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Rick Nixon | | January 12, 2022

Houston's Laila Blair leads this week's women's basketball starting five

Women's basketball rankings: South Carolina returns to No. 1 in latest Power 10

Last week presented a number of standout performances, here are five of the best through games played Monday, January 10.

Laila Blair, Houston

Houston Athletics Laila Blair

Sophomore guard Laila Blair was a key force as Houston started American Conference play with a pair of wins, totaling 34 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in helping the Cougars improve to 9-5 overall.

The hottest team in The American, Houston is now riding a six-game winning streak overall. Blair averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game to kick off conference play in wins over Wichita State and Tulsa.

Blair scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds, dishing out five assists with two steals in a 66-61 win at Wichita State on Jan. 5. Blair then lit the scoreboard up with 23 points, seven boards and three assists in an 80-67 victory against Tulsa on Jan. 8.

The Cougars hit the road first for two away games this week starting with a matchup against conference foe UCF on Tuesday, Jan. 11, before taking on Temple in Philadelphia on Jan. 15.

RANKINGS: Check out the latest Power 10 

Mary Crompton, Illinois State

Illinois State Athletics Mary Crompton

Illinois State junior guard Mary Crompton averaged 16.0 points, 3.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds in helping the Redbirds go 2-0 this weekend and improve on ISU's best start in conference play since the 2007-08 campaign.

The Iowa City, Iowa-native finished with 10 points in ISU’s 66-58 victory over Indiana State, tallying three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 33 minutes of action. She put up a career-high 22 points versus Evansville on Sunday, going a blistering 6-of-7 from behind the arc while also dishing out a team-high four assists in the 87-68 victory.

Crompton leads the Missouri Valley Conference in three-point percentage, shooting at a 41.9% clip and has made multiple threes in 12 of 14 games this year, including ISU's last eight contests. Already ISU's freshman and sophomore three-point record holder, Crompton continues to climb up ISU's all-time three-point field goal leaders, currently ranked fifth in school history with 179 career threes.

ISU, 7-7 overall and 3-0 in MVC play, returns home this week to host Valparaiso on Thursday and Loyola Chicago on Saturday.

Jaedyn De La Cerda, New Mexico

New Mexico Athletics Jaedyn De La Cerda, New Mexico

New Mexico enjoyed a 3-0 week with wins over UNLV, Utah State and San Diego State as senior guard Jaedyn De La Cerda led the way with an average of 19.7 points per game while shooting .560 from three-point range with 14 three-pointers.

The Roswell, N.M., native totaled 59 points and was credited with 14 assists, an average of 4.67 assists per game, while playing an average of 36.1 minutes per game.

De La Cerda opened the week Jan. 3 with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists (tying the team high) in a 71-68 win over UNLV, the then-top team in the Mountain West Conference.

She then scored a season-high 27 points at Utah State on Jan. 6 in an 98-83 win, hitting seven three-pointers, tying her career-high. De La Cerda finished 7-of-11 from three, 10-of-16 from the floor and recorded five rebounds, five assists and a block (her first of the season).

In Sunday’s 75-72 win against San Diego State, De La Cerda scored 17 points and made four three-pointers.

De La Cerda is averaging 13.4 points on the season with 41 three-pointers and .406 percent from behind the arc. She has scored in double figures in the last five games and 13 times overall this season. In conference play, she is averaging 18.0 points per game, ranking sixth among all scorers and is third in three-point field-goal percentage with a .533 success rate.

De La Cerda and the Lobos are 4-0 in the Mountain West and 13-4 overall and head to Wyoming (Jan. 13) and Colorado State (Jan. 15) this week.

SUPERLATIVES 🏆: Women's basketball midseason superlatives, to start the new year 

Keya Patton, Arkansas State

Arkansas State Athletics Keya Patton, Arkansas State

Arkansas State junior guard Keya Patton came off the bench to register the first 30-point performance by Red Wolves player since December 2016, rattling off 30 points, all in the first half, in a 98-70 win over ULM.

Patton did her work in only 25 minutes, finishing the game 10-of-14 from the floor and 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in helping Arkansas State knock down a program-best and First National Bank Arena-record 16 treys in the victory. Patton helped kick start the Red Wolves' offense, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. In the second period she tallied 20 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and 5-of-5 from deep. Despite playing fewer minutes in the second half, Patton still impacted the contest in other ways, blocking a career-high three shots and grabbing four rebounds.

The Indianapolis, Ind., native is the fifth Sun Belt Conference player this season to score 30-or-more points and the first to do so in a conference game, as well as the only player in Division I to score 30 points in a single half this season.

Patton leads the Red Wolves in scoring (13.6) and steals (23) while ranking second in the league in field-goal percentage (52.5 percent).

Arkansas State, 8-7 overall and 1-1 in Sun Belt play, returns to the court Jan. 13, hosting Appalachian State.

Cameron Swartz, Boston College

Boston College Athletics Cameron Swartz, Boston College

Boston College senior guard Cameron Swartz led the Eagles to a pair of wins last week over Syracuse (95-71) and Clemson (80-74), averaging 25.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Swartz highlighted her week by tying the Boston College single-game scoring record with a career-high 39 points on 14-of-20 shooting from the field against Clemson. Swartz's 14 field goals tied for the second-most in a game, and her nine rebounds tied a personal best. The 39 points and 14 field goals were the most points and field goals scored in an Atlantic Coast Conference game this season.

In the win over Syracuse, Swartz was one of four players in double figures for the Eagles, totaling 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Currently 13th in the ACC in scoring average at 13.6 points per game, Swartz for the week shot 64.3% from the floor, 53.8% from beyond the 3-point line and connected on all seven free throw attempts.

Boston College, 11-4 overall and 2-2 in ACC play, returns to action Jan. 13 at Pittsburgh.

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