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Rick Nixon, | February 24, 2021

FGCU's Kierstan Bell headlines this week's starting 5, the top players in women's basketball

Women's basketball rankings: Texas A&M jumps to No. 2 in Week 14 of the 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:

Kierstan Bell, FGCU

FGCU's Kierstan Bell

In a pair of wins over Jacksonville last week, Kierstan Bell of Florida Gulf Coast averaged 39 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 32-for-50 (.640) from the field and 7-for-14 (.500) from 3-point range.

In Saturday's 89-64 victory, Bell scored a career-high 36 points with 12 rebounds, three steals and two blocks while making a single-game program record 15 field goals. Then, on Sunday, she poured in 42 points while adding 15 rebounds and three blocks to break FGCU's single-game scoring record and her own single-game field-goalx record from one day earlier. FGCU prevailed 87-58. Bell did all that in 63 total minutes, and her performance on Sunday came in just 30 minutes of action.

Bell now has three consecutive double-doubles and 14 double-doubles overall this year over 18 games. Her season total is tied for the third-most in a career in program history.

With her 78-point weekend, Bell is now among the top five in the country in scoring, passing Dyaisha Fair of Buffalo for fifth place on Sunday. The Wade Trophy watch list member is now averaging 25.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals per game this year. In Atlantic Sun Conference play, Bell is averaging 26.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game.

Bell's 25.2 PPG overall is on pace to be the fourth-best single-season offensive average in the conference's history. She's also on pace to have the most 3-point field goals made in a single season in ASUN history as she leads the conference in scoring and rebounding.

FGCU, 19-2 overall and 12-0 in ASUN play returns to action on Feb. 27 at home versus North Florida.

Rennia Davis, Tennessee 

Tennessee's Rennia Davis

Tennessee forward Rennia Davis ran her string of 20-plus points games to three straight as the Lady Vols split a pair of games against nationally-ranked South Carolina and Georgia.

Davis averaged 23.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists last week, posting back-to-back 20-point scoring efforts. The 6-foot-2 senior shot 44.8 percent from the field, including 44.4 percent on threes, and was 16 of 18 from the free-throw line for 88.9 percent in the two games.

Davis fired in a game-high 24 points and recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 12 rebounds as the Lady Vols beat the highest-ranked team since 2017 in the 75-67 defeat of the No. 2 Gamecocks. The victory snapped a 31-game Southeastern Conference winning streak by South Carolina. The double-double tied Davis for fourth all-time in school history, with her 36 career efforts matching Glory Johnson. Against South Carolina, Davis fired in all 24 of her points in the second half, going 6 of 8 from the field and 10 of 10 from the charity stripe as Tennessee erased deficits of 16 in the second quarter, 12 at the half and 15 in the third quarter. Davis posted 11 of her points in the final stanza, nearly outscoring the Gamecocks' 13 all by herself.

Against Georgia, Davis again led the Lady Vols charge, knocking down 23 and pulling down six boards in a tightly-contested game won by Georgia 57-55. Ten of her points came in the second half, with eight part of Tennessee’s fourth-quarter comeback that came up just short against perhaps the league's top defensive team.

Davis is now averaging 19.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in SEC play and 20.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game against ranked teams after last week's contests.

The Lady Vols, 13-6 overall and 7-4 in SEC play are back in action on Thursday, as they travel to Missouri to face the Tigers.

LATEST NEWS: Schedule changes, COVID-19 updates for the 2020-21 college basketball season

Vivian Gray, Texas Tech 

Texas Tech's Vivian Gray

Texas Tech senior Vivian Gray had a career night in the Lady Raiders' overtime victory over Kansas on Saturday, scoring a career-high 38 points to go along with 10 rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

Gray had 21 points in the second half and five points in the overtime period to push Texas Tech to victory. Gray's 38-point double-double was the most points a player has had in a double-double in Big 12 Conference play this season. She is only the second player in the nation this season to record a game of 30-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, three-plus blocks and three-plus steals.

Gray's 38 points are tied for the third-most in a game by a Big 12 player this season. Gray's effort in the win helped the Lady Raiders to their second overtime win of the year and clinched the team's first Big 12 sweep of the season.

It marked Gray's eighth double-double of the year and her 11th 20-point game. The senior ranks top-10 in the Big 12 in scoring (19.7 points per game), rebounding (8.5 per game), field goal percentage (43.2) and blocks (37).

Gray and the Lady Raiders, 10-12 overall and 5-11 in Big 12 play will be back in action this week when they travel to Kansas State on Feb. 24.

Maddy Siegrist, Villanova 

Villanova's Maddy Siegrist

Villanova went 2-1 for the week as sophomore forward Maddy Siegrist averaged 24.3 points per game and 11.0 rebounds per contest while shooting .457 from the field (27-of-59).

On Feb. 16 in a 98-74 home win over Butler, Siegrist scored 24 points in 29 minutes of play. Playing their first game in two weeks, the Wildcats made 16 first-half three-point field goals and scored 67 points in the first half.

Villanova dropped a 65-57 decision at Marquette on Feb. 19 despite 18 points and 11 rebounds from Siegrist.

Her best effort of the week came in a 64-56 win at Georgetown on Sunday, Feb. 21, when she played all 40 minutes and tallied 31 points and 16 rebounds.

After 17 games this year, Siegrist is averaging 23.0 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per contest which leads the Big East Conference in both categories. Siegrist and the Wildcats, 13-4 overall and 8-4 in Big East play return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 24, when Villanova travels to Providence.

Women's basketball rankings: Texas A&M jumps to No. 2 in Week 14 of the Power 10

Desi-Rae Young, UNLV

UNLV's Desi-Rae Young

Freshman center Desi-Rae Young led UNLV to a road sweep at San Diego State that increased the Lady Rebels' road win streak to seven games, which is tied for the seventh-longest in the nation.

Young averaged a double-double for the week with 16 points and 10.5 rebounds in the road sweep.

In the first game, an 80-65 victory on Feb. 15, Young scored 12 points and posted nine rebounds in just 22 minutes of action. She went 4-of-6 from the floor and 4-of-6 at the line in the 15-point game one victory.

In UNLV's 73-71 victory on Feb. 16, the Lady Rebels entered the fourth quarter down 57-49 when Young scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, and after a UNLV trey, added two more points to cap off a 9-0 spurt to give UNLV the lead back. The Lady Rebels would not trail again in the game. She tied her career-high with 20 points in the victory while picking up her fourth double-double of the year with 12 rebounds.

Young currently paces all Mountain West Conference freshmen in both points (12.0) and rebounds (6.5) per game.

UNLV, 13-8 overall and 11-5 in MWC play closes out the regular season this week with two more road games at Fresno State on Feb. 25 and 27.

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