Women's basketball: Notre Dame's Ogunbowale headlines 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:
Tashia Brown, Western Kentucky Junior Forward
The leading scorer on the most explosive offense in Conference USA, Tashia Brown keyed Western Kentucky’s (WKU) upset victory over No. 23 Indiana on Nov. 19 with a game-high 28 points, 15 of which came in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Toppers pull away for the decisive win.
Brown’s 15 fourth-quarter points were the most in a single quarter by an individual WKU player since the game went to four periods last season, and her eight points from the charity stripe matched a career best. Brown’s 28 points are the second-most in a single game against a Division I opponent among C-USA players this season and marked her sixth career game with 25+ points.
The preseason All-C-USA pick pushed the Lady Toppers to a top-25 upset for the second straight season, the first time that the program has achieved that feat since 1996-97 and 1997-98. Last season, the Lady Toppers defeated then-No. 16 Louisville. Brown ranks fourth among all C-USA players with 18.7 points per game. Brown and the Lady Toppers will return to action against DePaul on Friday afternoon in their first matchup of the 2016 Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla.
Fans' Choice: Emily Clemens, Western Illinois Junior Guard
Western Illinois is off to a 3-1 start behind the play of point guard Emily Clemens, who over two games last week against Southeast Missouri and Northern Illinois, averaged 27 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, shooting 60.7 percent (17-of-28) and 94.4 percent (17-of-18) from the free throw line.
The Summit League Co-Player of the Week, Clemens recorded a double-double on Nov. 16 with 20 points and 12 assists in Western's 100-87 win at Southeast Missouri. The 12 assists tied her career-high for the third time — also the second time this season. Just three days later, her career-high 34 points to go along with five assists and six rebounds helped propel the Leathernecks over Northern Illinois at home for a late 83-79 win.
The junior also has 31 total assists this season, which ranks second nationally. Western Illinois next hits the road for an away game at Kansas City on Nov. 22, followed by a Nov. 27 game at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame Sophomore Guard
Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale scored in double figures in each game of the Preseason WNIT, earning the tournament's MVP award. The ACC Player of Week averaged 19.5 points per game for the four Preseason WNIT contests and stands fourth in the ACC in scoring. Her contributions to Notre Dame's championship game victory over No. 17 Washington on Nov. 20, included a team-high 17 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. She was also an instrumental piece of a defensive effort that held Washington to just 60 points (the Huskies entered the game fifth nationally at 93.3 points per game).
Ogunbowale's season thus far has included a record-setting performance in the Preseason WNIT opening round win over Central Michigan, when she scored a career-high 30 points in the victory, connecting on 12-of-13 from the field and all five of her 3-point attempts. Hitting all five 3-pointers marked a feat that had not been seen for the Irish in 26 years Her 12-of-13 from the floor against the Chippewas narrowly missed becoming a school record for field goal percentage.
Karen Robinson set that mark by going 12-for-12 at St. Louis on Jan. 14, 1989. It also marked the first time a Notre Dame player had hit the 30-point mark in a game since Jewell Loyd tallied 31 at Georgia Tech on Feb. 19, 2015. After playing Louisiana-Lafayette in Houston on Nov. 22, the Fighting Irish will return home to host TCU on Nov. 26.
Teniya Page, Penn State Sophomore Guard
Penn State has jumped out to a 3-1 start behind the strong play of sophomore guard Teniya Page, who averaged 26.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in Lady Lions wins over Akron and 13th-ranked Tennessee last week. She scored 29 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, to highlight the victory over nationally-ranked Tennessee. Versus the Lady Vols, Page finished 10-of-21 from the field – including 3-of-6 from long distance – and 6-of-7 from the free throw stripe.
Page recorded back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in her career, also putting together a 23-point outing vs. Akron on Nov. 13. Against the Zips, Page filled the stat sheet, adding seven assists, six rebounds and a steal while logging 40 minutes on the floor. Penn State next hits the road for the San Juan Shootout in Daytona Beach, Fla., where they will play two games in two days, beginning with Georgia State on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.
Katie Lou Samuelson UConn Sophomore Guard/Forward
With the graduation of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, UConn fans have been treated early this season to the next wave of talent as sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson averaged 19.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 52.2-percent (12-of-23) from 3-point range in a 3-0 week for UConn, which included wins over a pair of Top 12 opponents in Florida State (No. 12) and Baylor (No. 2).
The sophomore was nearly perfect from the charity stripe and made 92-percent (12-of-13) of her shots last week. She put together the best game of her career on Nov. 20 in a 76-53 win at LSU after scoring a career-high 28 points to go along with seven 3-pointers and a career-best eight rebounds.
UConn will next put its 78-game winning streak on the line when they host Dayton on Nov. 22, followed by a game with Chattanooga on Nov. 29 in Hartford, Conn.