Clark named Sun Belt Tournament MOP after record-breaking performance
Lanning earns first All-Sun Belt Tournament Team honorMarch 10, 2010 · Athletic Communications
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Middle Tennessee senior All-American forward and Sun Belt Player of the Year Alysha Clark was tabbed the Sun Belt Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after leading the Blue Raiders to their sixth league championship Tuesday in Hot Springs, Ark. Clark was named the event's top player following a vote of media present at the tournament with teammate Anne Marie Lanning also earning All-Sun Belt Tournament Team accolades.
The Mt. Juliet, Tenn., native established seven individual tournament records and tied two others on her way to collecting the award for the second-straight season. Most notably, she set the single-game and single-tournament scoring marks with 48 and 132 points, respectively.
Clark began the week with a record-breaking 40 points in the quarterfinal round 106-66 win over North Texas. After UALR's Chastity Reed topped her with 41 in the Trojans' semifinal victory against New Orleans, Clark responded with 44 points as the Blue Raiders advanced with a 76-63 triumph over Western Kentucky.
Tuesday's championship game featured a battle between the top-two scorers in the conference, and it was Clark who came out on top, netting 48 points, while Reed was held to just 14.
Clark continued to add to her single-game tournament marks by tying previous standards for free throws made (16) and attempted (18) against UALR, both of which she had set a year ago against South Alabama. Former Middle Tennessee standout Amber Holt also shares the free throw attempts record, which she had posted against UALR in 2008.
Clark and Reed also tied for the most field goals made in a game with 16, a new record. Clark made 16 in all three of the Blue Raiders' contests, while Reed matched the mark in the semifinals.
Clark recorded five single-tournament standards, including the 132 points covering the three wins. The three-game total is the most by any NCAA Division I player this season and helped solidify her as the current leading scorer in the country with 28.7 ppg.
Her 132 points rank as the top league tournament performance in NCAA women's basketball history by any player in any conference, surpassing the 128 netted in three games turned in by Maine's Cindy Blodgett in the 1997 America East Championships.
Clark also became the Sun Belt Tournament single-event record holder for field goals made (48), free throws made (35) and attempted (42) and rebounds (43).
Lanning, although not breaking any tournament marks, played consistently throughout the three-game stretch and finished second on the team with 36 points. Eight of her 10 field goals were from behind the 3-point arc in addition to an 8-of-8 effort from the foul line. She led the Blue Raiders with 17 assists and hauled in eight rebounds in playing 119 total minutes, one shy of Clark's team-leading total.
Middle Tennessee set three team tournament records, including a pair of single-game standards. The Blue Raiders tallied 61 points during the second 20 minutes in their 106-66 quarterfinal victory against North Texas to set the mark for most points in a half.
The other single-game team tournament record established was 36 3-point field goal attempts, also coming in the win over the Mean Green.
Middle Tennessee set a single-tournament mark for most 3-point field goal attempts, firing 75 in the three game swing.
The Blue Raiders, who entered the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll for the first time this season at No. 25 this week, own a 25-5 record after clinching the Sun Belt's automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Middle Tennessee will learn of its fate during the Selection Show at 6 p.m. Monday, live on ESPN.
Most Outstanding Player:
Alysha Clark, Middle Tennessee
All-Time Blue Raider All-Sun Belt Tournament Team Selections:
Jamie Thomatis, 2002
Patrice Holmes, 2003*
Tia Stovall, 2003
Patrice Holmes, 2004*
Krystle Horton, 2004
Tia Stovall, 2004
Patrice Holmes, 2005*
Tia Stovall, 2005
Chrissy Givens, 2005
Chrissy Givens, 2006*
Tia Stovall, 2006
Chrissy Givens, 2007*
Krystle Horton, 2007
Amber Holt, 2007
Amber Holt, 2008
Alysha Clark, 2009*
Brandi Brown, 2009
Chelsia Lymon, 2009
Alysha Clark, 2010*
Anne Marie Lanning, 2010
* - Most Outstanding Player
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