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Rick Nixon | NCAA.com | February 10, 2021

UConn's Paige Bueckers headlines this week's starting five in women's basketball

Women's basketball rankings: South Carolina is back at No. 1 in the Power 10

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

Shakira Austin, Ole Miss

Ole Miss Athletics Shakira Austin

Shakira Austin finished with her 20th career double-double and fifth in an Ole Miss uniform, totaling 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 12 rebounds as the Rebels upset No. 14 ranked Kentucky, 70-62 last Thursday.

Against Kentucky, Austin was extraordinary in the first half, scoring 17 points and nabbing seven boards as the Rebels took command of the game. Her 21-point, 12-rebound double-double marked the first time an Ole Miss player has posted consecutive double-double’s since Shandricka Sessom did so in December 2015. Her performance against Kentucky was her 13th double-digit scoring game in 14 tries this season, as well as her sixth 20-point game in 2020-21.

The win over Kentucky was the first home ranked win for Ole Miss since beating No. 25 Oregon on Dec. 14, 2016 (83-67).

A junior transfer from Maryland, Austin is averaging 17.1 points (6th SEC), 8.1 rebounds (11th SEC), 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks (6th SEC) while shooting 53.7 percent overall (3rd SEC, 33rd NCAA).

Ole Miss (8-7, 2-7 SEC) will next play at Alabama on Feb. 11.

Paige Bueckers, UConn

David Butler II | USA Today Sports Images UConn's Paige Bueckers

UConn freshman sensation Paige Bueckers reached the 30-point mark in three wins for the soon-to-be top-ranked Huskies over the last week.

Bueckers tallied 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting in Wednesday's win against St. John's, scored a game-high 32 in Friday's win at Marquette and then added an exclamation point on Monday, scoring 31 points, including her team's final 13, to lead the No. 2 Huskies to a 63-59 overtime victory Monday over top-ranked South Carolina. Bueckers scored all of the Huskies' nine points in overtime, including a 3-pointer with just over 10 seconds left that bounced high off the back of the rim and then fell through to give UConn its four-point winning margin.

INSTANT CLASSIC: How No. 2 UConn took down No. 2 South Carolina in overtime 

Bueckers was 39-of-64 from the field to tally a .609 shooting clip for the week, including a 12-of-21 (.571) mark from three.

Over the first 15 games of the season, Bueckers leads the Huskies with 21.1 points per game, 5.6 assists per game and 36 steals. She also leads the nation with a 56.9 three-point field goal percentage. Bueckers is averaging 21.4 points against ranked teams this season.

UConn, 14-1 overall and 11-0 in Big East Conference play, will return to action on Feb. 10 at home versus Seton Hall.

Mackenzie DeWees, Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac Athletics Quinnipiac's Mackenzie DeWees

Quinnipiac junior guard Mackenzie DeWees averaged 15 points, six rebounds and four steals in the two-game sweep last week over Monmouth.

In Saturday's 68-54 win, DeWees led the offensive charge for the Bobcats, matching her career-high in points with 20, while pulling down five rebounds and tallying five steals. She also was very efficient shooting the ball, hitting eight of her 10 attempts from the floor.

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On Sunday, DeWees took control on the glass, grabbing seven rebounds. She also added 10 points and grabbed three steals in the 53-38 victory.

DeWees is among the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference leaders in many statistical categories. She's averaging 12.4 points per game, which is the eighth-best mark in the conference, she is sixth in the league in rebounding with 7.6 per game and fifth in the conference in steals with 2.4 per contest.

Quinnipiac, 9-5 overall and 7-3 in MAAC play, will next host Fairfield for a pair of games, Feb. 12-13.

Dana Evans, Louisville

Louisville Athletics Louisville's Dana Evans

Louisville senior guard Dana Evans averaged 26.3 points, 3.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game over a three-game week for the third-ranked Cardinals.

Evans led all players with 29 points, tying her career-high, in a 74-60 loss against No. 4 NC State on Monday.

The Wooden Award Late Season Watch List selection scored a game-high 23 points with five assists and four rebounds in a 97-68 win at Boston College on Thursday. Evans closed out the week with 27 points against Notre Dame on Sunday, leading the Cardinals to a 71-65 victory. She scored the final five points versus the Fighting Irish, highlighted by a deep three with 56.7 seconds remaining, to close the door on a late 7-0 Irish run.

DON'T MISS: 2021 Midseason Team for Naismith Women's Player of the Year announced

Evans finished the week with 79 points over three games, including 12 3-point field goals and was 13-for-14 from the free-throw line. Evans saw her streak of 43 consecutive made free throws end on Sunday.

The Preseason Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, Evans leads the conference in scoring with 20.6 points per game. Additionally, Evans has tallied 14 20-point games this year, double the total of the next-closest player.

Louisville, 18-1 overall and 11-1 in ACC play will next play Georgia Tech at home on Feb. 11.

Maddi Utti, Fresno State

Fresno State Athletics Fresno State's Maddi Utti

Fresno State's Maddi Utti averaged 16.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 block per game as the Bulldogs scored a pair of Mountain West Conference road wins over Utah State.

The defending Mountain West Player of the Year, Utti scored 16 points in each contest, shooting a team-high 60.9 percent from the field (14-of-23). She recorded her second- and fourth-highest single-game field goal percentages this year (63.6%, 58.3%). 

Utti's distribution was an asset in the Bulldogs' ball movement as they recorded 51 assists over the two games. The 5-foot-11 forward had five assists, which was one assist shy of tying her career-high in the first game and then set a new career-high in the second game with seven. The seven assists were the most by any post player in the conference in a single game this season.

Fresno State defeated Utah State 90-62 on Feb. 4 and 93-85 on Feb. 6.  The second game saw Utti help get the Bulldogs off to a fast start as she scored or assisted on 15 of the team's first 20 points as Fresno State scored on their first nine possessions. Fresno State went on to record its third 90-point game in a row, becoming the first team in program history to post three straight games of 90 points or more.

Next up for the Bulldogs, 11-6 overall and 8-3 in Mountain West play, will be two home games versus Air Force on Feb. 10-11.

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