning form into March Madness

Aussie Women take winning form into March Madness

The Australians will have to do it the hard way if they are to advance, following the draw for the 2014 NCAA Women’s Tournament on Tuesday.

Coming off a win in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, Alex Sheedy, Bree Farley and Jacinta Vandenberg will lead the 13-seed Fresno State Bulldogs into a first round class against the number 4 seed Nebraska on Sunday.

The Australian trio helped the Bulldogs finish second in the MWC regular season standings, before taking all before them in the conference tournament, defeating Colorado State to claim title and secure a berth in the big dance.

It was a fairy tale ride to the NCAA Women’s Tournament for South Dakota’s Australian pair of Nicole Seekamp and Madeleine White, saving their best for the Summit League Conference Tournament.

Finishing the regular season at 7-7, South Dakota weren’t expected to figure in tournament calculations, but produced one of the great runs to win their way through to the Summit League final.

Facing Denver in the final, the team needed to win to book their place as part of March Madness and they did exactly that, claiming an 82-71 to claim their first Summit League tournament crown.

Seekamp, the Coyotes leading scorer (15.3ppg) this season, stuffed the stat sheet, with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals – enough to earn a spot in the Summit League All-Tournament Team.

They now advance to face one of the NCAA Women’s Tournament favourites in 2-seed Stanford – a two-time NCAA Champion and currently on their 28th consecutive big dance appearance.

Elsewhere Australian Kate Oliver has helped the USC Trojans advance to the NCAA Women’s Tournament on the back of claiming their first PAC-12 Conference Tournament title.

The fifth-seeded Trojans upset Oregon State in the final 71-62 to book their spot in March Madness, earning a 9-seed to set up a first round clash with Saint John’s of New York.

Rounding out the Australian involvement in the NCAA Women’s Tournament is Stacey Barr of Idaho, who was the hero as the Vandals claimed the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship, defeating Seattle 75-67.

Barr was instrumental in ensuring Idaho would return to the big dance, dropping a game-high 28 points in the final on her way to WAC Tournament MVP.

The 25-8 Vandals face a tough task to advance at the NCAA Women’s Tournament, taking on #3 Louisville Cardinals in their first round match-up.