The 2021-22 season is underway and a number of individuals had a sterling first week of the season, through games played Monday, November 15.
Here are five of the top standouts:
Kierstan Bell, FGCU
FGCU junior guard Kierstan Bell did it all as the Eagles opened the season with three wins that included a home win against Temple and a road win over Southeastern Conference foe LSU. Bell averaged 26.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks to lead the way.
After starting the season with 22 points and nine rebounds in a 105-41 win over Florida Memorial, Bell dropped 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Temple in a 70-53 home victory. Saving her best performance for last, Bell tallied 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting, including 5-for-8 from three against LSU on Sunday. She also grabbed 10 rebounds against the Tigers for her first double-double of the season, the 17th of her career.
The Eagles, 3-0, will return to the court this weekend for the ASUN/MAAC challenge in Orlando. They will take on Manhattan on Friday, Nov. 19 before battling with Fairfield on Saturday.
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Lucy Cochrane, Portland
Portland sophomore forward Lucy Cochrane averaged 11.0 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots per game as the Pilots had a dominant week as a team, winning both of their games against UC San Diego, 91-48, their largest margin of victory in a game since 1996, and over Weber State, 67-46.
The Australia native shined in both outings for Portland. Against UCSD, Cochrane nearly had a double-double with nine points, 12 boards and two blocks. She eventually earned that double-double against the Wildcats, with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. The four blocks were the most by a Pilot since 2018, when Sara Zaragoza posted the same number. Zaragoza was the last Pilot to have more than four blocks in a game, earning six back in 2014.
Through two games, Cochrane is averaging 11 points per game on 55.6% shooting along with 12 rebounds and three blocks per contest.
The 2-0 Pilots are back in action Nov. 16 against the defending national champion Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto, California.
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Mackenzie Holmes, Indiana
For the first time in program history, Indiana has moved into the top five in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 4, as junior forward Mackenzie Holmes helped the Hoosiers to a 2-0 start with wins at Butler and over No. 13 Kentucky.
During the two-game stretch, Holmes shot 64.0 percent from the field and averaged 20.0 points per game. She also shot 66.7 percent from the arc (2-for-3) and went a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line.
In the season opener against the Bulldogs, the Gorham, Maine native shot 50 percent from the floor to score 11 points and added eight rebounds, two steals and a block as Indiana prevailed 86-63. She hit her first career 3-pointer in the game and didn't commit a single foul in 25 minutes of action.
In Sunday’s 88-67 win over Kentucky, Holmes went an impressive 11-for-15 from the floor for a new career-high 29 points. She hit a 3-pointer and went 6-for-6 at the free throw line while pulling down seven rebounds, picking up two steals and adding a block.
Indiana will host Norfolk State on Nov. 16, followed by a road game at Quinnipiac on Nov. 20.
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Ayoka Lee, Kansas State
Kansas State center Ayoka Lee had an opening week to remember, averaging 29.3 points on 73.1 percent shooting, 11.0 rebounds, with 10 steals and 14 blocks in just 25.8 minutes per game as the Wildcats won four straight games.
The 6-6 junior from Byron, Minnesota, set the school record for points in a game with 43 as the Wildcats’ rolled to a season-opening 103-40 decision over Central Arkansas. Lee, named to the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy Watch Lists earlier in the day, ended the night shooting 17-of-25 from the field to go along with a 9-of-12 effort from the free throw line. She also hauled in nine rebounds, blocked four shots and tied her career-high with three steals. The previous Kansas State record for points in a game was 42 by Brittany Chambers on March 21, 2013. Lee is just the third player in school history to surpass the 40-point mark in a game.
Kansas State then scored a 44-30 win over UT Martin on Nov. 12, followed by a 76-44 Preseason WNIT home win over Western Kentucky that was highlighted by Lee’s 33 points on 14-of-17 shooting and 13 rebounds. For Lee it was her first double-double of the 2021-22 season and 30th of her career. Lee also pocketed a career-high four steals. With the 33 points, Lee set the school record for points in a Preseason WNIT game, while also surpassing the 1,000-career point mark for her career.
On Monday, Nov. 15, Lee was again the difference with 31 points and 13 rebounds as the Wildcats rolled to a 73-49 win over North Carolina A&T.
Kansas State will next travel to NC State on Nov. 19.
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Khayla Pointer, LSU
Guard Khayla Pointer opened the season by becoming just the third player in LSU history to record a triple-double and then added a double-double for good measure later in the week.
The Marietta, Georgia, native became just the third player in program history, joining Katherine Graham (2010) and Cornelia Gayden (twice in the 1994-95 season), to notch a triple-double when she did so in the season opener against Nicholls. Pointer went for 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, leading the Tigers to an 82-40 victory. Pointer is also one of just three active players in the SEC to have a triple-double in their career along with South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston and Tennessee’s Tamari Key.
Pointer followed up her triple-double performance with a double-double in the second game of the season against FGCU. She played all 40 minutes and finished the game with 23 points and 10 rebounds, adding 5 assists in the 88-74 home loss to the Eagles. Sunday’s double-double was the sixth of Pointer’s career.
LSU, 1-1, will next hit the road for a Nov. 18 game at Louisiana-Lafayette.