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Rick Nixon | | March 4, 2014

Starting five

Breanna Stewart, Connecticut, 6-4, Sophomore Forward

In only her second collegiate season, Breanna Stewart continues to play like a national player of the year candidate. On Monday, Stewart scored 22 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in helping to lead Connecticut to its 37th consecutive win as the Huskies won 68-48 at Louisville before a sellout crowd of 22,163 at the KFC Yum! Center. The win clinched the first American Athletic Conference regular season title for the Huskies. The 37 wins is the third-longest streak in school history. Earlier in the week, Stewart had 20 points and 10 rebounds as UConn (31-0) won 72-35 against Rutgers. In the two games last week, Stewart connected 18 of 41 field goals.

Genevieve Okoro, Richmond, 6-0, Junior Forward

Genevieve Okoro earned Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Week honors after leading Richmond to two wins this past week, posting two double-doubles along the way. Okoro, a redshirt-junior, helped the Spiders take down city-rival VCU with 17 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks, before downing George Mason to end the regular season as Okoro had 15 points, 14 boards, three assists and two steals. In the final two contests, Okoro averaged 16 points, 15 rebounds and shot 59.1 percent from the floor. One of two players on the Richmond roster to start and play in all 29 games, Okoro is averaging 11.8 points and team-best 8.5 rebounds per game. The Spiders (14-15, 8-8) will play host to VCU in the first-round of the Atlantic 10 tournament which will take place on March 6 at Richmond.

Ny Hammonds, Charlotte, 5-5, Senior Guard

Charlotte senior point guard Ny Hammonds compiled one of the most prolific weeks in NCAA history leading the Niners to victories against FIU (Feb. 26) and Marshall (March 1) and was named Conference USA Player of the Week. Hammonds became only the sixth player in NCAA history, and the first in the league’s history dating back to 1995-96, to record back-to-back triple-doubles. 

Hammonds started with a 10-point, career-high 11 rebound and career-best 14-assist performance against FIU. She reached the milestone after being honored pregame for recently becoming the 49ers’ all-time assists leader. The 14 assists against the Panthers mark the highest of any of the national triple-doubles this season. It was the 15th overall triple-double in Conference USA history and the ninth in a league contest. 

Against Marshall she poured in 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out 11 assists in her final home game. She is the only player in conference history with multiple triple-doubles in league games and one of only two, joining Louisville’s Sara Nord, to play in Conference USA to accomplish the feat.

Hammonds’ second triple-double puts her in an elite group of four players nationally with multiple triple-doubles this year and as one of only 41 in NCAA history to do so during one season, dating back to the statistic being tracked in 1985-86. She became the 19th different player to post a triple-double in 2013-14 on the national list and helped raise the cumulative total, now among 22 individuals, to 29 across the country through Sunday’s games.

Nici Gilday, Santa Clara, 5-7, Junior Guard

Nici Gilday had a record-setting week for Santa Clara to help to Broncos secure seeding for the West Coast Conference Tournament.  Connecting on 15 of 23 field goal attempts, Gilday scored a program-best 40 points vs. Loyola Marymount on Feb. 27. The 40 points is the second highest total in the West Coast this year. The 15 field goals ranks second in Bronco history.  Gilday followed it up with a 22-point performance vs. Pepperdine on Senior Day (March 1). On the week, Gilday averaged 31.0 points per game, 36.0 minutes per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game while shooting 57.5 percent from the field. A starter in all 29 games this season, Gilday leads the Broncos, averaging 16.7 points per game while connecting on 113 of 129 (87.6%) of her free throw attempts. The No. 7 seed in the West Coast, Santa Clara will play No. 10 seed Pepperdine on Thursday in the first round of the West Coast Conference tournament.

Brittany Hrynko, DePaul, 5-8, Junior Guard

The assist leader in the Big East Conference this season, Brittany Hrynko led the way in the scoring department as well for DePaul as the Blue Demons clinched the conference regular season championship with wins against Villanova and St. John’s (N.Y.) last week. Playing in her hometown of Philadelphia against Villanova on Feb. 25,  Hrynko scored 25 points on 10 of 13 shooting, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range, and grabbed nine rebounds in a 71-56 win. She came back on March 1 with another dynamic performance in leading the Blue Demons with 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds as they prevailed 80-65 on the road at St. John’s. DePaul, 23-6 and 14-3, will play its final regular season game on Tuesday against Georgetown.

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