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Rick Nixon, NCAA.com | January 18, 2023

Aliyah Boston's dominant stretch leads this week's women's basketball Starting Five

Undefeated Ohio State continues climb in Power 10 women's basketball rankings

It was another thrilling week in women's basketball. Here are five of the best from last week:

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina 

South Carolina senior forward Aliyah Boston was dominant in a pair of Southeastern Conference wins as the top-ranked Gamecocks moved to 18-0 on the season.

Boston’s first back-to-back 20-point SEC games in her career were both double-doubles as she averaged 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while adding 3.0 blocks and 2.0 assists per game as well. Her rebounding total moved her into the top spot in the South Carolina record books for career offensive rebounds (455).

In last week’s games, Boston asserted herself early, scoring 10 points in the first quarter at Kentucky and eight in the opening 10 minutes against Missouri on a combined 8-of-12 shooting. Six of her 10 rebounds against Missouri came on the offensive end, and she scored eight points off them in the 81-50 blowout victory. At Kentucky, she started a 16-2 run to close the first half with an inside move and added a block, an assist and three defensive rebounds to the surge that turned a 10-point deficit into a four-point halftime lead in a five-minute span that eventually led to a 95-66 win.

On the season, Boston’s 9.44 rebounds per game rank second in the SEC and 33rd in NCAA, and her 1.94 blocks are third (28th in NCAA). She is sixth in the nation with 11 double-doubles this season, bringing her within one of tying Sheila Foster’s South Carolina career record of 72.

South Carolina, now 6-0 in SEC play, is in action this week on Jan. 19 at Vanderbilt and at home on Jan. 22 against Arkansas.

RANKINGS: Ohio State continues to climb in Power 10 rankings | AP Poll

Frannie Hottinger, Lehigh 

Lehigh senior forward Frannie Hottinger earned her fifth Patriot League Player of the Week honor, becoming the first player in program history to achieve the honor five times in one season.

Hottinger averaged 24.5 points in two games last week. She recorded her 10th double-double of the season in a 79-77 win vs. American on Jan. 14, scoring a team-high of 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. At Holy Cross, she scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds, had an assist and a block in a 66-64 loss.

The Minnesota native has scored in double-figures in all but one game this season. She is 14th in the nation in scoring (20.9 points per game) and 22nd in the nation in rebounding (10.2 rebounds per game). She also is tied for seventh in the nation in double-doubles.

Hottinger and Lehigh, 8-9 overall and 4-2 in Patriot play, will return to action Jan. 18 when the Mountain Hawks host Loyola.

UNBEATEN: Here are the last undefeated teams in DI college basketball

Destiny Littleton, USC 

USC scored wins over California (63-43) and No. 2 Stanford (55-46) as senior guard Destiny Littleton tallied a game-high 18 points in both wins and dished out 11 assists. It was the Trojans' first home sweep of the Bay Area schools since 2003-04.

In the Trojans' win over the Cardinal on Jan. 15, Littleton played the full 40 minutes to help anchor USC's first win over an opponent ranked No. 2 or better since 2008. USC's upset also snapped the Cardinal's 39-game win streak against Pac-12 opponents. Defensively, USC held Stanford to its lowest point total since 2016. It was USC's largest margin of victory over Stanford since a 12-point win in 1993.

In the Jan. 13 win over California, Littleton had a game-high tying five assists against the Golden Bears to go along with her 18 points.

Littleton has now recorded double digits in three straight game as she now leads the team with 13 double-digit outings this season.

The Trojans, 13-4 overall and 3-3 in Pac-12 Conference play, will next visit Washington State on Jan. 20, and then head to Seattle to take on Washington on Jan. 22.

SCORES: Follow every game in our scoreboard

Brynna Maxwell, Gonzaga 

Gonzaga stretched its winning streak to 10 games as senior Brynna Maxwell guided the Bulldogs to a 73-66 victory at Portland in the only game of the week for the Zags.

The guard connected on seven of her 10 field-goal attempts, including 6-of-7 from three-point distance as she scored a team-high 20 points. Maxwell also grabbed four rebounds and had two steals in 34 minutes of action. Maxwell hit a 3-pointer to make it 35-all at halftime and Gonzaga never again trailed. She made two more 3-pointers in the first 95 seconds of the third quarter and added a 3-pointer and a layup in a 10-4 spurt that made it 53-47 and the Zags rolled from there.

Maxwell continues to lead all of college basketball in 3-point accuracy (54.4 percent on 56 for 103) and free-throw percentage (98.1 percent on 51 for 52). She has connected on at least one 3-pointer in all 19 games this season.

The Bulldogs, who improved to 17-2 overall and 7-0 in West Coast Conference play, have not lost since Dec. 4 when they suffered a road loss at No. 2 Stanford. Gonzaga returns to play on Jan. 19 at Pacific. 

Danae McNeal, East Carolina 

Danae McNeal of East Carolina enjoyed a career-week, averaging 27.0 points, 4.0 steals, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists as the Pirates split a pair of road games at Temple and SMU.

McNeal kicked off the week with a career-high scoring outburst with 28 points in the Pirates' 72-51 blowout win on the road against Temple. The victory was East Carolina's first ever against the Owls in Philadelphia.

The senior guard then followed up that performance with a 26-point, six-steal performance in a 68-66 overtime loss at SMU. Though the Pirates fell in overtime, McNeal's 22 points after halftime and unrelenting defensive pressure was a major driver in the team's comeback from 18 points down in the second half.

With the pair of performances, McNeal is now averaging 25.0 points and 3.5 steals per game in the new calendar year.

McNeal and the Pirates, 12-6 overall and 3-2 in American Athletic Conference play, will look to kick off a new winning streak when they host Cincinnati on Jan. 18. 

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