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Rick Nixon, | November 27, 2019

Women's basketball: Indiana's Grace Berger leads this week's Starting Five

Oregon State's half-court heave leads women's basketball plays of the week

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

Grace Berger, Indiana

Off to a 4-0 start to the season, nationally ranked Indiana passed its first big test of the season, scoring a 73-49 road win over the Florida Gators as sophomore guard Grace Berger scored 23 points and added a career-high five steals along with three rebounds.

The Louisville, Ky. native went 10-for-15 from the field in Gainesville in helping the Hoosiers improve to 4-0 for the second-straight season.  Berger had nine points in the fourth quarter as Indiana pulled away for the win.

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

Through the first four games this season, Berger leads the Hoosiers with an average of 17.5 points per game, connecting on 27 of 43 shots from the field (62.8 percent).  Her scoring and field goal percentage currently ranks third in the Big Ten Conference. Indiana, which has risen to No. 17 in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll, will travel to the 2019 Paradise Jam this week. The Hoosiers will open play on Thanksgiving night when they face No. 5 South Carolina, followed by games with No. 2 Baylor (Nov. 29) and Washington State (Nov. 30).

Jaelyn Brown, California

Jaelyn Brown averaged 24.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in a pair of California victories last weekend, highlighted by a 30-point, 12-rebound effort in Sunday's win over the No. 20 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks.

Brown opened the week with a then season-high 18 points in Cal's 74-48 victory at San Diego State on Nov. 21, going 8-for-13 from the floor. The senior matched her then career-best with nine rebounds and dished out a career-high five assists in just 27 minutes of action, helping the Golden Bears to their first road win of the year.

The versatile Brown took that momentum into Sunday's matchup against Arkansas, dominating on both ends of the floor as the Bears picked up their first Top-25 win of the season. The 6-1 guard/forward surpassed her season-high with 19 points at the half and had an eye-popping 15 points in the second quarter alone.  Brown continued her barrage in the second half, going a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and grabbing six more offensive rebounds. Brown went 4-for-5 from three-point range on the afternoon – matching her career-best – and single-handedly outrebounded the entire Arkansas team on the offensive glass, finishing with a game-high 10 offensive rebounds,  the most by any Pac-12 player in a game this season. Brown added two blocked shots on the day as she recorded her first collegiate double-double.  Brown's outing marked just the fourth time in the last 20 years that a Cal player has posted 30-plus points and 12-plus rebounds against a top-25 opponent.

Cal's leading scorer this season at 14.4 points per game, Brown is shooting 50 percent (9-18) from beyond the arc and is tied for the team lead in rebounding at 8.0 rebounds per game.

The Golden Bears (3-2) return to action on Nov. 29, hosting North Carolina Central in the first round of the Cal Classic.

Haley Gorecki, Duke

Duke’s Haley Gorecki had the hot hand last week for the Blue Devils, averaging 26.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocked shots as Duke scored much-needed wins over Troy and Idaho State in Cameron Indoor Stadium to improve to 4-2 on the season.

Gorecki opened the week on Nov. 21 with a career-high 30 points to go along with four assists, four rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot in a 85-66 victory over Idaho State. It marked her 16th career contest with scoring 20 or more points, including the first time this year.

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Gorecki and sophomore Miela Goodchild then combined to score 49 points as the Blue Devils downed Troy, 99-85 on Sunday afternoon.Gorecki collected her 11th career double-double with 23 points and a season-high 13 rebounds, while Goodchild scored 23 of her 26 points in the second stanza to pace the Blue Devils.  Gorecki added five assists, three steals and two blocked shots, while hitting 10-of-10 from the free throw line.

The outing against Troy capped a week that saw Gorecki hit 23-of-25 free throws for a 92.0 percentage, while draining 50.0 percent from the field.

On the season, Gorecki is averaging 18.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.2 blocked shot.  Gorecki currently ranks in the top 20 of the ACC statistics in points (4), rebounding (T18), assists (T11), free throw percentage (5) and blocked shots (15).  

Duke will next host Davidson on Nov. 27

Ashley Joens, Iowa State

Big 12 Conference scoring leader Ashley Joens of Iowa State had the biggest week of her career, totaling 56 points and 34 rebounds in wins over Texas Southern and North Dakota State.

In the Nov. 19, 79-59 home win over Texas Southern, Joens' night was nothing short of historic as she completed the first 30-20 game in Iowa State women's basketball history.  In doing so, she became just the fourth Big 12 player to complete a 30-20 game since 1999-00, joining Brittney Griner (Baylor), Courtney Paris (Oklahoma) and Danielle Crockrom (Baylor).  Joens' 20 rebounds are tied for the third-most in a single game in program history, and her 16 made free throws tied the single-game program mark, set by Angie Welle (vs. Nebraska in 2002).  Trailing 12-11, Joens went to work and flipped the script, hitting consecutive triples to open the second quarter. Joens tallied 11 points in the period after being held scoreless in the first, and also had 10 boards to secure her third career double-double before halftime.

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Joens then led the Cyclones to their first road win of the season, 86-58 at North Dakota State on Nov. 22. Joens tallied 26 points and 14 boards against the Bison, for her fourth career double-double and second straight. The sophomore guard/forward pulled down four offensive rebounds and knocked down 8-of-9 at the free throw line.

Currently the Big 12 scoring leader at 24.3 points, Joens ranks third nationally.  She is also third in the Big 12 with 12.3 rebounds per game, which ranks 10th in the nation.

Joens and the Cyclones (3-1) are back in action on Friday, Nov. 29 at home versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Chante Stonewall, DePaul

Senior forward Chante Stonewall was named the Maggie Dixon Classic Most Outstanding Player in helping to lead the Blue Demons to wins last week over Arkansas State and No. 16 Miami.

Stonewall capped a Classic that saw her average 20 points, 5.5 rebounds, four steals and 2.5 assists per game, with 27 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in an 89-83 victory over then-No. 16 Miami on Saturday. Stonewall and fellow senior co-captain Kelly Campbell seemingly made every big play when the Blue Demons needed them the most in the win over Miami. Campbell chipped in 11 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.

In the Classic opener on Friday, Stonewall came through with 13 points, five steals and four rebounds in just 15 minutes of playing time during a 109-64 triumph over Arkansas State.

Stonewall leads the Blue Demons, averaging 19.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and nearly four steals a game on the season. She is also tops in blocked shots with four.

DePaul, 4-1, next takes on Milwaukee on Nov. 26.

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