- Michelle Smith, Contributor, 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.
After an All-American from the nation's No. 1 team was our inaugural honoree, we head a bit more under the radar for our next selection.
James Madison's Tarik Hislop, a senior guard from Silver Springs, Md., is the espnW national player of the week after her outstanding performance in the Cancun Challenge over the holiday weekend.
Hislop set the pace in a three-games-in-three-days marathon for the Dukes. She scored a career-high 32 points in 40 minutes, including seven of her team's 10 points in overtime, as James Madison posted an 89-86 victory over Green Bay to open the tournament. Hislop closed it with 30 points in a 63-58 win over Wichita State, including a pair of free throws with 7.3 seconds to go to ice the game.
In her two 30-point efforts, she was 23-of-41 from the floor. Hislop's performance helped James Madison -- which is looking to get back into the NCAA field after winning 29 games and reaching the WNIT final last season -- even its record at 3-3.
Hislop might not have a national reputation, but her talents are well-known in the Colonial Athletic Association, where she was named the league's player of the week and picked to the CAA's all-conference second team last season.
Hislop, who averaged a team-best 14.8 points a game last season, has improved her perimeter shooting since last season, expanding her game and her scoring possibilities.
Hislop told an interviewer during her sophomore season that some of the best basketball advice she'd ever gotten had come from her high school coach at Paint Branch High in Maryland.
"Boy, I remember when we won the championship, Coach [Heather Podosek] before the game said that big-time players show up in big-time games," Hislop said in 2011. "Rise to the occasion. I knew she was talking to me and knew that my team expected me to do whatever it took to win."
Hislop certainly followed that advice this weekend in Mexico.
• Breanna Stewart, Connecticut: The freshman came up big in the Virgin Islands, scoring a team-high 17 points against No. 14 Purdue to win the Paradise Jam title. She finished as the tournament MVP, scoring 57 points in three games.
16dBonnie D. Ford