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Sunday, February 23, 2014
Jewell Loyd is player of week

By Mechelle Voepel
espnW.com

Editor's note: Charlie Creme, Graham Hays, Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel each vote to determine espnW's national player of the week, which is awarded every Monday of the women's college basketball season.

If Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph calls a player "relentless," then that's high praise. Back in her playing days at Purdue, Joseph was the definition of the word herself as one of the top guards in the college game in the early 1990s.

Monday, Joseph applied that complimentary adjective to one of the current generation's top guards, Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd, after she put on a show against the Yellow Jackets. As it turned out, Loyd was only getting started in what would be a big week for her and the Irish.

After a combined 77 points, 23 rebounds and six assists in three Notre Dame victories, Loyd was selected as the espnW national player of the week. The 5-foot-10 guard and her teammates have clinched the regular-season title in their first season in the ACC.

Loyd had 27 points and nine rebounds against Georgia Tech on Monday, which was the night that Notre Dame picked to honor their seniors. Coach Muffet McGraw thought the emotion involved with that perhaps flustered her upperclass players, but it didn't bother the sophomore Loyd. She made 11 of 17 shots from the field against the Yellow Jackets.

Thursday, the Irish went on the road and didn't shoot particularly well (39.4 percent), yet still won comfortably, 86-61, at Wake Forest. Once again, Loyd ignited Notre Dame. She had 29 points and 10 rebounds, making 9 of 17 shots from the field and 10 of 12 from the free throw line.

Then Sunday, back home in a rematch against Duke, the Irish won 81-70 to move to 27-0 overall and 14-0 in the ACC. Loyd had 21 points, going 7-of-19 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line.

She also was the primary defender against Duke's leading scorer, Tricia Liston, who like Loyd is from greater Chicago. Liston came into the game averaging 18.4 points, but scored just nine on 3-of-8 shooting. Loyd did all she could to keep the senior Liston from getting touches on the ball.

Relentless, indeed.

Also nominated: Ameryst Alston, Ohio State; Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina.