Every week, NCAA.com’s Starting Five will bring you a look at some of the top women’s basketball players in the country. Here are the standout competitors:
Fans’ Choice: Kalani Brown, Baylor, Sophomore, Post
Baylor women’s basketball sophomore post player Kalani Brown averaged a double-double with 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds as No. 2 Baylor scored a pair of Big 12 road wins last week at No. 17 West Virginia and at Oklahoma State.
Against the Mountaineers, Brown registered her third double-double in four games with 16 points and 11 rebounds as Baylor thrashed West Virginia, 91-56. It was the Lady Bears’ sixth win over a ranked team this season. It was her fifth double-double of the season and the sixth of her career. Brown shot 6-of-8 (.750) from the field in the contest, playing only 22 minutes of the game.
Brown posted a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds against Oklahoma State in an 86-50 victory, finishing one board shy of another double-double. She was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line, setting a career-high for free throws made in a game. She went 4-of-6 from the floor, while adding three assists, two blocks and one steal in 22 minutes played.
For the week, the Slidell, La. native shot .714 (10-14) from the floor and went .867 (13-15) from the charity stripe.
The Lady Bears, 15-1 and 4-0, return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at home versus TCU.
Taylor Higginbotham, Western Illinois, Sophomore, Guard
After watching teammate Emily Clemens earn Summit League Player of the Week honors three times already this season, Taylor Higginbotham joined the award parade for Western Illinois in being named Summit League Player of the Week after averaging 24 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game as the Leathernecks scored a pair of wins over Denver and Oral Roberts.
The sophomore tallied a career-high 28 points along with six rebounds and five assists in an 87-62 home win over Denver on Jan. 5. Higginbotham followed with a 20-point, nine rebound performance in the 76-72 overtime win over Oral Roberts on Jan. 7. Against the Golden Eagles, she surpassed the 600-point mark in her career as a Leatherneck.
Higginbotham shot 15-of-33 (45.5 percent) from the field and 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from beyond the arc. She was also 11-of-15 from the charity stripe.
The Leathernecks (13-4, 3-1) next travel to Omaha for a mid-week road matchup on Jan. 11.
Chloe Jackson, LSU, Sophomore, Guard
LSU has emerged as a tough out in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) behind the strong play of guard Chloe Jackson, who averaged 28.0 points and 3.5 steals in leading the Lady Tigers to wins over Florida at home and Arkansas on the road this past week.
Jackson, who transferred to LSU from North Carolina State, scored a career high 34 points in the 78-67 win over the Gators on Jan. 5. She was the first Lady Tiger to score 34 or more points since Seimone Augustus scored 35 at Florida in 2005-06. The 34 points ties the second-most for an SEC player this season and is the most in an SEC game so far this year.
In the 53-52 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville on Sunday, Jackson not only led the team in scoring with 22 points, but also came up with crucial plays that directly contributed to the victory. Jackson, who hit three treys in the contest, put LSU within one point with a jumper with just over a minute left in the game, and a short time later came up with the critical steal and raced for the layup to give LSU its first lead of the game, 52-51, with just 8.2 seconds left in the game. On the game’s final possession, with two seconds left on the clock and LSU up 53-52, Jackson deflected Arkansas’ inbounds pass and then blocked Devin Cosper’s three-point attempt to preserve the win for LSU.
Jackson is second on the team in scoring with an average of 14.1 points per game. She is second on the team in assists with 39 and in steals with 37. She has scored 20 or more points three times this season, all in the last four games. Jackson has led LSU in scoring six times this year and is on a seven-game double-digit scoring streak.
LSU improved to 13-3 overall; 2-1 in the SEC with their play last week and as a team are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in steals with 228, ranked in the Top 10 nationally in steals per game (2), turnover margin (7) and turnovers forced (9).
The Lady Tigers will next welcome Missouri to the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La. on Thursday, Jan. 12.
Lori Parkinson, Santa Clara, Senior, Forward
Santa Clara moved earned a share of the West Coast Conference lead as senior forward Lori Parkinson led the Broncos to a pair of wins over Portland and Loyola Marymount (LMU).
On Jan. 5, Santa Clara went on the road to beat Portland 56-44, as Parkinson had a strong all-around game with eight points, six rebounds, five steals, three assists, and two blocks.
In a 71-64 victory over LMU on Jan. 7, Parkinson had a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, her third of the season. She was 13-14 at the free throw line and added seven assists and five steals while blocking a shot.
Parkinson’s week included an average of 13.5 points per game to go along with 9.0 rebounds per game, 5.0 steals per game, 5.0 assists per game, and 1.5 blocks per game, all while shooting 92.9 percent from the free throw line.
The Broncos, 8-7 and 3-1, close out a three-game homestand this week with a Jan. 12 game vs. San Diego, followed by a Jan. 14 home matchup with Pepperdine.
Brooke Schulte, DePaul, Senior, Guard
Brooke Schulte stuffed the stat sheet in a 3-0 week for the nationally ranked DePaul Blue Demons, averaging 21.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game to go along with .553 shooting in victories over Providence, Creighton and Seton Hall.
The senior’s week was highlighted by a 30-point outing in the Jan. 4 win over Creighton, 79-65. The co-preseason favorites entered the contest as the lone unbeaten teams in Big East play, tied for first place. Schulte had 18 points over the final 20 minutes as the Blue Demons kept the Bluejays at bay.
Schulte added a 23-point, three-rebound, three-assist showing against Providence on Monday, before capping the week with 10 points, six boards, six assists and four steals in just 28 minutes at Seton Hall on Sunday. For the week, Schulte was the only one in the Big East to rank in the top five among all league players in points, assists and steals.
DePaul, 14-4 and 6-0 in the Big East, returns to play on Jan. 13 at home versus Butler.