Guru's USBWA Talk: Repeat Candidates Highlight Conference POWs
(Guru’s note. The regular blog is above this one or will be by the time daylight strikes the East.)
By Mel Greenberg
More record breakers and more of the same in terms of repeat winners from the weekly conference accolades, all of which is to say here are some highlights of the various, but not all, conference players of the week eligible for Tuesday afternoon’s weekly United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) national player of the week.
The Guru recommends checking the various conference websites if you want to read in depth releases about each of the players they rewards, which, in turn, makes them eligible for consideration for the new USBWA honor.
The Big Ten winner is now announced on late Tuesday mornings, though there is some advance consultation with the conference in terms of being made aware of a potential candidate.
In that same regard, it does not seem that the Atlantic Sun made its weekly announcement Monday but the Guru would like to note awareness of a special performance by Mercer’s Brianna Williams, who scored 54 points Saturday in a win against South Carolina upstate to account for the highest individual total in a Division I women’s game this season.
The performance set a record for the school.
Of course, the scoring machine was at it again this week, maybe a little less so, but previous USBWA winner Elena Delle Donne, the nation’s top point producer out of 12th-ranked Delaware averaged 25.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in two wins by the Blue Hens to earn co-player of the week in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The honor was shared by Old Dominion’s Tia Lewis, who averaged 16.0 points and 10.5 rebounds for the Lady Monarchs, who upset host Hofstra just before time expired in a CAA game Sunday.
Delle Donne has been a multi-CAA honoree this season.
In the America East, Chantell Alford averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists to earn another award for her part in keeping Boston U. unbeaten in conference play.
And while Beantown couldn’t produce a Super Bowl winner Sunday, a second conference award shone on a player with Harvard’s Christine Clark earning the Ivy player of the week award for averaging 22.0 points for helping the Crimson stay a game behind frontrunner Princeton in the standings.
Chay Shegog’s North Carolina squad didn’t have an enjoyable Monday night being run out of Durham by first-place Duke but earlier in the day she picked up the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week award for scoring 20 points and shooting 9 for 11 in the Tar Heels’ win over Virginia.
Temple’s Shey Peddy averaged 23.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists to spur the Owls to two wins and repeat as both Atlantic 10 and Big Five player of the week.
Philadelphia’s Markel Walker, who plays at UCLA, was honored by the PAC-12 conference after getting 14 points, 15 rebounds and dealing 10 assists in a win over Washington State as Walker became the first Bruins player in eight years to get a triple double.
Walker over the last nine games has averaged 13.1 pts, 13.1 reb. and 5.1 assists --- in that stretch, she had a career-high 18 rebounds against Oregon State on Jan. 19 and a career-high tying 24 points against Colorado on Jan. 29.
Speaking of local connections, while not eligible for the USBWA honor that focuses just on Division I for men and women, this is as good a time as any to say that Division II Philadelphia University made it a sweep out of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference as Christine Wooding averaged 30.0 points and 17.5 rebounds and was named player of the week while Rams newcomer Najah Jacobs averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Villanova freshman Lauren Burford picked up another Big East honor as rookie of the week to go with Syracuse’s Iasia Hemmingway’s honor from the conference for averaging 24.0 shooting 66.7 percent.
A week ago the Big East produced Connecticut’s Tiffany Hayes who became the USBWA winner.
SMU’s Akil Simpson averaged 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds to earn the weekly Conference USA award.
South Carolina’s Markeshia Grant had two career highs – 27 points and 7 3-point shots – as the Gamecocks won in Knoville for the first time ever and also grab the first win over Tennessee since 1980, making Grant worthy to receive the Southeastern Conference player of the week.
In the Mountain West, Wyoming’s Kayla Woodward averaged 18.5 points and 7.0 rebounds to earn some notoriety.
Megan Herbert repeated in the Southland for averaging 22.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in wins by Central Arkansas.
Manhattan won two games last week, including an upset of Marist, thanks to Lindsey Loutsenhizer, who was rewarded with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference weekly award. She averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the wins that including topping Siena.
Utah State’s Ashlee Brown picked up the Western Athletic Contest award for averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds to pick up the Western Athletic conference award.
Karly Buer of Missouri State averaged 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds to earn the Misouri Valley player of the week honor.
Finally, Iowa State’s Chelsea Poppens averaged 19 points and 13.5 rebounds to win the weekly Big 12 award.
And with that said, go read the regular pseudo daily blog above this one.