Women's college basketball: Texas' Joyner Holmes leads Starting Five
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 the standout competitors:
Joyner Holmes, Texas, Freshman, Guard/Forward
A five-time Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Week award winner already this season, Texas’ Joyner Holmes shows no signs of letting up. Joyner recorded double-doubles in all three games during the week as Texas went 3-0, with two of the wins over teams in the top-5 nationally in Baylor and Florida State.
Holmes averaged 15.7 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game, shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 73.3 percent from the free-throw line. Holmes now has eight double-doubles on the year.
The 85-79 win at No. 2 Baylor on Feb. 7 snapped a 14-game winning streak by the Lady Bears in the series. It also ended Baylor's 54-game home winning streak. In the victory, Holmes scored 18 points and brought down a game-high 10 rebounds. She also blocked two shots, came up with two steals and dished out two assists in a career-high 35 minutes of action. She shot 50 percent (6-of-12) from the field and was 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. Holmes had six of her 18 points in a critical fourth quarter for the Longhorns.
In Saturday's 75-42 win against Kansas, Holmes scored 15 points and brought down 13 rebounds – both game highs. She shot 60 percent (6-of-10) from the field and dished out three assists in 23 minutes of action. Holmes' 13 rebounds led a 59-rebound performance by the Texas team, which tied for the ninth-best single-game team rebounding performance in program history.
Holmes capped the week with 14 points and 14 rebounds in a double-overtime win at Florida State, 92-88. On the season, Holmes is the Big 12 Conference freshman leader in scoring (12.5 points per game), rebounding (8.0 rebounds per game) and double-doubles (8). Texas — winners of 19 straight games, 21-4 overall and 14-0 in the Big 12 — will be back in action on Feb. 18 at Oklahoma.
Kitija Laksa, USF, Sophomore, Forward
With five 30-point outings this season, University of South Florida sophomore forward Kitija Laksa continues to fill the stat sheet for the Bulls.
A native of Riga, Latvia, Laksa averaged 27.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game while shooting 57.9 percent in a pair of wins for the Bulls last week, which included a win over a top-50 RPI Tulane on Sunday.
The three-time Player of the Week started the week with her fifth 30-point outing this season, pouring in 34 points at East Carolina, four points shy of her career-high. Laksa finished 14-for-22 (.636) and was 4-for-8 from long range. Against Tulane, the sophomore powered the Bulls to a 10-point victory with 21 points, shooting 50 percent (8-for-16).
Laksa was held to 10 points and six rebounds in a 66-62 home loss to UCF on Feb. 14. USF, 20-5 overall and 9-3 in the American Athletic Conference, will next host Temple on Feb. 19.
Tynice Martin, West Virginia, Sophomore, Guard
West Virginia’s Tynice Martin averaged 32.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game, as the Mountaineers went 1-1 last week with a 90-87 double-overtime loss at nationally ranked Oklahoma and a 79-53 win over Oklahoma State.
In West Virginia’s heartbreaking loss to the Sooners, Martin tallied a career-high 35 points and grabbed five rebounds. She made 14-of-24 from the field (58.3%) and 6-of-8 (75.0%) from behind the arc. Martin’s 35 points were the second-most in a game by a West Virginia sophomore, only one point behind Meg Bugler’s 36-point performance in 2005.
Martin followed up with another stellar game against the Cowgirls, scoring a game-high 30 points. The sophomore grabbed eight rebounds and dished out two assists. Martin was on fire from the perimeter, knocking down 7-of-10 (70%) from three-point range and 11-of-22 (50.0%) from the field.
She became the first Mountaineer since Bulger in 2005 to score 30 or more points in back-to-back games. Martin ranks second in the Big 12 with 18.1 points per game and is third in the league with 2.0 steals per contest. West Virginia, 17-8 overall and 5-8 in the Big 12 Conference, resumes action on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at home against No. 24-ranked Kansas State.
Fans’ Choice: Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame, Sophomore, Guard
Continuing its dominance at home, Notre Dame remains in contention for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season title as sophomore Arike Ogunbowale led a balanced attack to wins over Louisville and Georgia Tech last week.
On Feb. 6, Ogunbowale led five Notre Dame players in double figures with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor as the Irish defeated No. 12 Louisville by a 85-66 count. Notre Dame's 85 points were the most yielded by the Cardinals this season.
In a 90-69 win over Georgia Tech on Feb. 12, Marina Mabrey led Notre Dame with 25 points while Ogunbowale had a double-double (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Brianna Turner narrowly missed a double-double of her own (21 points and nine rebounds). The three were tantalizingly close - one Ogunbowale bucket to be exact - away from becoming the first Irish trio to each score 20 points in a game since 1999. Ogunbowale's double-double was both the second of her career and her second in three games, joining her 16-point, 10-rebound effort on Feb. 2 at Virginia Tech.
With the win, the Irish, 23-3 and 11-1 in the ACC, remain perfect at home in conference play at 30-0 all-time, part of an extended run of 40 consecutive home conference wins. Notre Dame is shooting for their fourth consecutive regular-season league title and is currently tied with Florida State for first-place. The Irish return to play Feb. 16 at Clemson.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland, Senior, Guard
Less than two weeks from having her jersey honored in the rafters of the XFINITY Center, Maryland senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough enjoyed a big week in wins over Illinois and Michigan State. Walker-Kimbrough averaged 26.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals in the two wins, shooting 51.4 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from outside the arc and 85.7 percent from the foul line.
In an 84-59 win over Illinois on Feb. 9, she scored seven points in the Terps' early 16-2 run. She tied a career-high with six three-pointers and added six assists. In the win, moving into fifth on Maryland's all-time scoring list. She now has over 1,958 points in her career. In the Terps’ 89-72 victory at Michigan State Sunday, Walker-Kimbrough scored 11 points in the first quarter to jumpstart the Terrapins’ offense. She finished with 24 points, four boards and three assists.
Walker-Kimbrough is averaging 17.7 points per game on the season and is No. 10 among Division I active all-time scorers. Her field goal percentage of 52.8 percent leads all Big Ten Conference guards. Walker-Kimbrough's career three-point percentage of 44.9 percent is currently the best in Maryland history ahead of Kristi Toliver's career mark of 40.8 percent.
The jerseys of senior Brionna Jones and Walker-Kimbrough will be honored in the rafters of the XFINITY Center immediately after the Terrapins' Senior Day game on Feb. 26. Both have earned First Team All-Big Ten Honors, as well as Associated Press and WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors. They’ve led the Terrapins to two Women’s Final Fours, two conference tournament titles and two conference regular season crowns. They have earned a record of 118-15 (.887) overall and a record of 62-5 (.925) at home at the XFINITY Center. At 25-1 overall and 13-0 in the Big Ten, the Terps are off to the best start in school history. Next, the Terrapins will return home to host Wisconsin on Feb. 15.