- 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.
Pride might have motivated, but talent won the day.
Maryland junior forward Alyssa Thomas is espnW's national player of the week for her do-it-all performance against Virginia Tech on Sunday. Thomas scored 26 points, pulled down 18 rebounds, dished six assists and collected three blocks.
The reigning ACC player of the year's rebounding total, a career high, is setting the pace for the nation's top rebounding team.
The win over Virginia Tech avenged last season's loss, which the Terps considered the low point of last season.
The versatile Thomas didn't play in that game last year; she was sitting on the bench with an injured hand. This time around, she was the game's dominant force, scoring Maryland's first six points to get the Terps off to a strong start.
Thomas said after the game that winning was all about pride.
"Last year, we went out and didn't play the way we wanted to play," she said. "Today was just kind of a statement, kind of to let them know we are Maryland."
Tenth-ranked Maryland has won nine of 10 games and grabbed its first conference road win of the season in Blacksburg. Thomas also had a big night on Thursday against No. 24 Maryland, putting up 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Thomas' value to the Terps has grown as they have absorbed season-ending ACL injuries to point guard Brene Moseley and Essence Townsend before the season and Laurin Mincy in late November.
"Obviously, to watch A.T. tonight just showed what makes her so special," Terrapins coach Brenda Frese told the Washington Post after the win.
Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma: She scored 26 points in two games last week, helping Oklahoma remain unbeaten in the Big 12. Against Texas Tech on Saturday, Ellenberg scored the Sooners' final 13 points in a 65-55 victory.
Brittney Griner, Baylor: She tallied 33 points, seven rebounds and three blocks Sunday against Kansas, and also had 23 points against Iowa State, shooting a combined 24-for-44 in the wins. Griner also started her school-record 128th game and surpassed Oklahoma's Courtney Paris as the second all-time leading scorer in Big 12 history. Griner's 2,741 points trail only Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley (2,835 points).
Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee: She scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds Saturday in a win over ULM, and also had 22 and 15 in a win over Florida Atlantic.
19dBonnie D. Ford