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Rick Nixon | | November 13, 2019

Women's basketball: Tennessee's Rennia Davis leads this week's Starting Five

Women's basketball: Oregon's Kelly Graves discusses his top-ranked Ducks and upcoming season

Each week throughout the season the Starting Five will highlight the top NCAA Division I women’s basketball performances from the previous week:

ESSENTIALS: See who ranks in the updated AP Poll | Scoreboard of all games this week

Rennia Davis, Tennessee 

The Kellie Harper era at Tennessee is off and running as the Lady Vols started the season 3-0 with wins over East Tennessee State (ETSU), Central Arkansas and Notre Dame as junior Rennia Davis led the way.

Davis averaged 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. while shooting 44 percent from the field and 43 percent from the three-point arc for the week. Davis had double-doubles in two of her three contests, upping her career total to 20. That number tied her for 16th all-time at Tennessee.

She posted a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double in the season opener vs. ETSU, won by Tennessee 72-68. Davis also added a pair of assists versus the Buccaneers. She followed that with four points in the Lady Vols’ 63-36 win over Central Arkansas on Nov. 7.

Davis capped her week on national television Monday night, tying her career high in points with 33 on the road against No. 15 Notre Dame, as the Lady Vols won in Purcell Pavilion for the first time since 2008. The Tennessee triumph marked the first loss at home by the Irish outside of UConn over the last 114 contests. The Irish were 110-3 during that span heading into the game.

Against the Fighting Irish, Davis hit 12 of 20 shots, including 5-of-9 from long range, to tie her career best for three pointers made in a game. She also added 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season, plus an assist and a blocked shot.

The 3-0 Lady Vols return to action on Nov. 14 at home against Tennessee State.

Erica Haynes-Overton, East Tennessee State

Erica Haynes-Overton of ETSU averaged 32.0 points during the first week, leading the Bucs to a win over Liberty after a narrow defeat against Tennessee.

The two-time defending SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, Haynes-Overton began her junior campaign by scoring 41 points, pulling down 10 rebounds and adding seven steals in a 72-68 loss against SEC-foe Tennessee in the season opener on Nov. 5 in Johnson City, Tennessee. The 41 points scored are the second-most in program history, trailing only Marsha Cowart’s 52 scored in 1981, and are the most points scored in a game in the NCAA so far this season. It’s also the first time a player has scored 40-plus against the Vols since 2011 and the first 40-plus scoring performance by a SoCon player since Wofford’s Chloe Wanink scored 40 against Western Carolina on Jan. 10, 2019.

On Nov. 8 at Liberty, the native of Nashville, Tennessee, scored a game-high 23 points. She added four rebounds, three steals and two assists, one of which came on the game-winning basket by Shynia Jackson with 1.6 seconds on the clock that propelled ETSU to a 63-62 road win. On her first free throw of the day, Haynes-Overton surpassed 1,000 career points and by the end of the game, sat in 22nd on ETSU’s career scoring list. She also went 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.

For the week, she shot 46.8 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 78.9 percent from the free-throw line.

ETSU (1-1) plays at High Point on Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Bucs lone contest of the week.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oregon earns Team of the Week honors after defeating Team USA

Stella Johnson, Rider

In a week that saw Rider score an impressive road win at Penn State, senior guard Stella Johnson was the standout for the Broncs, leading the way by averaging 23.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.

In the season opening 80-47 loss at Princeton on Nov. 5, Johnson scored 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Johnson also added one steal and one block.

In a 78-70 win over Penn State, Johnson had 25 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. She also made a career-high 14 free throws in the victory over the Nittany Lions. The big night at the free throw line capped an 18-of-22 week, while Johnson also connected on 36 percent of her shots from the field.

Against Penn State she also tied the program record with 254 career steals. With her 25-point performance on Sunday, she moved into fifth-place in Rider history with 1,469 career points.

Rider returns to action on Saturday, November 16, with a home contest against Xavier.

Sara Rhine, Drake

Sara Rhine picked up right where she left off from last season, helping Drake to a 2-0 opening weekend with wins over pair of NCAA Tournament teams, South Dakota State and Iowa State. She averaged 24.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 block and 1.0 steal while shooting a blistering 71.3 percent from the field, 75.0 percent from deep and 81.3 percent from the free throw line in the home victories.

Against the Jackrabbits, Rhine finished with a game-high 25 points and added seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks. She scored eight key points in the final period to help off the 2019 NCAA Sweet 16 squad.

Rhine followed that great performance with another one against the Cyclones in the annual in-state contest. She led all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting to go along with a game-high nine rebounds. Rhine connected on 3-of-4 three-point tries (matching her career-high for makes).

Last season, Rhine averaged 18.3 points per game in leading Drake to a 27-4 record.

Rhine and her teammates play another 2019 NCAA Tournament team in South Dakota on Nov. 13 in Vermillion, S.D.

Nalyssa Smith, Baylor

Totaling a double-double in each of the first two games, NaLyssa Smith averaged 21 points and 13.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 75 percent from the floor as the Baylor Lady Bears opened defense of their 2019 national championship with lopsided wins over New Hampshire and Grambling State.

A preseason All-Big 12 selection, Smith updated her career double-doubles mark to five and accomplished those numbers in just 41 minutes combined. Her per-40 minutes stats averaged an astounding 41.0 points and 26.3 rebounds per game.

FINAL FOUR: 3 women's basketball teams who could make their first Final Four in 2020

In the 97-29 win season-opening win over New Hampshire, sophomores Smith and Queen Egbo, who sat out the two exhibition games, combined for 39 points and 19 rebounds in their first action. Smith recorded her fourth career double-double with 21 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while Egbo had 14 points in 14 minutes.

Baylor cruised to a 120-46 win last Friday over Grambling State as Smith led a program-record eight players in double figures and posted her second-straight double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

The Lady Bears will next host Houston Baptist on Nov. 14.

North Carolina debuts in the Power 10 women's college basketball rankings

North Carolina jumps to No. 4 in Autumn Johnson's Power 10 women's college basketball rankings, just behind the trio of South Carolina, Stanford and UConn

Aliyah Boston's double-double headlines this week's Starting Five in women's basketball

Aliyah Boston collected her 16th straight double-double against a ranked opponent with No. 1 South Carolina's huge 76-71 overtime win over No. 2 Stanford.

UConn earns women's basketball Team of the Week honors after top-10 wins

UConn improved to 3-0 on the season and moved up two spots in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll to No. 3 overall after beating then-No. 3 Texas and 10th-ranked NC State last week.

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