Women's basketball: Louisville's Durr, Oregon's Ionescu both off to blazing starts
Every week, NCAA.com's Starting Five will bring you a look at some of the top women's basketball players in the country. Here are the standout competitors:
Taeler Deer, Texas State
Taeler Deer’s final collegiate season is off to a great start after she tallied a career-best 44 points in a Texas State victory over Texas Tech, 87-70 on Sunday. The Houston native scored in a variety of ways against the Lady Raiders, finishing at the rim, nailing mid-range jumpers, connecting on long range 3-pointers and even cashing in at the charity stripe. In total, Deer made 17-of-27 shots, both figures established new career-highs.
Deer's point total was the highest single-game output against Texas Tech ever in regulation. Carol Ann Shudlick of Minnesota also scored 44 against Tech in an overtime game played in Wichita, Kan. on December 18, 1993. The 5-5 senior guard also topped Baylor’s Brittney Griner's mark for most points scored by a Tech opponent at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. She also dished out a game-high eight assists and pulled down five rebounds in the victory. Deer and the Texas State Bobcats will return to action at Incarnate Word on Nov. 15.
Asia Durr, Louisville
Asia Durr erupted for 47 points, including 30 points in the second half and overtime as Louisville improved to 2-0 on the season following a 95-90 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes. The win came at Nationwide Arena, home of the 2018 Women’s Final Four. The 47 points scored by the dynamic junior guard surpassed the previous school record of 43, set by Angel McCoughtry in 2001 against Providence. It also topped the high on the men's side, as Wes Unseld's record for points in a game is 45. Durr’s previous career-high was 36 points against Syracuse last season.
The Douglasville, Ga., native, scored 17 points in both the first half and the second half and then erupted for 13 of the Cardinals' 15 points in overtime to seal the victory. The Cardinals opened the season with an 80-40 win over Southeast Missouri with Durr contributing eight points to that win. Louisville next hosts Toledo in Women’s NIT action on Nov. 14.
Megan Gustafson, Iowa
Iowa junior Megan Gustafson averaged 25.5 points and 16.0 rebounds and shot 67.7 percent from the field in a pair of season-opening wins over Quinnipiac and Western Kentucky last weekend. The 2017 Hawkeye Challenge Most Valuable Player netted 16 points (7-of-9) and pulled down a team-leading 15 rebounds in Iowa's 83-67 win over Quinnipiac on Nov. 10. Gustafson scored five points and registered seven of her 15 rebounds in the fourth quarter to lead Iowa to a come-from-behind victory against the Bobcats.
1 of my most favorite "Let's Go" moments of all time!@GustafsonMeg10 is classic! Then,watch again as @han_stew & @_1LilT get in on it! #TripleTheFun Love everyone's reaction! #Let'sGo pic.twitter.com/b0njuPe5VR— Jan Jensen (@goiowa) November 13, 2017
The Port Wing, Wisconsin, native followed Friday's performance with a career day Saturday. Gustafson netted a career-best 35 points, led the team with 17 rebounds (7 offensive, 10 defensive), and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Gustafson scored 18 points and registered eight rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime period to bring Iowa back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit against the Hilltoppers. She recorded six of Iowa's 11 overtime points and added three blocks in the extra period to secure the 104-97 win. Gustafson also surpassed the 1,000 career points milestone Saturday. She is the 35th Hawkeye in program history to accomplish the feat.
Gustafson and the Hawkeyes return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 15, hosting Northern Illinois.
Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
Expected to challenge for the Pac-12 championship this season, Oregon is off to a 2-0 start behind guard Sabrina Ionescu, one of the collegiate game’s top sophomores. Ionescu filled the stat sheet for the Ducks with an average of 22 points and eight rebounds in the two wins, while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor and dishing out 18 assists. She tallied her fifth career triple-double in a dominating performance on Sunday in a 110-77 win over Drake, which was receiving votes in both top-25 polls. Ionescu posted a career-high 29 points plus 10 rebounds and 11 assists while shooting 10-of-15 from the field and 6-of-8 from three.
She's a sophomore and only 1 triple-double shy of the Pac-12 record and 2 away from the NCAA record.— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 14, 2017
Sabrina Ionescu is the #Pac12WBB Player of the Week: https://t.co/Bhpxno6cZf pic.twitter.com/inu5fr645T
With five career triple-doubles, Ionescu is just one away from the Pac-12 all-time record (6) and two from the NCAA record (7). In Friday's season-opening win over CSUN (91-43), Ionescu went 3-of-6 from three-point range and scored 15 points to go with six rebounds and seven assists. Oregon faces a significant challenge on Thursday, when they travel to No. 19 Texas A&M.
Fans' Choice: Gabby Lyon, Middle Tennessee
Gabby Lyon, the 2017 Conference USA Sixth Player of the Year, delivered in a big way as the Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders won at Vanderbilt. After C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Alex Johnson went down with an ankle injury less than five minutes into the game, Lyon stepped up to record her second career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, along with two steals and one blocked shot, to help lead the road win over the Southeastern Conference foe.
Lyon did her best work with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. After Vanderbilt had rallied to cut a Middle Tennessee 14-point lead to six with under four minutes remaining, Lyon scored the Lady Raiders’ next five points to preserve the lead – and win. The 6-0 senior forward was an efficient 4-of-6 shooting from the field. The Lady Raiders, 2-0, will next host Lipscomb on Nov. 19.