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Rick Nixon | | January 20, 2021

Nebraska's Kate Cain leads this week's starting 5, the top players in women's basketball

Women's basketball rankings: Louisville is the new No. 1 team in Week 9's Power 10

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

Kate Cain, Nebraska 

Nebraska's Kate Cain

Kate Cain came close to her second career triple-double by erupting for 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocked shots to power Nebraska to a 63-55 victory over previously unbeaten and then-No. 15 Ohio State on Saturday.

The 6-5 senior center tied her career-high with 22 points while connecting on 10-of-14 shots from the field against the Buckeyes. Cain’s nine blocks tied the second-highest individual total in school history, with her block total only two behind the 11 blocked shots she posted as a freshman against Florida Atlantic when she produced Nebraska's first-ever points-rebounds-blocks triple-double.

The Huskers then dropped a 76-71 decision at home on Tuesday against Minnesota as Cain finished with seven points, eight rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.

Cain currently ranks No. 2 among all active NCAA Division I women's basketball players in career blocks (318). Her total ranks No. 6 in Big Ten history and is Nebraska's school record. She leads the Big Ten in blocks (38) through 12 games this season.

The Huskers, 7-5 overall and 5-4 in Big Ten play will be back in action on Jan. 25 at Illinois.

Haley Cavinder, Fresno State

Fresno State's Haley Cavinder

Haley Cavinder led Fresno State to a sweep of Nevada, averaging 20.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals.

The Mountain West Conference’s top scorer at 20.2 points per game, Cavinder finished with a season-high 30 points, with 23 of those coming during the final 20 minutes, as Fresno State rolled to a 78-70 win over Nevada on Jan. 14. Cavinder sparked Fresno State's offense in the second half, scoring 15 points during the final 7:50 of the third quarter. Her 15 points outscored Nevada during that span, 15-10 which helped Fresno State take a 12-point lead it never surrendered.

Two days later, the sophomore guard again filled up the stat sheet, scoring 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals as the Bulldogs won 75-61. In the first half of the Jan. 16 game, Cavinder scored or assisted on 17 of the Bulldogs’ 39 points.

Fresno State, 6-5 overall and 5-2 in Mountain West play, return to action on Jan. 21 at home versus Boise State.

OFFICIAL: 2021 DI Women’s Basketball Championship planning announced

Mya Hollingshed, Colorado 

Colorado's Mya Hollingshed

Colorado's Mya Hollingshed posted double figures in each of Colorado’s three games last week, including a career-high 32 points as the Buffaloes upset No. 1 Stanford, 77-72 in overtime on Sunday.

Hollingshed, a senior from Houston, Texas, started the week with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 56-52 loss at USC on Jan. 11, then posted 18 points and 9 rebounds in a 75-59 home win over California on Jan. 15.

The Buffaloes then scored the program’s first-ever win over a No. 1 ranked team, as Hollingshed finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season in the upset win over Stanford. The victory was Colorado’s first over Stanford in Pac-12 play and ended a 16-game losing streak to the Cardinal.

Hollingshed continues to lead the Pac-12 (18th NCAA) with her six double-doubles this season. In addition, Hollingshed is shooting 48 percent from the field and averaging 9.7 rebounds.

The Buffaloes, 6-6 overall and 4-5 in Pac-12 play are back in action on Friday when they travel to Arizona State. It will be the first meeting between the Buffs and Sun Devils, after the first scheduled game was postponed in Boulder on Dec. 20.

Ashley Joens, Iowa State

Iowa State's Ashley Joens

Ashley Joens scored 57 points, grabbed 27 rebounds and shot 52.6 percent from the floor as Iowa State moved into first place in the Big 12 Conference with wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor, who were both previously undefeated in conference play.

Joens fueled Saturday’s victory at Baylor, with 14 of her 27 points coming in the fourth quarter, along with six of her 12 rebounds as Iowa State won 75-71. The junior guard/forward shot 10-for-15 from the floor and 7-for-10 from the foul line as Iowa State snapped the Lady Bears’ 61-game home win streak. The double-double was the 24th of her career.

Earlier in the week, Joens had 30 points, 15 rebounds and knocked down three 3-pointers in a 90-80 home win over Oklahoma State.

Iowa State, 10-4 overall and 6-1 in the Big 12 after a Tuesday night win over Oklahoma in which Joens scored 32 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, returns to the court on Jan. 23 at home versus Texas.

POWER RANKINGS: Louisville is the No. 1 team in this week's Power 10 | Latest AP poll 

Jada McMillian, Charlotte 

Charlotte's Jada McMillan

Charlotte junior point guard Jada McMillian averaged 27.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in helping the 49ers extend their win streak to five and remain as one of two Conference USA unbeatens with a pair of wins last week over UAB.

The Raleigh, North Carolina, native connected on 52.6 percent of her field goals and 77.8 percent of her free throws during the sweep over the Blazers.

On Friday, McMillian scored a career-high 31 points on 11-of-18 field goals and 9-of-13 free throws as Charlotte prevailed 78-74 over UAB. She scored the game's final four points, breaking a tie in the last 57.1 seconds, to provide the difference.

Less than 24 hours later on Saturday, McMillian posted her first career double-double with a game-high tying 23 points to go along with a career-best 12 rebounds in the 72-64 triumph. Sixteen of her 26 points came after halftime, as she dropped in 9-of-20 field goals and all five of her free-throw attempts. Nine of her dozen boards came on the defensive glass.

McMillian is currently fifth in the Conference USA scoring race, averaging 17.6 points per game. Her 4.6 assists per game place her third among the league leaders. In conference games only, she is third in scoring (21.3 points per game) and first in assists (4.8 per game). Her 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio is also top among her league peers.

Charlotte, 5-4 overall and 4-0 in Conference USA play will next play a two-game home series against Florida Atlantic, Jan. 22 and 23.

Maine's Adrianna Smith leads this week's women's basketball Starting Five

A pair of 30-point performances earned Maine's Adrianna Smith a spot on this week's women's basketball Starting Five.

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