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 the standout competitors:
Dyandria Anderson, Florida
In the first ever meeting between the Florida and Oklahoma in women’s basketball, it was Gator senior guard Dyandria Anderson serving as the difference maker, scoring a career-high 29 points as Florida posted a resounding 80-61 win at Oklahoma last Sunday. The Big 12-SEC Challenge game resulted in the Sooners suffering their largest non-conference home loss since 2004.
YES!!!! '— Gators Women’s Basketball (@GatorsWBK) December 3, 2017
her 6th of the game!!
Gators lead 65-53 pic.twitter.com/RK1PoDKPz2
Anderson scored 17 of her game and career-high 29 points during the first half when she hit 4-of-5 three-pointers and led Florida to a 33-23 lead, eventually converting 6-of-7 from long range in addition to 8-of-11 overall and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.
Led by Anderson’s six treys, Florida connected on 12 three-point field goals which was one shy of tying the Lloyd Noble Center record for opponent three-pointers (13, Iowa State, Jan. 29, 2005). The Gators also dominated the glass, out-rebounding Oklahoma 56-31.
Next up for the Gators (5-3) is a visit from No. 12 Ohio State to Gainesville on Dec. 6.
Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse
Syracuse is off to an 8-0 start as Tiana Mangakahia and Miranda Drummond and are proving to be a lethal one-two combination, averaging a combined 36.2 points per game for the Orange.This past week Mangakahia totaled 55 points, 23 assists and eight steals as Syracuse scored wins over Northwestern and Stony Brook and maintained their standing as one of four undefeated teams remaining in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
In the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Carrier Dome against Northwestern on Nov. 30, Mangakahia totaled a then career-high 26 points on 6-12 shooting from the floor while dishing out 12 assists. The Australia native made 14 free throws in the game (14-15), tying for third in program history for made free throws. Her 14 free throws are the most by an Orange player since 2003 when Julie McBride poured in 14 against Binghamton.
In an 81-70 overtime win over Stony Brook on Dec. 3, Mangakahia set a new career-high with 29 points and added to her already impressive season stats, dishing out 11 assists against the Seawolves for her eighth consecutive game with double-digit assists. The sophomore also notched her eighth double-double outing of the season. Mangakahia and Drummond (23 points) combined for 52 of Syracuse's 81 points, marking the second game in a row that the pair has totaled 50-plus combined points.
Syracuse will return to action on Dec. 6 at home against Colgate.
Kia Nurse, UConn
With 13 consecutive three-pointers over a three-game stretch, UConn senior guard Kia Nurse came up just short of the NCAA record, while the Huskies continued to roll.
Connecting on 14-of-16 field goal attempts, Nurse averaged 20 points over two games last week as UConn improved to 7-0 on the season with wins at Nevada and over No. 3 Notre Dame.
In the 80-71 win over Notre Dame, UConn rallied from an 11-point fourth period deficit in extending its home winning streak to 69 games - tied for third longest in NCAA history. Nurse had seven points during the deciding burst at the start of the fourth period, including hitting her 13th consecutive three-pointer over the past three games. The streak broke the school record for consecutive three-pointers made. Nurse hit her 11th in a row midway through the first period to break the tie she held with Katie Lou Samuelson and Caroline Doty. She missed her fourth and final attempt of the game leaving her just short of the NCAA record of 14.
Against Nevada, Nurse was a perfect 8-for-8 from the three-point line in scoring a season-high 27 points as UConn pulled away for an 88-57 win.
UConn, which is 118-1 over its last 119 games, returns to action this Friday, Dec. 8 at DePaul.
Shakayla Thomas, Florida State
The Naismith Trophy and Wade Trophy Watch List member, Florida State senior forward Shakayla Thomas has been on a scoring tear over her last four games, averaging 28.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 61.2 percent from the field (52-of-85) and 13 makes per game over that time.
Thomas, a native of Sylacauga, Ala., led Florida State to two road victories at Iowa (94-93) and James Madison (79-63) this past week. Over the two games, she averaged 28.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and shot 60 percent (27-of-45) from the floor. Thomas also averaged 13.5 made field goals, tying her career-high with 14 made at Iowa.
She has done her greatest damage in crunch time. The two-time All-American scored 17 of her 31 points in the fourth period in Florida State’s thriller at Iowa. There was a stretch where she went on a 9-0 run by herself to go from a 79-71 deficit with 5:37 left to an 80-79 lead with 3:13 remaining. Thomas’ 31 points against the high-scoring Hawkeyes marked her second career 30-point game. For the week, she averaged 19.5 points in the second half.
For the season, Thomas leads the Seminoles with 22.9 points per game and is shooting 59 percent (82-of-139) from the floor. Nationally, Thomas ranks second in field goals made (82) and two-point field goals made (82), third in points per 40 minutes (33.6) and ninth in points per game (22.9).
The Seminoles return to Tallahassee for a two-game homestand this week, hosting Stetson on Dec. 7 and Arizona State, Dec. 10.
Erica Ogwumike, Rice
Rice sophomore guard Erica Ogwumike nearly helped the Owls pull off the upset at No. 18 Texas A&M last Wednesday, scoring a game-high 26 points in Rice’s 82-76 loss to the Aggies.
Ogwumike eclipsed 20-plus points for a third-straight game by making 11-of-13 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc, to go along with six rebounds and five assists. The Cypress, Texas native scored 12 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter, including a stretch of nine straight.
On Nov. 26, Rice suffered its first loss of the season, dropping a 73-65 decision to the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse despite Ogwumike notching her third 20-plus point performance of the season with a game-high 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half. In addition, Ogwumike snagged a game-high tying 11 rebounds to accomplish her second double-double of the season.
Ogwumike ranks second in Conference USA in scoring (19.7), sixth in rebounding (8.7), 13th in field goal percentage (.505), 10th in free throw percentage (.833) and first in steals (3.0).
The Owls, 5-2, return to the court following a nine-day layoff this Saturday, Dec. 9 when they host Incarnate Word.