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Rick Nixon | | December 9, 2020

Iowa's Caitlin Clark leads this week's starting 5, the top players in women's basketball

Women's basketball rankings: Stanford is the new No. 1 atop the Power 10

Every week,'s Starting Five will highlight the top women's basketball players in the country. Here are the standouts from week two of the 2020-21 season:

Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Caitlin Clark of Iowa women's basketball

Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark was named Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week, averaging 26.5 points, nine assists, four rebounds, and 2.5 steals in the Hawkeyes wins over Drake and Wisconsin.
Clark is the first Big Ten student-athlete to be honored with both awards in a single week since Nebraska’s Jessica Shepard on Jan. 25, 2016. She is the second Hawkeye to win both in the same week — Sam Logic earned both honors twice in 2012 (Feb. 14, Feb. 28).

POWER 10: Stanford is the new No. 1; NC State rises after upset 

In Iowa’s in-state win at Drake, Clark tallied her first career double-double with 30 points, 13 assists, four steals, three rebounds, and a block in the hard-fought 103-97 win. Clark combined with junior Monika Czinano (27 points on 11-13 shooting) and sophomore McKenna Warnock (20 points) for 77 of Iowa’s 103 points. Clark is the only freshman in the nation to put up 30 points and have at least 10 assists in a single game since the 2015-16 season. Clark’s 30 points is the most from a Big Ten freshman since Michigan’s Hallie Thome scored 31 against Minnesota on Jan. 31, 2016. Clark’s 13 assists are the most from a Big Ten Freshman since Maryland’s Destiny Slocum had 13 against Illinois on February 9, 2017.
Against Wisconsin, Clark posted 23 points, five assists, five rebounds, and a steal as Iowa opened Big Ten play with an 85-78 victory. With the win, Iowa’s home winning streak extended to 38 games — the second longest streak in the country.
Clark and the 3-0 Hawkeyes will next host Iowa State on Dec. 9.

Haley Jones, Stanford

Haley Jones of Stanford women's basketball

Stanford vaulted to No. 1 in the latest Associated Press women’s basketball poll, as sophomore guard Haley Jones averaged 27.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game as the Cardinal rolled to wins over UNLV and Washington.
Jones opened the week by scoring 25 points and dishing out a career-high seven assists as Stanford scored a 101-54 victory over UNLV on Dec. 5.  She then followed that up on Sunday with a career-best 29 points and 13 rebounds in an 83-50 win over Washington. Jones went 14-of-15 (.933) from the floor against the Huskies, which is the second-best shooting mark in program history and the best shooting performance from the field at Stanford since 1981 (minimum 10 attempts). Over the two games, Jones connected on 26 of 32 shots from the field (.813 ).

BEST SQUAD: NC State is named's Team of the Week
Both games were played in Las Vegas, with the game against Washington serving as the Pac 12 home opener for the Cardinal after the site was shifted from Palo Alto, California due to Santa Clara County's ban on sporting events and practices for three weeks.
As the nation's top recruit in 2019, Jones had high expectations for her freshman campaign with Stanford, but a right-knee injury 18 games in brought an abrupt end to her debut season. Over the first three games this season she is averaging 23.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
The next game for Stanford is currently uncertain, with a Dec. 8 game with Washington State postponed due to COVID-19 conflicts, and the next two games vs. UC Davis (Dec. 11) and at California (Dec. 13) currently in limbo.

Elisa Pinzan, South Florida

Elisa Pinzan of USF women's basketball

South Florida scored its biggest victory in program history, a thrilling 67-63 overtime win over No. 6 Mississippi State on Dec. 5 as junior point guard Elisa Pinzan logged her first career double-double against the Bulldogs with 14 points and a career high 11 rebounds, while falling just one assist shy of a triple-double. Pinzan also had three steals in just over 40 minutes of play.
A junior from Murano, Italy, Pinzan earlier in the week had dished out six assists in a heartbreaking 67-62 loss to No. 4 Baylor. The Bulls led Baylor for nearly 12 minutes of the first half, before the Lady Bears scored 15 points off 14 turnovers to lead 29-28 at halftime. Baylor opened the second half on a 10-2 run and led by 10 with 4:12 to play in the third quarter before a late Bulls comeback made the game close until the final buzzer.
Pinzan is averaging 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and a league-leading 6.3 assists per game on the year, to go along with 2.0 steals per contest.

South Florida, 2-1, will get back to work on Sunday, Dec. 13 with a home game against instate foe Stetson.

Amber Ramirez, Arkansas

Amber Ramirez of Arkansas women's basketball

Arkansas senior guard Amber Ramirez averaged 17.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game as the 4-1 Razorbacks scored wins over ULM and No. 4 Baylor. Over the two games, Ramirez connected on 53 percent of her shots from the field, and 63 percent of her shots from deep.
Ramirez posted her best game as a Razorback, as her team-high 23 points helped guide the No. 16 Hogs to a 83-78 upset victory over the Baylor Lady Bears. For Arkansas (5-1), it was the first top-five win for the Hogs since 2003 and the first win for the Razorbacks over a defending national champion since 1996, when Arkansas defeated Tennessee.

UPSET: How NC State beat top-seeded South Carolina
Ramirez was lights-out in the second half in Arkansas’ signature win of the season, scoring 16 of her 23 after the intermission. She went five for nine from the field, made five of her six free throws, and pulled down five big defensive rebounds in the second half as well. During the game’s decisive 13-0 third quarter run, Ramirez led the way with six points.
She also scored in double figures against ULM earlier in the week, totaling 11 points in a 103-50 win over the Warhawks. The 53-point win was Arkansas’ largest margin of victory since the Hogs beat Northwestern State last season by 60. It was also Arkansas’ first time over the century mark this season, and the sixth time reaching triple digits in the Neighbors’ era.
Arkansas will next travel to SMU on Dec. 9.

Maddy Siegrist, Villanova

Maddy Siegrist of Villanova women's basketball

BIG EAST Player of the Week the first two weeks of the season, Villanova sophomore forward Maddy Siegrist led the 4-0 Wildcats to road wins at Temple and St. John’s, averaging 21.0 points and 13.5 rebounds per contest.

After tallying 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 90-72 win at Temple on Friday afternoon, Siegrist led the Wildcats to a BIG EAST opening win on Sunday night at St. John's with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Over the two games, Siegrist shot .531 from the field (17-of-32). She also added six assists, three steals and a block.
Currently averaging 23.8 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per contest while shooting .565 from the field (39-of-69), Siegrist has now registered a double-double in all four games this year and has scored 20 or more points in three of the four contests. Among her current national rankings, Siegrist is second in Division I with four double-doubles on the year, 26th in scoring (23.8) and 22nd in rebounding (11.8). For her career, she has posted a double-double in 15 of her 35 collegiate games. 
Villanova will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 9, with a home game versus the La Salle Explorers.

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