The NCAA.com Starting Five honors a starting lineup of players from around the country who enjoyed standout performances for that week. Here’s the starters for the week of Dec. 4-10.
Simone Goods, Illinois State
Illinois State senior Simone Goods totaled 41 points and 18 rebounds as the Redbirds scored wins over Austin Peay and Northern Kentucky.
In the 61-49 victory over Austin Peay on Dec. 4, Goods registered her seventh career double-double, notching 22 points and grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds. She went 10-for-11 at the free-throw line, adding four in the last three minutes of the game, enabling the Redbirds to hold on for the victory.
Goods was just as impressive in Friday's 58-53 win over Northern Kentucky, scoring 19 points and pulling down four rebounds, even though she was limited to only 18 minutes of playing time because of foul difficulty. She has now scored in double figures in all but one of Illinois State’s games this season.
Illinois State, 4-4, will be back in action on Dec. 16 when they host Maryville.
Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn
UConn senior Katie Lou Samuelson averaged 23.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game as the top-ranked Huskies improved to 9-0 with wins over Saint Louis and Seton Hall last week.
On the road at Saint Louis last Tuesday, Samuelson scored 20 points, including five three-point baskets, and added six rebounds as UConn cruised to a 98-42 victory in front of 7,105 fans, the third largest crowd in Saint Louis history. UConn rolled to a 15-2 lead and never looked back. Samuelson propelled the early outburst with a pair of 3-pointers. The Huskies, who have made 11 straight Women’s Final Four appearances, led by as many as 60 points in the second half.
Against Seton Hall on Dec. 8, UConn rolled to its 124th consecutive regular season win as Samuelson tallied 26 points and 16 rebounds for her first double-double of the season as the Huskies prevailed 99-61. It also marked her career high in rebounds. The Pirates led 3-2 before Samuelson hit three buckets, including a pair of 3-pointers during a 10-0 UConn run that put the Huskies up for good. UConn led 35-13 after 10 minutes and 61-29 at the half. Samuelson's third basket from behind the arc, a shot from the top of the key in the fourth quarter, moved her past Diana Taurasi and into second place on the school's all-time list. Her 320 career 3-pointers put her within reach this season of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' school record of 398.
Samuelson leads UConn with an average of 20.1 points per game and is also averaging 7.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
UConn returns to action on Dec. 19 at Oklahoma.
Erika Steeves, Brown
The Ivy League Player of the Week, Brown senior forward Erika Steeves topped the career 1,000-point mark in a big way, posting a 30-point, 12-rebound double-double as the Bears lost in overtime at Maine, 102-96.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Steeves posted her third double-double of the season by connecting on 11-of-15 field goals and 7-of-9 3-pointers, tying for the third-most 3-pointers in a single game in program history. Steeves scored 30 or more points in a game for the third time in her career and hit five or more 3-pointers in a contest for the fourth time in her career.
Trailing 84-68 with 3:54 left, the Bears closed regulation on a 20-4 run to send the game to overtime tied at 88-88 before the host Black Bears (7-2) – winners of three of the last four America East Conference regular season titles – held on for the win in the extra session.
In becoming the 22nd 1,000-point scorer in program history, Steeves joined current teammates - senior guard Shayna Mehta and junior guard Justine Gaziano in the club, giving the Bears three active 1,000-point scorers for the first time in program history. Steeves now ranks 21st in program history with 1,016 career points. It marks just the third time in Ivy League history that a team has three 1,000-point scorers on the court at the same time. Brown stands as one of five programs in the country to currently boast having three or more active 1,000-point scorers, with Marquette (five), Notre Dame (four), Drake (three) and Oregon (three) the others.
Steeves and the Bears (6-6) return to action at Chicago State on Dec. 30.
Mikayla Voigt, Northern Illinois
It was a record-setting week for Northern Illinois senior guard Mikayla Voigt as she shattered two school and Mid-American Conference single-game records last Saturday against Western Illinois.
Voigt scored 52 points and made 11 three-pointers in NIU's 86-61 win over the Leathernecks, breaking the NIU and MAC records for those two statistical categories. The senior was 19-for-25 from the field, 11-for-15 from the three-point line, and 3-for-3 at the foul line. She also had a career-high 11 rebounds for her second straight double-double. Her 52 points and 11 threes are the second-most in a single-game this season in Division I. She's the first Huskie to score over 50 points in a single game, and her 19 made field goals tied the NIU single-game record set by Charmonique Stallworth in 1996.
On Dec. 7 in an 82-73 loss to Southern Illinois, Voigt totaled 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
For the week, Voigt averaged 35.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, three assists, and 2.5 steals per game. She shot 62.5 percent from the floor in NIU's two games at the Compass Challenge.
The Huskies, 5-4, are back in action on Dec. 17 at home game against Eastern Illinois.
Evina Westbrook, Tennessee
Tennessee’s Evina Westbrook averaged 21.5 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per contest as the No. 9 Lady Vols stayed unbeaten at 8-0 with a home win over Stetson and a road victory at No. 12 Texas last week.
For the week, the six-foot sophomore guard connected on 43.3 percent of her field goal attempts (13-30), including four of seven from the three-point arc for 57.1 percent. She also dropped in 13 of 14 free throw attempts for 92.9 percent accuracy, posting 20-point scoring totals in each game. Westbrook also did a remarkable job leading the young Lady Vols, helping the team retain its composure after falling behind by 20 against Stetson in the third quarter and to Texas by 11 in the first stanza.
On Dec. 5 against Stetson, Westbrook was stellar, especially in the second half, in helping Tennessee overcome a poor shooting night by attacking the paint and either drawing a foul or dishing to a teammate for a bucket. Westbrook finished with 20 points, four assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block, including 15 points in the second half against the Hatters. She finished nine of nine from the free throw line, going seven for seven in the third quarter as the Lady Vols went on a 22-0 run to turn a 42-22 deficit into a 44-42 lead. She had 14 points during that period to key the comeback and an eventual 30-point reversal in a 65-55 victory.
In the win over Texas on Dec. 9, Westbrook posted her third straight and fourth overall 20-point effort of the season, firing in 23 points and adding six assists and three boards as the Lady Vols won in Austin, 88-82, in the first matchup between the two schools since Dec. 16, 2012. The triumph was Tennessee’s second straight over the Longhorns and moved the Lady Vols’ overall mark versus Texas to 25-15 after the 40th meeting between those schools. Westbrook scored nine of her points as Tennessee used a 26-12 second quarter to turn a 23-14 deficit into a 40-35 lead at the half. She tallied 12 of her points in the second, including eight in the third quarter as the Lady Vols held off repeated comeback attempts by the Longhorns. Playing all 40 minutes vs. Texas, Westbrook shot 53.5 percent (8-15) from the field, 75.0 percent (3-4) from three-point land and 80 percent (4-5) from the charity stripe.
Tennessee returns to action on Dec. 18 at home against nationally ranked Stanford.