basketball-women-d1 flag | December 18, 2019

Women's basketball: NC State center Elissa Cunane leads this week's starting five

See the top buzzer beaters, daggers and half-court prayers in Week 5 women's basketball top plays

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

Elissa Cunane, NC State

Sophomore Elissa Cunane of the ninth-ranked NC State women's basketball team (10-0) dominated in the Wolfpack's 62-49 victory over the visiting Elon Phoenix on Sunday.

Cunane posted her sixth double-double of the season with a career-high 28 points to go along with 16 rebounds. The center shot 9-of-15 from the floor and tacked on 10 points from the charity stripe in what was her fourth double-double outing in a row. 

Leading the Wolfpack in scoring, Cunane is averaging 16.2 points per game and she has tallied 20 or more points in three of the last four games. She is also the team leader in field goal percentage (.640) and rebounding (11.0).

NC State will play its last non-conference game of the regular season and its final home game of the 2019 calendar year on Thursday, Dec. 19 when it welcomes Chattanooga to Raleigh.

Brittany Davis, Alabama

Alabama’s Brittany Davis exploded for a career-high 23 points off the bench in the Crimson Tide’s 83-77 home victory over previously undefeated North Carolina on Sunday.

Davis led all scorers, combining with teammate Megan Abrams (21 points) for 44 points.  Davis added five rebounds and two assists while shooting an impressive 10-of-12 clip from the floor, including tying her career best after going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

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Davis has scored in double figures over the last three games and is averaging a team-best 15.3 points over those three contests. For the year, Davis leads the team in three-point percentage, shooting 39 percent from the three-point line.

Alabama, 7-3, hosts Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 17, followed by a visit by Radford to Tuscaloosa on Dec. 20.

Ashley Joens, Iowa State

Iowa State sophomore Ashley Joens averaged 33.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in two games on the week as the Cyclones split a pair of games with Iowa and Wright State.

Joens started the week with 26 points and 12 rebounds in a 75-69 loss at home to Iowa on Dec. 11.  She shot 7-19 from the floor, with 12 of her 26 points coming at the free throw line. Of her 12 boards, eight were on the offensive glass, and she added two steals and a block to her stat line.

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On Sunday, Joens dominated Wright State, scoring 41 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. It was her fifth career double-double and fourth of the season. Her 41 points ranks second in school history. Joens was incredible in the fourth quarter, as Wright State pulled within two possessions of the Cyclones, Joens scored 18 final-quarter points to put the game away.

For the week, Joens drew 25 fouls and now leads the nation in free-throw attempts (86) and makes (77). Joens also ranks second in the nation in scoring, averaging 24.4 points per game.

Iowa State, 7-2, is back in action on Sunday, Dec. 22, hosting Northern Iowa.

Jaz Shelley, Oregon

Oregon freshman guard Jaz Shelley upstaged teammate Sabrina Ionescu’s 20th career triple double on Monday, scoring a career-high 32 points while breaking the Oregon record for made three-point field goals with 10 as the Ducks rolled to an 84-41 win over UC Riverside. 

Making her first career start, Shelley went 10-of-16 shooting overall, with all of her made field goals coming from behind the three-point line.  That broke the previous program record of nine made three-pointers in a single game — set by three players, most recently Oregon junior Erin Boley last January.  Ionescu’s triple-double of 16 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists backed Shelley.

On Saturday, Ionescu and Shelley combined for 38 points as Oregon won at Long Beach State, 81-45.  Ionescu erupted for 15 points in the opening quarter and finished with a game-high 21 while adding 12 rebounds and seven assists. Shelley enjoyed a big game off the bench, going 5-of-8 from three-point range for a then season-high 17 points.

Oregon, 9-1, will next host Kansas State on Dec. 21.

Mikayla Williams, San Francisco

San Francisco forward Mikayla Williams' notched her West Coast Conference-leading fourth double-double, with a season-high 29 points and 15 rebounds to help lead San Francisco to a comeback, 87-82, non-conference win over Sacramento State on Saturday.

Williams was clutch in leading the Dons to victory, scoring 10 points in the final five minutes of the game when USF still trailed 75-74. She scored 14 points overall in the fourth quarter alone. On the night, she went 9-for-17 (52.9%) from the field and knocked down 11-of-13 free throws (84.6%). She also added two blocks and two assists.

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The Dons' leader in rebounding at 9.7 per game, Williams is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per outing.  USF has won its last four games with wins over Bowling Green, Houston, Cal State Fullerton and Sacramento State.

USF, 6-4, travels to Seattle this weekend for the Husky Classic at the University of Washington, where it will face the host Huskies and UC Irvine on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

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