Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd puts up consecutive 30-point performances
Allison Baggett, Guard, 5-foot-9, Junior, McNeese State
Baggett led McNeese State (5-3) in scoring in both games last week against Centenary and Louisiana-Monroe. She began the week with a season-high 26 points in the Cowgirls' 86-35 win against Centenary on Dec. 10 and followed that performance three days later with a career-high 31 points in a hard-fought 66-63 loss against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. For the week, Baggett averaged 28.5 points per game, shot 49.0 from the field (24-49) and was perfect from the free throw line (6-6), making all six attempts against Louisiana-Monroe. Baggett currently leads the Cowgirls in scoring and ranks third in the Southland Conference with 17.1 points per game. She has scored in double figures in five of the last six games. Next up for McNeese State is a Dec. 17 game at No. 3 Texas.
Malina Hood, Guard, 5-foot-10, Junior, San Diego
San Diego is off to the second best start in program history with a 9-1 record. The Torreros extended its winning streak to five games with an 87-64 win against UC Irvine on Sunday, with Malina Hood leading all scorers with her 22 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field, while connecting on four 3-pointers. The UC Irvine win capped a 2-0 week for San Diego, which had also defeated Seattle 59-54 on Dec. 12 with Hood scoring 15 points for the Torreros on 5 of 13 shooting from the field, including hitting three 3-pointers. Through 10 games, Hood leads the Torreros with a 17.3 points per game average, connecting on 44.4 percent of her 3-point attempts (32-72). She currently ranks second nationally in 3-point field goals per game (4.0) behind UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (4.33). Malina’s twins sister, Maya, is San Diego’s second leading scorer at 14.5 points per game. The Torreros will look to build on its great start, playing next at Portland on Dec. 27.
Jewell Loyd, Guard, 5-foot-10, Junior, Notre Dame
Named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, Loyd averaged 27.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last week in leading No. 5 Notre Dame to wins against No. 25 DePaul and Michigan. The preseason All-America selection spearheaded a gritty midweek overtime victory at DePaul with a school record-tying 41 points and 12 rebounds in 42 minutes. She sent the game to overtime with two free throws with seconds left in regulation and won the game by making two free throws with 5.3 seconds left in overtime. Loyd earned her second double-double of the season at DePaul and became the first Notre Dame player in school history to post back-to-back 30-point games (she had a then-career high 31 points versus UConn on Dec. 6). Loyd capped her week with an efficient 14-point, five-rebound afternoon against Michigan. Notre Dame will next host Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 21.
Tia Presley, Guard, 5-foot-10, Senior, Washington State
Presley returned to her hometown of Spokane, Washington for Washington State’s matchup with Gonzaga. She scored a game-high 21 points including the go-ahead basket with 35 seconds remaining as the Cougars scored a 59-58 win, snapping the Bulldogs’ 27-game home winning streak. Presley shot 8-for-13 from the field and scored 18 of her points in the second half to help the Cougars overcome a 10-point halftime deficit for Washington State’s second consecutive win at Gonzaga. The Cougars (7-2) improved to 4-0 this season when Presley scores 20-plus points. Presley currently ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring, averaging 19.6 points per game. Next up for Washington State is a home game against Montana State on Dec. 20.
Courtney Walker, Guard, 5-foot-8, Junior, Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s leading scorer (16.3 points per game), Walker guides a balanced Aggie attack that has reeled off 11 consecutive wins and a team that rose to No. 4 in national rankings. Walker scored 19 points, connecting on all six of her field goal attempts as Texas A&M improved to 11-0 for only the second time in school history and for the first time since 2008-09 with a 94-55 victory against Houston on Sunday. Earlier in the week on Dec. 9, Walker had nine points as Texas A&M defeated SMU, 70-62. One of the nation’s top free throw shooters, Walker has connected on 33 of 37 free throws this season (89.2 percent). The Aggies can match the best start in school history, and the program’s longest winning streak, in their next game, which is Dec. 21 against No. 3 Texas.