- Mechelle Voepel, espnW.com
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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.
We expect to have some debates on Sunday nights now that we've started a new feature at espnW: the women's basketball national player of the week award. However, the inaugural honor wasn't very hard to pick.
Not after a week when the defending champion was upset and had its 42-game winning streak broken. And while Stanford got a very good effort from its entire team in beating Baylor, we will single out junior Chiney Ogwumike as our first espnW player of the week.
The 6-foot-3 post player had 18 points and eight rebounds in Stanford's 71-69 victory Friday, the first of three wins in Honolulu for the Cardinal. Saturday, Ogwumike had 15 points and 17 rebounds as Stanford beat host Hawaii 69-42. And Sunday, the Cardinal closed out their trip to the islands with a 92-68 win over Tennessee-Martin, as Ogwumike had 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Ogwumike steps into the role of go-to star, for which she has been well-prepped the past two seasons. Stanford is trying to maintain its dominance in the Pac-12 while also making it to a sixth consecutive Women's Final Four. Certainly, the victory over No. 1 Baylor sent a message that even without Chiney's older sister, Nneka, it looks like business as usual for Stanford.
Incidentally, it was a very impressive weekend even for the likes of Stanford, a school used to across-the-board athletic success. Along with the women's hoops team beating Baylor on Friday, the Stanford women's volleyball team downed defending NCAA champ UCLA and clinched the Pac-12 title.
The women's soccer team won Friday and Sunday to advance to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, and of course, the Stanford football team grounded the Oregon Ducks on Saturday to help further shake up a thoroughly shaken BCS.
Ogwumike tweeted about the Stanford football team, but her squad also lit up Twitter by showing Baylor really could be defeated. A great start for the Cardinal and Ogwumike, who made it pretty easy for us to pick this week.
• Alex Bentley, Penn State: She overcame foul trouble to spark the Lady Lions to a road win at Texas A&M. Bentley had 19 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and 0 turnovers in the second half (she had 21 points for the game).
18dBonnie D. Ford