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Rick Nixon | | December 2, 2014

Starting Five: Top performances

Starting Five

Kelsey Brooks, Guard/Forward, 5-foot-9, Sophomore, Arkansas
Brooks was named South Point Thanksgiving Shootout Tournament Most Valuable Player after helping Arkansas to wins against nationally ranked Iowa (77-67) and Richmond (74-55). She had a career-best 24 points in the upset win against Iowa and led the team with 17 points and had six rebounds in the win against Richmond, which is also receiving votes in the national poll. Brooks averaged 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game on the week, helping lead Arkansas to a 6-0 start for the seventh time in program history. The Razorbacks will return to action Thursday, playing host to South Dakota State.

Brittany Crain, Guard, 5-8, Junior, UC Riverside
The nation’s leading scorer, averaging 29.0 points per game, Crain scored 66 points in two victories at the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament as the Highlanders ran their record to 5-0 for the first time since the 1990-91 campaign. She had 35 points and 12 rebounds in a 90-62 win against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 28 and followed up that by pouring in 31 points on Saturday as UC Riverside beat the host New Mexico 70-62. Crain connected on 25 of 43 (58.1 percent) of her shots from the field during the two games. UC Riverside next plays at Fresno State on Thursday.

Jewell Loyd, Guard, 5-10, Junior, Notre Dame
With an important week of games looming, Loyd kept Notre Dame focused, averaging 19.0 points and 3.7 rebounds as the Fighting Irish scored wins against Harvard (97-43), Quinnipiac (112-52) and Kansas (89-47), improving to 7-0. The wins are a prelude to a big week for Notre Dame, with the Fighting Irish playing Maryland on wednesday in Fort Wayne, Indiana, before their national title rematch with UConn at home in South Bend on Saturday.  Loyd had 23 points in the wins against Quinnipiac and Kansas.

Vicky McIntyre, Center, 6-7, Senior, Oral Roberts
McIntyre broke a Summit League single-game rebound record which stood for nearly 22 years, grabbing 27 rebounds while adding 22 points, four blocks and two assists in a win against Austin Peay on Saturday. Her 27 boards broke Angela Gilbert’s (Ill.-Chicago) 23-rebound performance on Jan. 31, 1993. Earlier in the week, McIntyre was two blocks from a triple-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks in a win against Missouri State. She added her third double-double of the week in a loss to North Carolina A&T, with 10 points and 19 rebounds. Against UALR, a team receiving votes nationally, she scored six points with eight rebounds and two blocks in a 54-43 loss. During her record-breaking week, McIntyre averaged 16.5 rebounds, 15.3 points, 5.0 blocks and 1.3 assists per game. She shot 63 percent (24-of-38) from the field and 93 percent (13-of-14) at the free throw line. McIntyre’s 27-rebound performance is currently tops in the nation this season and she is first in the country with 4.86 blocks per game to along with five double-doubles. Oral Roberts will play host to Southwestern Christian on Tuesday.

Annie Tarakchian, Guard/Forward, 6-0, Junior, Princeton
Named Cancun Challenge Tournament Most Valuable Player, Tarakchian led Princeton to the Mayan Division crown with wins against Wake Forest, Montana and Charlotte last week. The Tigers trailed for a total of just 47 seconds in three games, improving to 7-0. Princeton now is off to the best start in program history, surpassing the previous mark of six consecutive victories held by the 2011-12, 1977-78 and 1974-75 and squads. Tarakchian averaged 14.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in the three games, shooting 66.7 percent (12-of-18) from the field, 61.5 percent from behind the 3-point line (8-of-13) and 91.7 percent (11-of-12) from the free-throw line. Princeton will put its undefeated season on the line this week, playing host to Georgetown on Saturday.

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