Sutherland's Consistent Play Garners MVP Honors
Nov. 29, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Nearly 50-Division I Women’s basketball players walked onto the storied Allen Fieldhouse floor over the weekend, but just one walked off with BTI Tip-Off Classic MVP honors.
Kansas junior Aishah Sutherland finished the three-game round robin tournament with two double-doubles, an average of 13.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game and just missed her third double-double of the tournament by scoring eight points in Sunday’s win over Fordham.
“I’m honored and excited,” said Sutherland, who took home All-Tournament Team honors for the first time in her KU career. “I worked hard and tried to stay consistent throughout this whole tournament and I was rewarded for it.”
Sutherland started her MVP weekend with a 17-point, 11-rebound performance in 30-minutes of play against North Dakota State in KU’s 61-53 victory Friday night. The Perris, Calif., native also tallied two steals, a block and shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the host Jayhawks’ opening game.
“Rebounding is the key,” said the 6-foot-2 Sutherland. “After getting the rebounds you get a second chance which is an extra possession and that is very important.”
Sutherland’s dominance under the boards and from the field continued into Saturday where she grabbed another 11 rebounds and netted 14 points to go along with two blocks and two steals against Memphis. Her double-double in the 90-58 victory marked the fourth straight game she reached that benchmark.
“It’s all about staying consistent,” said Sutherland. “If I can regularly get double-doubles then I’m helping us win.”
And win the Jayhawks did, taking victories in all three games of the Tip-Off Classic, the last in overtime.
Sutherland played a pivotal role in that final game, grabbing eight of her final 10 rebounds in the first half. The junior finished regulation with just two points, but scored the first four points of overtime to put her team up 63-59 with 4:30 to go. By the time the extra session was done, Sutherland ended up with eight points to go along with her 10 boards, one block and one assist.
“Overtime was exciting because I looked at it as a whole new game,” said Sutherland, whose 10th rebound off a missed Fordham free throw sent the game into overtime. “I didn’t score much and wasn’t as consistent at the beginning of the game, so it was a chance to prove myself and show what I can do.”
If Sutherland’s weekend performance is any indication of what she can do, future opponents should take notice. The forward’s season resume is already an impressive one, with four double-doubles in six games, BTI Tip-Off Classic MVP honors and a Big 12 leading 11.0 rebounds per game, it’s evident why staying consistent for Sutherland is key.
Sutherland will look to build upon the consistency which won her All-Tournament Team and MVP honors when she and her Jayhawk teammates take on Maine Wednesday, Dec. 1 in Allen Fieldhouse. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.