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Rick Nixon | | December 2, 2021

Michigan's Naz Hillmon, DePaul's Aneesah Morrow headline women's basketball Starting Five

Michigan star Naz Hillmon is looking to take the Wolverines to 'a different level'

Week three of the season presented a number of standout performances. Here are five of the best through games played Monday, November 29.

Aja Blount, Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina Athletics Aja Blount of Coastal Carolina women's basketball

Coastal Carolina senior Aja Blount scored 26 points and pulled down 24 rebounds as the Chanticleers went 2-0 on the week to improve to 6-0 on the season after wins over UNC Greensboro and East Tennessee State.

Blount totaled 10 points and seven rebounds against UNC Greensboro in a 53-41 home win on Nov. 26. She followed that up with her second double-double of the year with 16 points and 17 rebounds against East Tennessee State on Sunday in a 55-41 victory. Blount's rebounding total put her at 506 rebounds for her career. Earlier this season the 5-11 power forward became the 18th player in Coastal Carolina history to reach 1,000 points.

Blount ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference in points per game (19.2) and rebounds per game (9.3).

Coastal Carolina is off to the school’s best start since the 2007-08 campaign when it opened the season 7-0. The Chanticleers will return to action with a Dec. 4 home game against Wofford.

LATEST RANKINGS: Power 10 | AP Top 25

Shaylee Gonzales, BYU

Shaylee Gonzales and the BYU Cougars break into AP Top 25

BYU guard Shaylee Gonzales led the Cougars to a 3-0 week, including two wins over ranked teams to win the St. Pete Showcase.

Gonzales averaged 22.7 points over the three-game span to pace the Cougars and stay undefeated at 7-0 and spurred a move to No. 21 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll. The Gilbert, Arizona, product also posted 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.7 assists while shooting 53.8 percent from the field.

After scoring 24 points as part of a 101-point team effort against Utah State, Gonzales scored another 24 against No. 17 Florida State to push the Cougars to a 61-54 win in the opening game of the St. Pete Showcase. Gonzales also led a swarming defense with five steals on a night where BYU picked up 14 as a team and forced 25 turnovers to knock off the Seminoles.

A preseason All-West Coast Conference selection, Gonzales went on to score 20, including hitting the game-winning free throws to beat No. 22 West Virginia 58-57 on Saturday and win the St. Pete Showcase. She was named MVP of the tournament for her performance.

Gonzales leads BYU in scoring at 18.9 points per game. She is shooting 47.1 percent from the field on the year and 84.8 from the free throw line while grabbing 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals.

BYU next plays in-state rival Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 4.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: South Florida earns weekly honor after two huge wins

Naz Hillmon, Michigan

Michigan Athletics Naz Hillmon of Michigan women's basketball

Michigan senior forward Naz Hillmon strung together three double-doubles as Michigan scored wins over Oakland, No. 16 Oregon State and Mississippi State.

In Michigan's 69-58 home win over Oakland on Nov. 22, Hillmon went for 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting with 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action. Of Hillmon's 25 points, 12 of them came in the final seven minutes of the contest as the Wolverines held on for the win.

She followed that up with a 20-point, 13-rebound, four-steal performance in a 61-52 victory over No. 16 Oregon State on Nov. 26 at the Daytona Beach Invitational. Hillmon had four points as Michigan used an 11-2 run to open the fourth quarter to break a 40-40 tie and pull away for the victory.

MVP of the Daytona Invitational, Hillmon capped the week with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double against Mississippi State on Nov. 27 as the Wolverines rolled 64-48. With the victory, Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico won her 200th game at the school. Now 200-103 at Michigan, Barnes Arico has won 470 games in her coaching career.

Hillmon has now posted 40 career 20-point games at Michigan during her distinguished career, while the three double-doubles this week pushed her into second place all-time with 38. This week she also became the third member of Michigan’s 1,600-point and 800-rebound club.

No. 12 in the latest Associated Press poll, Michigan, 7-0, will next put their undefeated season on the line with a road game at No. 10 Louisville on Dec. 2.

Aneesah Morrow, DePaul

DePaul Athletics Aneesah Morror of DePaul women's basketball

DePaul freshman Aneesah Morrow has made an immediate impression, earning the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week award in each of the first three weeks of the season.

At the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands over Thanksgiving weekend, Morrow averaged 20 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals as DePaul went 2-1 with wins over Rutgers (77-74) and Vanderbilt (91-74), sandwiched around a loss to Arizona, 75-68.

Top performances for the 6-1 center came against Arizona where she totaled 24 points, pulled down 16 rebounds, had five steals and three blocked shots as DePaul lost to the nationally-ranked Wildcats. Less than 24 hours later, Morrow finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and five steals is the win over Vanderbilt in which DePaul trailed 26-9 late in the first quarter. In her last two games, Morrow is averaging 26 points, 15.5 rebounds and five steals.

Morrow currently leads the Big East with three double-doubles on the year and is tied for first with three 20-point games. She also leads the conference in blocks, rebounds and steals (tied with teammate Lexi Held). Nationally, Morrow is No. 6 in the nation in blocked shots, No. 12 in rebounds, No. 13 in free throw attempts, No. 17 in steals, No. 22 in double-doubles and No. 23 in scoring.

DePaul, 5-2, will now focus on their Big East opener taking place this Friday, Dec. 3 against Butler at Wintrust Arena.

Taylor O’Brien, Bucknell

Bucknell Athletics Taylor O'Brien of Bucknell women's basketball

Bucknell’s Taylor O'Brien led the Bison to three wins last week, totaling 61 points and 16 rebounds in wins last week over Iona, North Dakota and Vermont.

After scoring 15 points in a 55-48 win over Iona on Tuesday, O’Brien totaled 46 points on 18-of-26 (69.2%) shooting to guide Bucknell to two wins and a championship title at the TD Bank Classic in Burlington, Vermont over the weekend, earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors. She scored 22 points in Saturday’s win over North Dakota (64-59), then added a career-high 24 points in the 68-53 win over tournament host Vermont on Sunday. She was also 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the Vermont victory.

O’Brien over the two tournament wins was 18-of-26 (69.2%) shooting from the field. The Lafayette Hill, Pa. native was also a major asset at the free throw line for the Bison, going 17-for-22 (77.3%) for the week and knocking down a career-best 11 free throws at Iona. O'Brien added four assists, five steals and a block to round out her weekly stat line. She has now scored 20 points six times in her career.

The Bison, have now won three consecutive games to improve to 4-2 in non-conference play. After playing the first six games on the road, Bucknell returns home to play Saint Francis in its home opener on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

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