With the opening week of DII basketball in the books, we're bringing back the starting five.
In case you're not familiar, this is our bi-weekly team of the week, crafted to highlight some of the top individual performances throughout DII. Teams are chosen using statistics as well as milestones and moments from throughout the week. Without any other delays, let's get into the first DII women's basketball starting five of the 2020-21 season.
Note: All games played through Monday, Nov. 23, were taken into account.
Camille Evans — Missouri Western, guard
Evans and the Griffons faced an 18-point deficit in her first college basketball game. But Missouri Western's freshman guard embraced that challenge, scoring 17 of her 18 points in the second half — including the game-winning layup with 5 seconds remaining — to beat Rogers State 83-81. Evans did much more than just score in her debut. The freshman finished with a double-double after pulling down 10 boards and dishing out six assists. How's that for a first impression?
Zaria Collins —Northeastern State, guard
Northeastern State only won three MIAA games last year. They've already got two league wins this season and Collins has undeniably had a hand in both. Her role with the RiverHawks grew exponentially as she's been on the floor for all but 2 minutes of their first two games. After averaging 5.5 points in 18.5 minutes per game, she's scored 22 and 19 in wins over Northwest Missouri and Missouri Western. Collins' early-season emergence is definitely something to watch.
Jaelyn Haggard — Northwest Missouri State, guard
After the Bearcats dropped their opener, Northwest Missouri State found itself in a close game with Rogers State before Haggard took over in the fourth quarter. She scored 13 of her 28 points in the final period, burying three 3-point shots and icing the game with four free throws down the stretch as NWMSU won 70-62. The senior guard also scored her 1,000th career point in the win.
Marissa Bruce — Catawba, guard
Bruce had quite the start to her season for the Indians. After scoring 31 points as a junior, Bruce kicked off her senior year with a 21-point showing off the bench in Catawba's 77-63 win over Anderson. Bruce scored seven points in the first quarter alone, helping Catawba open the game up early on. She demonstrated an ability to score at all levels, including a perfect shooting night beyond the arc and at the free-throw line.
Kelsey Johnson — Central Oklahoma, forward
In Johnson's first weekend of her senior year with the Bronchos, she's recorded her two highest-scoring games at Central Oklahoma. Johnson kicked off the season with a 30-point, 11-rebound outburst against Missouri Southern, and the Bronchos needed every last one of those points in a 75-74 win. She followed that performance up with another double-double, this time a 26-point, 13-rebound showing in a 30-point win over Pittsburg State. If this is only Week 1, we could see Johnson's name here a few more times throughout the season.