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:

Keke Calloway, Mercer

Junior guard KeKe Calloway enjoyed a record-setting week for Mercer, guiding the Bears to two conference wins while averaging 37.0 points per game and knocking down 19 three-point field goals.

MORE: Oregon earns Team of the Week after beating USC, UCLA on the road

The Georgia native began the week with a then-career-high 34 points in the 71-46 win at Wofford on Jan. 4, chipping in five steals and two rebounds. Calloway finished 65 percent from the floor in the game, including 70 percent (7-of-10) from downtown.

On Saturday at Furman, Calloway exploded for a second consecutive career-high, this time for 40 points after burying an NCAA record 12 threes in an 86-64 win.  The three-point shooting explosion shattered the Southern Conference record of nine set in 2008, while also besting her own Mercer record of seven. Calloway’s 40-point outing is the highest single-game total in the conference this season and is tied for the eighth highest in the NCAA this season. She also added six rebounds and two assists.

The Bears (15-2, 2-0) are on a 12-game winning streak which is the longest since joining the NCAA Division I level.  Mercer boasts the top two scorers in the league, with Kahlia Lawrence averaging 19.2 points and Calloway averaging 18.9 points per game. Calloway is second in the NCAA in three pointers made (67) and fifth in the NCAA in threes made per game (3.94).

Mercer will return to action on Jan. 13 when the Bears travel to Birmingham, Ala., to square off with the Samford Bulldogs.

Lashann Higgs, Texas

Texas junior guard Lashann Higgs led the Longhorns to a pair of comeback wins against No. 20 Oklahoma State and Kansas State last week.

During the two-game stretch last week, Higgs averaged 28.0 points per game, shot 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from the field, connected on 80 percent (4-of-5) of her shots from beyond the arc, and made 92.3 percent (12-of-13) of her free throws.  She also led the team in steals with 2.5 per game, while adding 2.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in an average of 30.5 minutes per outing.

With Texas trailing in the games against both Oklahoma State and Kansas State, Higgs sparked the comeback and then scored the go-ahead points in both of those games to give the Longhorns leads they would not relinquish.

MORE: Grambling State’s Shakyla Hill gets 4th DI women’s basketball quadruple-double

In the game against No. 20 Oklahoma State, Higgs scored a career-high 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 clip from the free-throw line. She also added two rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes of play. Her 30-point performance against the Cowgirls marked the first 30-point showing for a Texas player since Chassidy Fussell had 31 points against Tennessee on Dec. 16, 2012. Higgs accomplished this feat all while guarding Oklahoma State’s Loryn Goodwin, who entered the game ranked 10th in the nation, averaging 21.9 points per game.  The Longhorns trailed nearly the entire game before Higgs’ free throw with 2:35 left. She had 18 of her 30 points in the second half, including nine points in the decisive fourth quarter. She was 7-of-7 from the free-throw line in the second half.

In the win at Kansas State, Higgs totaled a game-high 26 points, was 9-of-12 from the field, 3-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. She also added four assists, three rebounds and three steals in 29 minutes of action.  Texas trailed nearly the entire first half. With the Longhorns down 20-17, Texas went on a 10-4 run in which Higgs scored all 10 of those points to put Texas ahead 27-24 with 1:50 left in the first half and the Longhorns wouldn’t trail the remainder of the game.  In a first half against Kansas State, in which Texas struggled offensively, Higgs had 16 of her team’s 34 points. She was 6-of-6 from the field and 2-of-2 from beyond the three-point line.

Higgs and the Longhorns return to action on Jan. 10 when they travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on TCU.

Shakyla Hill, Grambling State

Grambling State University junior guard Shakyla Hill grabbed national headlines after she became the fourth player in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to record a quadruple-double.

The junior recorded 15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in Grambling State’s 93-71 victory over Alabama State on Jan. 3. From there, Hill posted a double-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven steals in Grambling State’s Jan. 6 loss at Southern.

The Little Rock, Ark. native concluded her week with another stat-stuffing performance, scoring 16 points while hauling in seven rebounds, dishing out six assists and making four steals in a 75-68 win at Alcorn State on Monday night. For the three-game stretch, Hill averaged 16.3 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game, 7.0 steals per game and 6.0 rebounds per game on 52.8 percent shooting from the floor.

Hill currently leads the Southwestern Athletic Conference in steals (5.6) and assists (5.1) per game.  Her 5.6 thefts per game ranks second-best nationally.  In addition, she is third in the league in rebounding (6.9), fifth in field-goal percentage (44.7) and 10th in scoring (13.2).

Grambling State will return to action on Jan. 13 at home against Prairie View A&M.

Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse

Resurgent Syracuse bounced back from two opening losses in Atlantic Coast Conference play with home wins over Georgia Tech and Florida State as sophomore guard Tiana Mangakahia had a career-high 44 points in one game and 13 assists in the other.

Syracuse opened the week with an 88-77 win over Georgia Tech on Jan. 4 as Mangakahia was unstoppable, scoring a career-high 44 points.  She was nearly perfect at the free throw line making 20-of-21 attempts and shot 52.2 percent from the field (12-for-23) in the Orange’s first ACC win of the season. Her performance against the Yellow Jackets is the third-highest points in a game by a player this season in NCAA Division I.

Against No. 11 Florida State, Mangakahia dished out 13 assists to tally her 11th game this season with double-digit assists. She added six rebounds, five points and four steals in the Orange’s first win over a top-15 opponent since March 25, 2016 (No. 2 South Carolina).

The Australia native leads the nation in total assists (177) and assists per game (10.4), and ranks top-30 in multiple categories including double-doubles (11th), free throws made (12th), minutes played (26th) and steals (27th).

 

The Orange return to action on Sunday, Jan. 14 when they hit the road to face North Carolina State.

Fans’ Vote:

Ciarra Duffy, South Dakota

South Dakota sophomore guard Ciara Duffy led the Coyotes to a pair of road victories at North Dakota State and defending league champion Western Illinois, averaging 18.5 points, five rebounds, 4.5 assists and a steal per game.

A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, Duffy has tallied six consecutive double figure games since her return to the starting lineup. She’s averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 boards in Summit League action, which ranks second and third in the league, respectively.

In the 82-67 win over North Dakota State on Jan. 2, Duffy tallied her fifth-straight double-figure game with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting.  She also dished out four assists.  The win for South Dakota was its 750th victory in program history. The Coyotes also defeated North Dakota State for the ninth time in the last 10 games.

Duffy then tallied 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists at Western Illinois as South Dakota ran away with an 82-58 win.  She made 9-of-14 from the field for 64.2 percent.  The Coyotes (11-5, 3-0 Summit) have started Summit League action at 3-0 for the first time in program history. The victory also ends the nine-game league winning streak held by the defending Summit League champion Western Illinois.

South Dakota hosts Mount Marty on Jan. 10 before returning to league action at home against Fort Wayne on Jan. 13.

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