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Rick Nixon | | November 29, 2017

Record-setter Kelsey Mitchell leads this week's top players

Buckeyes' Kelsey Mitchell was named the espnW national Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week.

Every week,'s Starting Five will bring you a look at some of the top women's basketball players in the country. Here are the standout competitors:

Lauren Cox, Baylor

After missing the UCLA trip on Nov. 18 due to illness, Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox returned to the court this past week in a big way, averaging a double-double (20.0 points, 13.0 rebounds) in guiding the Lady Bears to a Junkanoo Division championship at the 2017 Junkanoo Jam last week in the Bahamas.

The Big 12 Conference Sixth Man award winner and a member of the All-Freshman Team a year ago, Cox opened the tournament with a career-high seven blocks, 18 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes played against Missouri State as Baylor prevailed 100-58 on Nov. 23. She then elevated her game against Georgia Tech when she pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds, netted 22 points, posted three blocks and distributed four assists in 38 minutes played as the Lady Bears won 80-57. Her performance against the Yellow Jackets marked her fourth career 20-point game and her second of the season.

Cox, who has recorded three double-doubles in a row, was named to the Junkanoo Jam All-Tournament Team for her efforts. She shot 48.6 percent from the floor, 50 percent from three-point range and was perfect from the foul line.

MORE: 50 named to Naismith Trophy watch list

Baylor, now 5-1 on the season, will return to action on Nov. 30 at home against Kentucky as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State

After helping lead Ohio State to a championship at the Play4Kay Showcase in Las Vegas over the weekend, Buckeye senior guard Kelsey Mitchell has been named the national Player of the Week by espnW, Big Ten Player of the Week and to the Starting Five.

Mitchell averaged 30.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and shot over 53 percent from the floor and 48 percent from beyond the arc in the Buckeyes’ three victories. She was also 27-of-30 from the free throw line which included a 19-of-20 performance in the championship game, setting an Ohio State single-game record with her 19 makes.

In the game against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 24, Mitchell was 7-of-11 from beyond the arc and finished with a then season-high 34 points. Also in that game, she surpassed UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis to become the NCAA DI all-time leader in career three-pointers. She now has 404 three-pointers which topped Mosqueda-Lewis’ old mark or 398.

One day later in the championship game vs. No. 14 Stanford, Mitchell scored 31 of her season-high 37 points after halftime to help the Buckeyes overcome a 12-point deficit and pullout a 94-82 overtime victory. In addition to her 19 free throws, she also had a season-high two steals to go with five rebounds and three assists.

MORE: Notre Dame serves notice as NCAA Team of the Week

Mitchell and the 7-1 Buckeyes will return to action Nov. 30 when they head to Duke as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Alanna Smith, Stanford

Stanford forward Alanna Smith starred at the Play4Kay Showcase in Las Vegas last week, averaging a double-double of 23.7 points and 11.7 rebounds as Stanford claimed second place at the Thanksgiving tournament. The junior from Melbourne, Australia shot 64.6 percent from the field (31-of-48), 40 percent from deep and also averaged 2.0 blocks per game.

MORE: UConn stays atop AP Top 25, Villanova ranked for first time since '04

Smith had the best performance of her career in the Cardinal's 94-82 overtime loss to No. 9 Ohio State on Saturday, setting career highs in both scoring (33) and rebounding (16). It's the nation's only 30-point, 15-rebound double-double against a ranked team this season and the first against an Associated Press top-10 team since Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike went for 32 points and 20 boards against No. 3 Tennessee on Dec. 21, 2013. The 33-point outburst is the highest single-game total in the Pac-12 this season and the most at Stanford since Ogwumike dropped in 37 against Washington State on March 1, 2014.

The week started with Smith scoring 15 points while grabbing eight rebounds in the Cardinal's 79-54 Thanksgiving Day victory over Kent State. The next night, Smith collected her fourth career double-double with a 23-point, 11-rebound performance in Stanford's 74-53 win over Belmont.

The Cardinal, now 4-3 overall, will next play at San Francisco on Nov. 29.

Jackie Young, Notre Dame

Sophomore guard Jackie Young was the driving force as Notre Dame won the 2017 Gulf Showcase tournament championship that included a pair of top-20 wins The Irish scored wins over East Tennessee State, No. 17 South Florida and No. 3 South Carolina in claiming the tournament title.

Named the Gulf Coast Showcase MVP after averaging 19.3 points and 7.7 rebounds over the course of the three games, Young established a new career-high with 23 points in Notre Dame’s 76-66 win over South Florida, finishing the game strong with nine points in the fourth period as the Irish won 76-66.

MORE: Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell sets NCAA three-point record in win over FGCU


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Young then played a major role in the Irish offense, scoring 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting as Notre Dame handed South Carolina its first defeat of the season, 92-85 on Nov. 26. The victory over the defending national champion snapped the Gamecocks 17-game winning streak, with the Irish recording its first victory against a top-five team since it defeated South Carolina at the 2015 Women’s Final Four in Tampa Bay. For Young, it marked the first back-to-back 20+ point performances of her career, and first career double-double after reeling in 10 rebounds.

Young and the rest of the Irish return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 29, when they travel to Ann Arbor to battle Michigan as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

FANS’ VOTE: Madison Guebert, South Dakota State

South Dakota State junior guard Madison Guebert led the Jackrabbits to an upset win over No. 23 North Carolina State and followed that up with a game winning three-point field goal at the buzzer to beat Charlotte in a pair of games last week at the Puerto Rico Clasico which was held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

In South Dakota State’s 75-67 win over North Carolina State on Nov. 24, Guebert totaled 20 points as the Jackrabbits beat a ranked team for the first time since defeating Miami (Fla.) in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament in Stanford, Calif., March 19. 2016.

Against Charlotte, Guebert again had 20 points, the last three coming on a game-winning three-point field goal before the final buzzer sounded as South Dakota State defeated Charlotte, 71-70. Overall, Guebert connected on 7-of-13 from the field, including five of South Dakota State’s 14 treys on the night.

In the two games, Guebert averaged 20 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game while connecting on eight three-point field goals. The guard also shot 42.9 percent (12 of 28) from the field, 42.1 percent (8-19) from three-point range and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line.

The 5-1 Jackrabbits begin a four-game homestand Nov. 30 when they host Northern Iowa.

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