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 this week’s standout competitors:
Fans’ Choice: Alaina Coates, South Carolina, Senior, Center
Alaina Coates has been instrumental in South Carolina’s 9-1 start to the 2016-17 season. Already named Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Week three times this season, Coates received her latest honor after posting back-to-back double-doubles last week to lead the Gamecocks to home wins over Clemson and No. 9 UCLA.
Coates was instrumental in Carolina’s 66-57 victory over the Bruins this past Sunday, scoring 11 of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter to help the Gamecocks establish a double-digit advantage through three periods. The performance marked her second 20-point performance this season and gave her an SEC-leading seventh double-double. Coates imposed her will down low against Clemson on Dec. 15 with 19 points and 10 boards in an 83-61 victory. Her 10th rebound that night moved her into second on Carolina’s all-time rebounding list.
The senior leads the league and ranks fifth in Division I in field goal percentage (.682) this year, and her 11.1 rebounds per game stand as the 10th-best mark among Division I players. Coates has led the team in rebounding seven times and she has recorded a double-double in each of Carolina’s three contests against top-10 foes.
The Gamecocks close out their pre-holiday slate with a road contest against Savannah State on Dec. 21.
Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple, Senior, Guard
It was a quite a week for Temple senior Feyonda Fitzgerald, who was also named National Player of the Week by espnW, in addition to garnering American Athletic Conference and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week nods as well.
The guard led the Owls to a 2-0 record, which included an upset victory over No. 16 DePaul and a win over Rutgers. Fitzgerald averaged 22.0 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.5 steals as Temple moved to 7-3 overall. In two games, she shot 47% (15-32) from the field, and her six steals at Rutgers tied a career-best.
In the 84-74 win over DePaul, she led all players with 25 points, adding four rebounds, and three assists. The victory marked the team’s first win over a ranked opponent since February 6, 2016 when the Owls took down conference-foe No. 19 USF, 68-66. It also sits as Temple’s first victory against a ranked non-conference opponent since November 24, 2007 when the Owls upset No. 22 Purdue 61-47.
Closing the week with a 48-37 win at Rutgers on Dec. 17, Fitzgerald tallied 19 points, six steals and four assists, as Temple topped the Scarlet Knights for the first time in six years. Temple played lock-down second-half defense, allowing Rutgers just 11 points in the final 20 minutes. The 35 points that Temple allowed was the best defensive effort since a 55-35 win over SMU at home on February 3, 2016.
Temple will close out the calendar year with a home game on Dec. 22 against Fairfield.
Caitlin Ingle, Drake, Senior, Guard
Drake’s Caitlin Ingle led her team to an 81-76 victory over Iowa Sunday for the program’s first win in the in-state series since 2001. Ingle poured in a team-high 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting along with handing out a game-high seven assists and pulling down three rebounds in 35 minutes. Ingle also knocked down 5-of-6 at the free throw line, her lone miss is the first of the season, and on the year, she is shooting 95.2 (21-of-22) from the line. Ingle’s scoring performance matched her season-high in a game this year set previously at Creighton on Nov. 17.
In the win over Iowa, Ingle received support from senior Lizzy Wendell, who added 15 points, while freshman Becca Hittner recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 10 rebounds.
Ingle is averaging a Missouri Valley Conference-best 8.4 assists per game along with scoring 11.8 points per game for Drake, which improved to 6-3 with the win over Iowa.
Drake next plays Auburn on Dec. 21 in the Tulane Classic in New Orleans, La.
Ellen Nystrom, Colorado State, Senior, Guard
After scoring a career-high 33 points to lift Colorado State past Seattle, 66-62 on Sunday, Colorado State senior guard Ellen Nystrom was named Mountain West Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week.
Nystrom tallied her 33 points on 13-of-24 shooting, accounting for half of the team’s points and more than half of Colorado State’s 24 field goals made. Nystrom’s 13 field goals made on Sunday are the sixth-most in a single game by an individual in program history. The Lulea, Sweden native corralled 13 rebounds to account for her second double-double of the season. Nystrom added five assists, a block and a pair of steals to her stat line en route to the Rams’ program-record 22nd straight win at home.
On the season, Nystrom leads the 7-3 Rams in scoring (15.3 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg), assists (50) and field goal percentage (45.6 percent).
Colorado State returns to action on Dec. 20 for a road contest at Montana.
Sydney Wiese, Oregon State, Senior, Guard
Oregon State guard Sydney Wiese recorded a triple-double in the Beavers’ 93-52 victory over UC Davis on Dec. 14, scoring 27 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists, while shooting 10-for-12 from the floor. Wiese’s triple-double was the fourth in Oregon State history and her 27 points marked a career-high.
She followed that up with 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting as Oregon State earned a hard-fought 62-59 win over UNLV Monday evening in the first round of the #Play4Kay Shootout in Las Vegas, Nev. Wiese hit four 3-pointers in the contest, as she moved into sole possession of second-place on the Pac-12 career 3-pointers list with 293. Wiese now needs three more to break the record, currently held by Candice Wiggins. Wiese currently sits eighth in Oregon State history with 1,423 career points, and third in OSU history with 510 career assists.
Oregon State will next play Quinnipiac in the second round of the #Play4Kay Shootout on Dec. 20.