College basketball: Brea Edwards leads women's players of the week
Every week, NCAA.com's Starting Five will bring you a look at some of the top women's basketball players in the country. Here are this week's standout competitors:
Brea Edwards, Middle Tennessee, Sr., Guard
One of the most prolific shooters in college basketball, Brea Edwards filled the stat sheet last week, averaging 23.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest as Middle Tennessee defeated both Marshall and Western Kentucky (WKU). In a 65-54 win over Marshall on Jan. 28, Edwards led the way with 17 points on 3-for-5 shooting from three-point range. She added a game-high seven rebounds. The senior then led the charge against rival WKU, scoring 29 points and recording a season-high 12 boards for her fourth double-double of the season to end the Lady Toppers’ 14-game win streak as the Blue Raiders prevailed 83-75 on Jan. 30. Edwards entered the week ranked among the Top 25 nationally in four categories. She improved upon those totals after two more outstanding shooting performances. The sharpshooting guard went 5-for-6 beyond the arc and 7-for-10 overall against WKU. She was also 10-for-12 from the free-throw line, including going 6-for-6 in the final 39 seconds to help seal the win. She closed out the week ranked sixth in the NCAA for three-point field goals per game (3.25), and eighth nationally for three-point field goal percentage (45.1) and three-point field goals made (65). Edwards has hit at least one three-pointer in 34 straight games dating to last season. Next up for Middle Tennessee is a road game at Florida Atlantic on Feb. 4.
Channon Fluker, CSUN, Fr., Center
CSUN freshman Channon Fluker had a pair of impressive performances for the Matadors last week in victories against UC Irvine (83-64) and Cal State Fullerton (79-52). Fluker averaged 27.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game while shooting 71.4 percent from the field as CSUN extended its winning streak to a season-high three games. On Jan. 28 against UC Irvine, Fluker finished with a career-high 33 points to go with 13 rebounds and three blocks. She went 15-of-22 from the field to set a new career high in field goals and the performance was her third-straight double-double. Two days later, Fluker pounded Cal State Fullerton for 21 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots. She finished 10-of-13 from the field in that game and shot a blistering 71.4 percent (25-of-35) from the field in the two victories. For the season, Fluker is averaging 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds in 18 games and six starts. In seven Big West Conference games, she is averaging 17.0 points and 10.7 rebounds while shooting 55.8 percent from the field. Fluker and the Matadors return to action on Feb. 4 at Long Beach State.
Jayln Johnson, McNeese State, Sr., Guard
McNeese State senior point guard Jayln Johnson almost single handedly led the Cowgirls to wins over Southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans last week. In the two games she averaged 30.5 points, 9.5 assists and 41.5 minutes while shooting 39.5 percent from the field including 44.4 percent from three-point range. She also ended the week shooting 86.4 percent from the free throw line, making 19 of 22 from the charity stripe. Johnson scored 30-plus points in each game including a season-high 31 in a 96-70 win over Southeaster Louisiana on Jan. 27. The 31 points is the second most points scored in the Southland Conference this season. She also tied her season-high with 12 assists against the Lions while picking up her second double-double of the season. Johnson came back three days later to lead McNeese with 30 points in a 77-74 overtime win over New Orleans. She ended the game with a career-high nine field goals made including a career high seven three-pointers. Her free throws at the end of the game sealed the victory for the Cowgirls. McNeese State will next travel to Nicholls State on Feb. 6.
Lili Thompson, Stanford, Jr., Guard
Stanford junior Lili Thompson had a hot hand over the week, averaging 28.5 points on 63 percent shooting, while also hitting 71 percent from long range in leading the Cardinal to wins over No. 25 Washington (69-53) and Washington State (69-52). Thompson scored 17 of her 27 in the first quarter to hold off the Huskies on Friday night. She made six of her seven shots in the period, was a perfect 5-of-5 from deep and single-handedly outscored Washington in the period. Thompson also tied a career-high with seven rebounds in the win. She followed up with a career-high 30 points in the win over Washington State. Thompson had 24 points in the second half on 9-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-5 from behind the three-point line against the Cougars. With Washington State only down three points with 3:48 left in the game, Thompson netted nine of the team’s final 11 points, all on three pointers, to put the game away. Stanford will play at California on Feb. 5
Aerial Powers, Michigan State, Jr., Forward
Michigan State improved to 16-4 overall and 7-2 in Big Ten Conference play as Aerial Powers led the Spartans to victories over Purdue (68-56) and Wisconsin (77-54). Powers averaged 27.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game in the two victories. The junior scored a game-leading 25 points on 62.5 percent (10-16) shooting from the field with three steals in the win against the Boilermakers. At Wisconsin, she led all players with a season-high 30 points, while pulling down nine rebounds and recording three steals. She scored 21 points in the first half alone to give Michigan State the lead. Powers currently ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring at 19.7 points per game while pulling down 8.7 rebounds per game, which is fifth. Powers and the Spartans will next host Michigan on Feb. 3