Around the Big East WBB: It’s Aneesah’s World 

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Is it too early to give DePaul forward Aneesah Morrow the Big East Freshman of the Year? How about Big East Player of the Year? Because she is the real deal. 

Morrow came in unranked as a three-star prospect, according to ESPN Hoopgurlz, but has resembled a five-star prospect with the way she’s been playing as of late. Since the start of the new year, the forward has torn up league competition, averaging 24.8 points, 13.7 boards, 2.4 steals and 1.9 blocks. This type of production rivals any player in the country, and she’s just a freshman. ESPN finally gave Morrow the recognition she deserved, ranking her as the best freshman in the country so far this season.  

Best stat lines from this week:  

1. Aneesah Morrow DePaul @ Butler 103-69 W 33 P, 15 R, 5 S, 4 B, 15-20 shooting
Aneesah Morrow DePaul @ Xavier 94-74 W 32 P, 15 R, 2 S, 1 B, 13-18 shooting
Aneesah Morrow DePaul vs. UConn 78-80 L 30 P, 14 R, 3 S, 2 A, 13-18 shooting 

If I could give Morrow the top three slots, I would, but then this article would be just about DePaul and not about the Big East. Since I can’t, I’ll have her stat lines in a three-way tie. In the first victory over a Butler squad that has lost its last five games, Morrow asserted her dominance on both ends of the floor, setting a career high in points and eclipsing 30 points for just the second time this season. She added five steals, four blocks and 15 rebounds, demonstrating her defensive abilities, too. 

Against Xavier, which has also lost its past five games, Morrow put up a nearly identical stat line, recording 32 points and 15 boards in the 20-point win. Finally, against UConn, Morrow had her way against the Huskies’ experienced frontcourt, despite being out for a chunk of the third quarter after falling awkwardly. She scored 30 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and swiped the ball away three times, in Blue Demons’ losing effort.  

2. Maddy Siegrist Villanova vs Creighton 74-64 W 31 P, 12 R, 4 A 8-15 shooting 

Despite missing a few games this season to injury, Villanova forward Maddy Siegrist has not missed a beat when she’s been on the floor. In her latest showing in the Wildcats’ upset of Creighton, Siegrist notched 31 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. The junior completely took over down the stretch, scoring Villanova’s final nine points, including six free throws and a three-pointer. When she’s played this season, Siegrist has been electric, scoring 24.2 points, grabbing 9.8 rebounds and dishing 2.2 assists. If the Wildcats want to build on their 8-1 record in the past nine games, Siegrist will need to remain the focal point of the offense.  

3. Lauren Park-Lane Seton Hall @ St. John’s 84-79 W 31 P, 3 R, 8 A, 10-20 shooting 

In a season where Seton Hall has barely treaded water in the Big East, currently standing at 3-6 in conference, Lauren Park-Lane delivered a massive performance, notching 31 points while also getting her teammates involved with eight dimes. The undersized guard scored seven of the team’s final nine points, hitting key free throws to ice the game. The elite performance put the Pirates in seventh place in the conference, just 2.5 games out of a first-round bye.  

WOW. Olivia Nelson-Ododa UConn @ St. John’s 75-57 W 3 P, 18 R, 10 A, 2 B 

On Sunday against St.John’s, UConn forward Olivia-Nelson Ododa put together a non-scoring double-double, a rare feat at this point in basketball. Nelson-Ododa racked up 18 rebounds and 10 assists to help the Huskies to victory over the Red Storm. It certainly wasn’t her best game of the season scoring-wise, but it makes you look at the stat-sheet and say, “Wow!” 

1. UConn 80 @ DePaul 78 

In this marquee, although last minute matchup, UConn took on DePaul in Chicago. The game lived up to all the hype, coming down to the wire. The Huskies started the game on a roll, leading 20-11 after a quarter, with Nika Muhl scoring seven Husky points. DePaul caught fire in the second period, hitting shot after shot to go on a 16-2 run — fueled by two Darionne Rogers threes within 30seconds of each other — to go into the half up 40-31. The Huskies started to pull closer in the third quarter, but didn’t take the lead until freshman Azzi Fudd nailed a three to tie and then a mid-range jumper. This turned things into a back-and-forth affair with several lead changes down the stretch. A bad foul gave Aneesah Morrow (who had been on fire the entire game) two free throws, both of which she drained to tie the game. The eight seconds DePaul left for Caroline Ducharme proved to be too many though, as she drove in the lane and scored her 18th and 19th points to win the game with 1.6 seconds left. 

2. Providence 66 @ Georgetown 58 F/OT 

This overtime contest started out all Providence, as the Friars took command early. A 9-3 Providence run helped them take a 18-13 lead into the first intermission, largely thanks to Alyssa Geary’s nine early points. The second quarter didn’t see much scoring from either side, with the teams combining for just 21 points to give the Friars a 30-22 advantage at the half. Georgetown struggled to chip into the lead considerably in the third initially, but ultimately were able to cut it to four thanks to a late 5-0 run. With just over seven minutes left, the Hoyas cut their deficit to just one with a Kaylin West jumper, and took their first lead of the contest just a moment later when Kelsey Ransom drained another. The teams went back and forth down the wire, with Kylee Sheppard hitting two free throws to extend the lead to three with 19 seconds left. Just 16 ticks later, West hit a game-tying three with just three seconds left to send the game to overtime. In overtime, things started out neck and neck until Providence’s Sheppard hit a jumper, Georgetown’s West charged into the defender, and the Friars won the free throw game the rest of the way to collect the victory.  

3. Seton Hall 84 vs St. John’s 79 

In the third-best game of the week, it was the Lauren Park-Lane and former Husky Andra Espinoza-Hunter show for the Pirates. This pair got the game started, scoring Seton Hall’s first two buckets. After this, Red Storm guard Unique Drake took control, nailing 12 points on the quarter, including the Johnnies’ last eight to take a 21-9 first quarter lead. Park-Lane and Espinoza-Hunter then took control in the second, combining for 26 of the Hall’s 28 second quarter points to go into the half down 39-37. The third quarter saw a well-rounded effort from both sides, as Mya Bembry and Mya Jackson combined for five Seton Hall assists to take a three-point lead.  A close fourth quarter saw St. John’s take a two-point advantage on a Rayven Peeples jumper, but Bembry answered with a score of her own to even things up. The Red Storm took a three-point lead on a mid-range shot, but Park-Lane once again tied things up with a deep triple. From there, five consecutive free throws gave the Pirates the victory at home. 

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