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Allen's Career-High, Heroics Earn Senior Weekly Honor
Hawai‘i senior Noah Allen (Pacific Grove, Calif./UCLA) earned Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honors on the strength of a career-high 25 points in a dramatic overtime victory over preseason conference favorite Long Beach State.
A 6-7 guard/forward, Allen hit a driving layup at the buzzer to tie the score and force overtime, as the Rainbow Warriors eventually won a wild 114-107 affair over the 49ers.
After LBSU went up 93-91 with 3.1 seconds to go, UH needed to go the length of the court and did. Allen received a pass near midcourt and raced to the rim to get the shot off just in time.
Allen’s 25 points came on 10-of-16 shooting, a welcome sight for the UCLA transfer who had missed 18 straight shots coming into the game. He ended the slump on his first shot, converting a three-point play with 13:39 in the first half.
But he did the most damage when it counted the most, scoring 20 points during the second half and overtime, and playing a critical role in UH erasing a 13-point second half deficit. He shot 8-of-11 from the floor after the break.
Allen, who also contributed four rebounds, three assists and a steal, helped UH make history as the 114 points scored represented the most ever for the program in a conference game, spanning more than 37 years in the Big West and WAC.
Others nominated: Tre’ Coggins (Cal State Fullerton); Kendall Smith (CSUN); Brynton Lemar (UC Davis); Luke Nelson (UC Irvine); Secean Johnson (UC Riverside); Clifton Powell (UC Santa Barbara)
Porter Nabs Honor With Clutch Play
UC Santa Barbara sophomore Sarah Porter (San Diego, Calif./Horizon Christian Academy) turned in career-highs in four offensive categories to claim Big West Women’s Basketball Player of the Week accolades following a big win in conference play.
The 5-10 guard poured in a career-best 22 points to help the Gauchos outlast UC Riverside in a 58-54 win. She also posted career-highs in steals (4), three-pointers (4) and free throws made (6).
Porter made her largest impact down the stretch. Her three-pointer with 4:16 to go in the fourth quarter put the Gauchos on top, 51-49, a lead they would not relinquish.
Porter scored nine of UCSB’s 12 points in the final quarter, including a clutch 6-of-6 performance at the charity stripe that helped hold off the Highlanders. She sank a pair of free throws with both 17 seconds and nine seconds remaining to keep the Gauchos in front.
She added three rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot in 26 minutes of play.
Others nominated: Hannah Gilbert (Cal Poly); Iman Lathan (Cal State Fullerton); Raven Benton (Long Beach State); Pele Gianotti (UC Davis); Andee Ritter (UC Irvine); Rejane Verin (UC Riverside); Lahni Salanoa (Hawai‘i)
Smith Helps CSUN to 2-0 Big West Start
Junior Kendall Smith (Antioch, Calif./UNLV) provided all-around production to help CSUN to its first 2-0 conference start in three seasons, earning him Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week accolades.
A 6-3 guard, Smith averaged 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists as the Matadors downed UC Riverside (82-76) and Cal State Fullerton (70-65) to extend their winning streak to three straight games.
Smith finished with 21 points – his third 20-point game of the year – along with a career-high nine assists, four rebounds and a steal in the win over the Highlanders. He did not commit a turnover while playing the full 40 minutes. Smith helped the Matadors erase a 13-point second half deficit as he shot 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
Smith is the second player this season to make at least 10 free throws without a miss – Kyle Allman of Cal State Fullerton versus Portland State was the other.
He helped wipe out another deficit in the triumph over the Titans. Trailing by seven at halftime, the Matadors shot 50.0 percent in the second half with Smith at the controls. He finished the game with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and chipped in four rebounds, four assists, and a key blocked shot in the final 30 seconds that preserved a four-point lead.
For the week, Smith shot 50 percent (11-for-22) from the field and 78.6 percent (11-for-14) at the foul line.
Others nominated: Lionheart Leslie (Cal State Fullerton); Roschon Prince (Long Beach State); Brynton Lemar (UC Davis); Ioannis Dimakopoulos (UC Irvine); Malik Thames (UC Riverside)
Leaupepe Excels In Leading Cal Poly To 2-0 Start
Cal Poly junior Dynn Leaupepe (Camarillo, Calif./Camarillo HS) posted back-to-back 20-point performances that led to her first career Big West Women’s Basketball Player of the Week selection.
The 5-9 guard averaged 24.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals to spearhead Mustang double-digit home victories against UC Santa Barbara (78-67) and CSUN (79-68).
Leaupepe also shot 51.5 percent (17-for-33) from the floor and was a phenomenal 15-for-15 from the free throw line.
She scored a season-high 29 points against the Gauchos on 9-of-17 shooting. Leaupepe made all 11 of her free throw attempts. She also contributed eight rebounds, five assists and a pair of blocked shots. Her offensive outburst ended up being just two points off her career high.
Leaupepe has converted 55 of her 60 free throws this season, 91.7%, which ranks No. 13 nationally.
Against the Matadors, Leaupepe produced a team-high 20 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals in another strong all-around effort. She tallied her fourth 20-point game of the year.
Others nominated: Hayley Tanabe (CSUN); Madison Montgomery (Long Beach State); Morgan Bertsch (UC Davis); Andee Ritter (UC Irvine); Rejane Verin (UC Riverside); Onome Jemerigbe (UC Santa Barbara); Sarah Toeaina (Hawai‘i)
Fluker Earns Second Player of the Week Honor
CSUN sophomore Channon Fluker (Pasadena, Calif./Maranatha HS) captured her second Big West Women's Basketball Player of the Week honor after averaging 17.0 points and 14.0 rebounds in two contests.
The 6-4 center notched her conference-leading eighth double-double of the season with 20 points and 19 rebounds in a 68-64 win at Seattle. She made 7-of-15 floor shots and 6-of-10 from the free throw line. Fluker tied her career high for rebounds in a game, and it marked the third time this season she amassed 19 boards.
In a low-scoring 47-36 loss to Penn, Fluker contributed 14 points, nine rebounds, a steal and two blocked shots.
Fluker also had four blocks against Seattle, helping give her a Big West-leading 30 for the season. She ranks among the national leaders in rebounds per game at 11.3.
Others nominated: Hannah Gilbert (Cal Poly); Daeja Smith (Cal State Fullerton); Jewelyn Sawyer (Long Beach State); Morgan Bertsch (UC Davis); Andee Ritter (UC Irvine); Lahni Salanoa (Hawai‘i)