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Rick Nixon | | February 3, 2021

West Virginia's Kysre Gondrezick leads this week's starting 5, the top players in women's basketball

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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:

Monika Czinano, Iowa

Iowa Athletics Iowa's Monika Czinano

In a pair of games against Northwestern and Minnesota, Iowa’s Monika Czinano continued her hot shooting from the floor, connecting on 28 of her 33 shots (.848) while averaging 28.5 points and eight rebounds per game.

In an 87-80 loss to Northwestern on Jan. 28, Czinano made 15-consecutive baskets — believed to be a Big Ten single-game record. Czinano made her final three shots in Iowa’s previous game against Purdue (Jan. 18), making her streak 18-consecutive makes — another Big Ten record. Czinano went 17-for-19 from the field against Northwestern and recorded her second double-double of this season with a  career-high 34 points and 11 rebounds.

Czinano followed that up with 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting as Iowa returned to the win column with a 94-68 victory at Minnesota on Jan. 31. 

Czinano is currently ranked first in the country in field goal percentage (70.1), outshooting the next best by nearly six percent. Ranked second is UConn’s Olivia Nelson-Ododa (64.2) and sitting in third is Michigan’s Naz Hillmon (63.6).

The Hawkeyes, 10-4 overall and 6-4 in Big Ten Conference play, will next play at Ohio State on Feb. 4.

Kysre Gondrezick, West Virginia

West Virginia Athletics West Virginia's Kysre Gondrezick

West Virginia redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick averaged 27.0 points per game in a pair of wins at Texas Tech and TCU.

Gondrezick started the week by scoring a team-high 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and distributed four assists in a 73-53 win at Texas Tech.

She then notched a career-best 30 points at TCU on Jan. 30, while dishing out nine assists, grabbing five rebounds and collecting four steals as West Virginia won its eighth consecutive game, 79-70 over the Horned Frogs. Gondrezick became the first player since Teana Muldrow vs. St. John's (33) in 2018 to score 30-or-more points in a game.

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On the week, Gondrezick shot 41.7% (15-of-36) from the field and 54.5% (6-of-11) from 3-point range.  

The Benton Harbor, Michigan, native currently leads the Mountaineers in scoring this season, averaging 21.4 points per game. Gondrezick has 13 double-figure scoring performances this season, including 10 games of 20 points or more. For her West Virginia career, she has 36 double-figure scoring performances, including 20 games with 20 points or more.

West Virginia, 13-2 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12 Conference, will return to action on Feb. 3 at home versus Iowa State.

Anastasia Hayes, Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee Athletics Middle Tennessee's Anastasia Hayes

Middle Tennessee’s Anastasia Hayes, the nation’s leading scorer, averaged 38.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and four steals in a two-game sweep of UAB.

Hayes had one of the best performances in Conference USA and program history last Thursday with 42 points in Middle Tennessee’s 81-78 OT win at UAB. The 42 points are sixth-most in C-USA history for a league game and seventh-most in Lady Raider history. It was the third-most points ever scored by a Lady Raider in a road contest and the most since Alysha Clark scored 48 vs. Little Rock, March 9, 2010.

The 42 points are also fifth-most in a Division I women’s basketball game this season. Hayes dominated the game scoring 21 consecutive points from the 4:55 mark of the third quarter to the 5:08 mark of the fourth. She went 6-of-8 from 3-point range, setting a career-high for 3-pointers. She also tied her career-high with six steals while also dishing out four assists and collecting three rebounds.

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Hayes followed the Thursday performance with another dynamic outing Saturday with 35 points, eight rebounds, six assists, no turnovers and two steals in 34 minutes as Middle Tennessee rolled over UAB, 95-68.

For the week, Hayes was 8-of-12 from 3-point range in the two games for a 67 percent shooting clip. Hayes has scored 20-plus points in 19 straight games — the longest such streak in the nation.

Middle Tennessee, 11-4 overall and 9-2 in C-USA play, next travels to Charlotte for a pair of games on Feb. 5-6.

Tamari Key, Tennessee

Tennessee Athletics Tennessee's Tamari Key

Tennessee’s Tamari Key turned in only the fourth triple-double in the history of the program last week, as the Lady Vols went 2-0 and improved to 12-3 overall and held tight to third place in the Southeastern Conference standings with a 6-1 mark in league play.

Key, who entered the week averaging 8.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest, averaged 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.0 blocks per game in wins over Ole Miss and Florida and shot 68.4 percent from the field.

Tennessee started the week with a hard-fought 68-67 home win over upset-minded Ole Miss on Jan. 28 as Key had seven points on 3-of-7 shooting and chipped in five rebounds and two blocked shots over 26 minutes.

The bulk of Key’s work came vs. Florida on Jan. 31, when she dropped a 23-point, 10-rebound and 10-block triple-double on the Gators, shooting 83.3 percent (10 of 12) from the floor. The sophomore tallied nine points, five boards and four blocks in the fourth period alone as Tennessee broke open a four-point game with a 21-11 final-period burst to win by 14, 79-65.

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Key posted career bests in points, field goals, rebounds and blocks in the game. Her blocks total bested her previous career-high of nine and was the second-most ever by a Lady Vol behind Kelley Cain’s 12 vs. LSU in 2010 and is tied for third in SEC women’s basketball history.

The triple-double was the first by a Lady Vol that involved blocks and the second by a sophomore, with Key tallying hers in the 15th game of her sophomore season while Shekinna Stricklen did so in game 14 of her sophomore campaign.

Tennessee will next play at Mississippi State on Feb. 4.

Ioanna Krimili, San Francisco

San Francisco Athletics San Francisco's Ioanna Krimili

San Francisco freshman guard Ioanna Krimili was the driving force behind the Dons 3-0 week which included a sweep over Pepperdine and an 18-point road win over Loyola Marymount, averaging 25.3 points per game. 

Krimili shot 60.5 percent from the field going 26-for-43 and was even better from beyond the arc, connecting on 63.6 percent of her attempts (21-for-33).

In every game last week her numbers got better. She opened the week scoring 23 against the Waves at home shooting 53.6 percent from the field, she followed that up with 24 points in the win over Pepperdine in Malibu where she shot 58.3 percent from the field.

Against Loyola Marymount, she finished with 29 points and shot 66.7 percent from the field while making a USF single-game record nine 3-point field goals.

A native of Heraklion, Greece, Krimili is averaging 18.4 points per game which ranks 61st in the nation and second in the West Coast Conference.  She is second in the nation in 3-point field goals attempted (131), and 3-point field goals made (58).  She ranks sixth in the nation in 3-point field goals per game averaging 3.41 per contest and is 30th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 44.3 percent.

The Dons, 9-8 overall and 5-6 in West Coast Conference play, return to action on Feb. 4 when they host cross-bay rival Saint Mary's.

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