LOS ANGELES — This one was a no-brainer.
Makenzie Brandon (Seattle, WA) was named the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's Female Student-Athlete of the Week on Tuesday, after scoring a career high 36 points in the Occidental College women's basketball team's 73-67 comeback win over Whittier College on Jan. 14. Brandon scored an unbelievable 27 points in the second half alone to help the Tigers erase a six-point halftime deficit. She may have had more, but the 79 percent free throw shooter had an uncharacteristic night from the line, shooting just 10 for 19.
Brandon, who led the first place Tigers (12-2, 4-0 SCIAC) to a 3-0 week and improved her league-best scoring average to 19.3 points per game, wins the award for the third time this season and the fourth time in her career.
Second half clutch performances have become synonymous with Brandon and the Tigers. So far this season, the 5-foot-10 junior forward has had 15 or more in the second halves of four comeback victories.
Earlier in the week, Brandon scored 15 points to help Oxy wipe away a double digit lead late in the second half despite sitting out most of the game in foul trouble. In a 56-30 rout of Pomona-Pitzer on Jan. 12, the kinesiology major scored 12 points in 14 minutes.
Brandon scored 25 of her 28 points in the second half in a 64-54 win over Hiram College on Dec. 30, then hit a buzzer beat to edge Monmouth (Ill.) 67-66 on New Year's Eve.
"Being acknowledged by the league for the third time this season demonstrates Mak's continued effort and sustained excellence this season," Occidental coach Heidi VanDerveer said. "She's kept working and she continues to reap the rewards of consistently being a great player and teammate."
"It's always nice to get awards and to get recognized for something that you love to do," Brandon said. "But I think it's this stretch of three tough games coming up that's going to be more of a test of our ability and where our team stands more so than any wards we've won this far."
Oxy begins maybe its most difficult three-game stretch of the season starting this Thursday at SCIAC tournament finalist Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Then on Jan. 21 the Tigers face the most athletic team in the conference in Cal Lutheran and finish off the tough span against Redlands, 2010-11 SCIAC second-place finisher.
SCIAC sports information directors nominate and vote on the SCIAC student-athlete of the week awards announced every Tuesday.