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Rick Nixon | | January 28, 2015

Starting Five

Ally Disterhoft, Guard, 6-foot-0, Sophomore, Iowa

Winners of five in a row, Iowa is keeping pace with Maryland in the Big Ten race behind a balanced attack that includes four players averaging 11.6 points or more. Ally Disterhoft stood out in a pair of wins this week, defeating Michigan on Jan. 22 76-70 and No. 15 Nebraska 78-72 in overtime on Monday. Against Michigan, she tallied 14 points and pulled down three rebounds. Against Nebraska, Disterhoft, a sophomore from Iowa City, scored all 20 of her points in the second half and overtime and pulled down a total of 13 rebounds to lead No. 20 Iowa to its first victory against Nebraska in nine tries as a Big Ten opponent. For the week, Disterhoft connected on 14 of 29 (48.3 percent) of her field goals, pulled down 16 rebounds and dished out four assists. A game back of Maryland, Iowa returns to action on Jan. 29 at Northwestern, before traveling to College Park, Maryland to face the Terrapins on Feb. 1.
Cheyenne Parker, Forward, 6-foot-4, Senior, Middle Tennessee
Parker nearly averaged a triple-double as Middle Tennessee won at Old Dominion 65-48 and at Charlotte 84-54 to move into a tie for first place in Conference USA. Parker averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks, while shooting 75 percent (18 of 24) from the field. She scored a career-high 30 points and pulled 11 rebounds with five blocks at Charlotte. She started the game 11 of 11, the second best shooting start to a game in program history. Parker barely missed becoming the first player in program history to record a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots at Old Dominion. The nine blocked shots established a single-game school record. Her 14 blocks in two games are the most in consecutive games in school history. Winners of eight of the past nine games, Middle Tennessee (12-5, 6-1) will next host UTSA on Jan. 29.
Shereesha Richards, Forward, 6-foot-1, Junior, Albany
Named America East Conference Player of the Week 13 times during her distinguished career, Richards was named to the Starting Five this week after averaging nearly 30 points in three Albany victories, as the Great Danes (14-6, 7-0) are now alone in first place in the America East. A junior forward, she scored at least 20 points in all three games, averaging 29.7 points and 9.7 rebounds a contest and shooting 57.6 percent from the field. She started the week with 21 points against Stony Brook, shooting 9 of 10 from the free throw line as Albany won 69-59. She followed with her eighth double-double of the year with 29 points and 14 rebounds at UMBC, as the Great Danes prevailed 72-62. Richards finished the week with one of the top performances in America East history, shooting 17 of 24 (70.8%) from the field for 39 points in Albany’s 82-58 win against Hartford. The 39 points was the second-highest scoring performance in Albany women’s basketball history. Richards combined with teammate Imani Tate for 69 points in that game, with Tate netting 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. It is the first time in Albany history that two players scored at least 30 points in a game. The combined 69 points was the most ever by a pair of teammates in an America East women’s basketball game. Richards and the Great Danes will next play at Vermont on Jan. 29.
Jamie Weisner, Guard, 5-foot-10, Junior, Oregon State
An Oregon State player has cracked the Starting Five for the second consecutive week. Last week it was center Ruth Hamblin with the honor, this week it is Weisner, based on her performance in a pair of important Pac-12 road wins against Arizona and Arizona State which moved the Beavers to the top of the conference standings. Weisner scored 21 points and had five rebounds on Sunday as No. 9 Oregon State defeated No. 13 Arizona State 68-57 in a battle for first place in the Pac-12. The win at Arizona State broke a streak of 17 consecutive losses to the Sun Devlis on the road in Tempe. Against Arizona, Weisner had seven points and six rebounds as Oregon State prevailed 73-55. Her week began last Monday at home against Washington, with Weisner scoring 26 points and pulling down eight rebounds in a 75-67 victory against the Huskies.  Oregon State will return to action on Jan. 31, hosting Southern California.
Lizzy Wendell, Forward, 6-foot-0, Sophomore, Drake
Wendell averaged 25 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists to lead the Drake to road wins at Indiana State (72-65) and Evansville (79-62) last weekend. With the wins, the Bulldogs (12-6 and 7-0) remain tied atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings with Wichita State.  Wendell poured in a game-high 30 points and nabbed a career-high six steals in the Indiana State win. She followed that performance with 20 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Evansville win. Wendell leads the conference in scoring at 22.6 points per game, and going back to last season has scored 10 or more points in 32 consecutive games. She leads the league with 13 20-plus performances this season. Drake faces an important week ahead, with games at home against Missouri State (Jan. 30) and Wichita State (Feb. 1).

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