Starting Five: Women's basketball players of the week
Every week, NCAA.com's Starting Five will bring you a look at some of the top women's basketball players in the country. Here are this week's standout competitors:
Jonquel Jones, George Washington, Sr., Forward
George Washington’s Jonquel Jones led her team to a 3-1 week averaging 18.3 points, 17.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game, while posting a double-double in each contest.
Her best game of the week came in the Colonials' 81-77 double-overtime victory over No. 25/21 Iowa, when she scored 23 points and grabbed a school-record 26 rebounds, breaking a mark that had stood for 39 years. The 26 rebounds matched the second-highest single-game total ever by a player from the Atlantic 10 and are the most by an NCAA player in any division this season. The preseason Wooden Award candidate forced a second overtime with a layup with 21 seconds to go, then put the Colonials on top for good with back-to-back buckets to build a four-point margin with 43 seconds to play in the second extra session.
The next day against Wright State, Jones had 17 points, 19 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists and topped 800 rebounds for her career. The Freeport, Bahamas, native also tallied 20 points, 13 rebounds and three assists against Houston in the opening game of the Lone Star Showcase to average an eye-popping 20.0 points and 19.3 rebounds plus 2.7 blocks, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals in the tournament's three games. Jones also opened the week with 13 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals in a win at Fresno State.
For the season, the senior is the nation's third-leading rebounder with 15.0 boards per game to go with 17.1 points per contest. She has tallied five straight double-doubles, tops in the Atlantic 10 and tied for third-most nationally. Jones and the Colonials return to action on Thursday when they host Florida Gulf Coast.
Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State, So., Guard
National Player of the Week by ESPNW and College Sports Madness as well as the Big Ten Player of the Week, Ohio State sophomore Kelsey Mitchell had an outstanding weekend at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Cincinnati, Ohio native scored a total of 62 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Buckeyes’ wins over Liberty and No. 10/9 Texas A&M. Mitchell scored a game-high 20 points in the win over Liberty and then torched Texas A&M for a school-record tying 42 points which included a school-record tying 15 free throws. In the second half against the Aggies, Mitchell was 8-of-9 from the floor, 13-of-14 from the free throw line and grabbed three rebounds to help reverse a 15-point first half deficit. She was named to the Shootout’s All-Tournament Team and was voted the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Now averaging 25.8 points per game this season, Mitchell also reached another milestone in the win over Texas A&M as she became the fastest player in Big Ten history to surpass 1,000 career points. It took her just 41 games, besting Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante and her mark of 47 games. The Ohio State record was held by Katie Smith who reached 1,000 points in her 52nd game. Mitchell and the Buckeyes will be back in action this Wednesday, Dec. 2 as they head to South Bend, Ind., to take on No. 3 Notre Dame as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Lili Thompson, Stanford, Jr., Guard
In a busy week for the Cardinal, junior guard Lili Thompson helped Stanford to a 4-1 record, including a Gulf Coast Showcase title where she was named the Most Valuable Player.
Posting averages of 20.8 points, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game, she shot 42.2 percent from the floor (27-for-64) and was even better from long distance, knocking down 44.1% of her three-point attempts (15-for-34). She missed just one free throw all week, going 14-for-15 from the line for a 93.3 shooting percentage. She netted 21 points in the 61-58 setback to Santa Clara and 26 in the 82-65 win over Missouri for her fourth-straight 20-point effort, making her the first Stanford guard since four-time All-American Candice Wiggins to achieve the feat. She also had 19 points and seven assists in the 74-66 win over Dayton, after recording back-to-back six-assist outings in the opening games of the Showcase.
She closed out the tournament with 17 points, nine of which were from a perfect outing from the charity stripe, to lift the Cardinal to a 71-65 victory over Purdue. Thompson and the Cardinal will next play at Texas on Dec. 13.
Lizzy Wendell, Drake, Jr., Forward
Drake's Lizzy Wendell helped the Bulldogs improve to a perfect 6-0, averaging 19.3 points and four rebounds in wins over Creighton, Tulsa and UNLV, en route to her third consecutive Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Week honor.
Wendell was instrumental in helping Drake win the 2015 Lady Rebel Round-Up with victories over Tulsa and UNLV. Named tournament MVP, she opened with 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and one block against Tulsa in 27 minutes. Wendell followed that with 21 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-9 from behind the three-point line along with five rebounds, three steals and two assists against the hosts UNLV in 28 minutes.
She leads the MVC in scoring at 18.7 points a game, and has already recorded three 20+plus scoring performances this season. Drake will next put its undefeated season on the line when they travel to South Dakota on Dec. 3.
Brandi Wingate, Louisiana Tech, Sr., Forward
Brandi Wingate earned all-tournament team honors following her performance in Louisiana Tech’s two games at the Jankanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas.
Wingate averaged 19.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 71 percent from the field in a loss to UCLA and a win over Denver. She recorded her first double-double of the season against the Bruins, scoring 17 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds in 68-57 loss. Wingate followed that up with a career-high 22 points and six rebounds in a 58-53 win over Denver, hitting 9-of-11 field goals and all four free throws.
Now 3-2 on the season, Louisiana Tech will next host Prairie View A&M on Dec. 2.