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Rick Nixon | | January 7, 2015

Starting Five

Promise Amukamara, Guard, 5-foot-8, Senior, Arizona State

Amukamara led Arizona State (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) to the top of the Pac-12 standings with the Sun Devils scoring wins against Washington (62-48) and Washington State (78-64) in the past week. The Sun Devils have won eight consecutive games. Amukamara scored 14 points, grabbed three rebounds and had three steals to power Arizona State’s win against Washington, snapping the Huskies’ 11-game winning streak. She led the Sun Devils’ defense that held Washington to 35 points below its scoring average (83.2 points per game) entering the game. The senior had the assignment of defending the nation’s No. 1 scorer, Kelsey Plum, who came  into the game averaging 26.6 points per game, holding her to just 17 points, nine below her average. Plum scored only four points in the first half as the Sun Devils raced out to a 37-13 halftime lead. During that same stretch, Amukamara scored nine points in helping the Sun Devils to the big halftime advantage. The 13 points Washington scored in the first half were the fewest scored by the Huskies this season and the fewest allowed in a half by Arizona State this season. A starter in all 14 games this season, Amukamara had eight points and three rebounds in the win over Washington State. She is currently second on the team in scoring (11.5 points per game), first in steals (29) and is the Sun Devils’ top rebounding guard (3.5 rebounds per game). Arizona State will play at rival Arizona on Jan. 8.
Erica Covile, Guard, 6-foot-1, Junior, Temple

Covile had a pair of career games for Temple as the Owls went undefeated in American Athletic Conference play last week and improved to 3-0 in league play. The junior averaged 22.5 points and 14.0 rebounds per game in wins against SMU and at Cincinnati. Against the Mustangs, Covile scored a career-high 24 points to go along with 13 rebounds, three steals and two assists. The Michigan native went 9-for-10 from the field in Saturday’s win against the Bearcats and finished with 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, notching her fourth consecutive double-double. Temple (7-9, 3-0) will be looking stay undefeated in league play when they next host South Florida on Jan. 11.
Alex Harden, Guard/Forward, 5-foot-11, Senior, Wichita State

Harden averaged 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.5 steals and 4.5 assists in Wichita State’s two wins against Indiana State and Evansville last week. She had 21 points against Indiana State in the Missouri Valley Conference-opener for the Shockers and followed that with 20 points against Evansville. She also had 11 steals against Indiana State, which tied the single-game Wichita State school record. For the week, she shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from the field and 72.2 percent from the line (13-of-18). Wichita State, which improved to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in MVC play, will return to the court at Missouri State on Jan. 9.
Tamara Jones, Forward, 5-foot-11, Senior, Southern Miss

Jones posted a pair of 30-point performances to lead Southern Miss to road wins at Nicholls State (89-57) and at Louisiana Tech (79-77).  The senior averaged 31.5 points on 55 percent (22-of-40) shooting from the field, including 53.8 percent (7of-13) from behind the arc. Jones poured in 33 points against Nicholls State as she outscored the Colonels 14-13 in the first nine minutes of the game. Against Louisiana Tech, Jones notched a double-double with 30 points and 11 rebounds, scoring eight of the team's 16 overtime points. She averaged 8.0 rebounds, and had three assists, four blocks and three steals on the week. Next up for Jones and the Lady Eagles will be a home game with UTSA on Jan. 8.
Amanda Zahui B., Center, 6-foot-5, Sophomore, Minnesota

Zahui B. continues to be an integral part of the Minnesota’s (14-1, 3-0) rise to the top of the Big Ten conference standings. In Minnesota’s three wins last week against Nebraska (72-69), Purdue (81-69) and Wisconsin (72-60), Zahui averaged 17.3 points, 15.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocks. In the win against Nebraska, Zahui had 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots as the Gophers rallied from a 17-point deficit with 10 minutes to play to claim the win. Against the Boilermakers, Zahui posted 21 points, matched her career-high with 19 rebounds, and added five blocks, four assists and a steal.  An 11-point, 12-rebound effort against Wisconsin capped a big week for the sophomore center from Stockholm, Sweden, who shot a combined 21 of 38 from the field (55.3 percent) and now has 11 double-doubles’ on the season, including hitting the mark in eight straight games. Zahui’s efforts have allowed Minnesota to continue to roll despite losing stand out senior guard Rachel Banham to a season-ending injury in early December. Minnesota will next host Maryland on Jan. 11.

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