Each week throughout the season the Starting Five highlights the top NCAA Division I women’s basketball performances from the previous week.
Here are five student-athletes who stood out this past week:
Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
Named the Pac-12 Conference player of the week for the second straight week and the third time this season, Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu led the Ducks to the program’s first series sweep of Oregon State since 2010 over the weekend, playing all 40 minutes in both games while averaging 21.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. She raised her career assists total to 950, moving her past Gary Payton (938, Oregon State) as the Pac-12 all-time assists leader for both men and women.
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Ionescu dropped 23 points with nine assists in Friday’s 76-64 home win over the then-No. 7 Beavers, and then scored a team-high 19 points with eight rebounds in an emotional 66-57 win on Sunday in Corvallis.
On the season, Ionescu leads the Ducks with 17.7 points per game while adding 8.7 rebounds and an NCAA-leading 8.3 assists per game. The senior guard leads the nation with four triple-doubles this year, extending her NCAA all-time record to 22 for her career.
The Ducks moved up one spot to No. 3 in the Associated Press poll on Monday following their Civil War sweep. Oregon will travel to Utah (Thursday) and Colorado (Saturday) this week before going to Storrs, Conn., to face No. 4 UConn on Monday.
Rennia Davis, Tennessee
Tennessee junior forward Rennia Davis ran her streak of scoring in double figures to 18 consecutive games, averaging 23.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals last week as the Lady Vols split a pair of games with UConn and LSU.
Tennessee started the week with a 60-45 loss to UConn in the renewal of that famous rivalry. Davis hit 50 percent of her field goals (7-14), including a 2-of-4 effort from long range, to finish with 16 points and eight rebounds against the Huskies. In the loss to UConn, Davis and her teammates held the Huskies to just 60 points on the evening, a total nearly 19 points below their season average.
On Sunday in a 63-58 win at home over LSU, Davis paced the Lady Vols with her second 30-point game of the season in a key conference victory over the Tigers. The win enabled Tennessee to remain in a tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference standings. Davis scored 19 first-half points to help Tennessee rally from seven down to take a four-point lead at the break. She added nine more in the third quarter as Tennessee built a nine-point lead against the Tigers. Davis added a team-high eight rebounds and four steals in the victorious effort, which was the Lady Vols fifth straight victory in league play.
Davis connected on nine of 13 shots from the field, including two of five from long range, and knocked down all 10 free throw attempts to tie for the fourth-best 100-percent performance in Lady Vol history. Her effort was the 11th 20-plus scoring effort of her career, tying her for 11th all-time.
For the week, Davis finished 16 of 27 from the field for 59.3 percent accuracy. She was four of nine from three-point range (44.4) and went 10 of 11 from the free-throw line (90.9).
Tennessee, 16-4 and 6-1 SEC, will next play at Vanderbilt on Jan. 30.
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Vivian Gray, Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State’s Vivian Gray played all 80 minutes in games against West Virginia and Texas last week, averaging 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists as the Cowgirls split the two games.
The junior forward led Oklahoma State to its first win over a ranked opponent this season and its first top-25 road win since 2018 with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the 57-55 victory at No. 25 West Virginia on Jan. 22. With just nine players suited up due to injury and illness, Gray teamed up with sophomore Ja’Mee Asberry (16 points) for 38 points in the win.
Against Texas on Sunday, Gray scored 34 points, pulled six rebounds and had three assists as Oklahoma State came up short, 61-56.
Gray has now logged 20-point performances in eight of her last 10 outings and has scored in double figures in 44 consecutive games.
Three of Oklahoma State’s four Big 12 losses this season come by a deficit of five points or less. The Cowgirls, 12-7 and 3-4 Big 12, will be back in action Wednesday, hosting the TCU Horned Frogs in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Gabi Haack, Bradley
Junior guard Gabi Haack earned her third Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week honor this season after averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game in addition to collecting 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game in a pair of historic wins for Bradley.
In Friday’s 61-47 win against Northern Iowa, which snapped a 16-game losing skid in the series, Haack had eight points, six rebounds and three assists without a turnover. Going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, she helped the Braves limit UNI to its second-lowest scoring output of the season in the victory.
In Saturday’s one-point win against Drake, Haack turned in one of her best performances of the year; collecting a season-best 25 points in addition to matching a career-high 12 rebounds. The 77-76 victory ended a 12-game losing skid in the series with the Bulldogs as Bradley improved to 7-0 to start MVC play for the first time in program history and picked up its eighth consecutive win overall to tie for the third-longest win streak in Bradley history.
Haack, who moved into second in career three-pointers at Bradley, jumped up five spots on the Bradley all-time scoring list over the weekend into 15th. She has 185 career three-pointers, 25 behind Katie Yohn’s school record of 210, while her 1,033 career points are 15 behind Val Wancket for 14th on the school’s all-time scoring list.
Bradley, 16-2 overall, will next open a season-long, three-game homestand Friday against Missouri State in a battle between the top two teams in the MVC standings.
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Ae’Rianna Harris, Purdue
Ae’Rianna Harris recorded one of her best two-game stretches of the season, averaging 23 points and 10.5 rebounds as Purdue scored much-needed wins over Nebraska and Penn State last week.
Last week, Harris broke Purdue’s all-time blocks record for men and women in a career, set the single-season senior record for blocks and tied the program mark for double-doubles in a career.
The senior came off the bench at Nebraska last Wednesday to score a season-high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting in a 76-68 win at Nebraska. It was only the Boilermakers second Big Ten road win of the season.
Harris followed that performance up with a 21-point, 12-rebound outing at home against Penn State for her fifth double-double of the year as Purdue won 81-68.
For the season Harris leads Purdue with averages of 13 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while shooting 46.4% from the field. She also leads the Big Ten with 67 blocks and is sixth in rebounding.
Purdue, 14-7 and 5-4 Big Ten, will hit the road Thursday to face Michigan State.