Juju Watkins, Madison Booker highlight latest women’s basketball starting five

NCAA Basketball

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These women’s basketball players posted big-time performances and were named to the NCAA.com starting five this week.

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Madison Booker, Texas

Texas freshman Madison Booker, who has scored in double figures in 16 straight games and 20-plus in eight games this season, averaged 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in leading Texas to a 2-0 week with wins against Houston and Iowa State.
 
In a Valentine’s Day 82-66 win at Houston, Booker led Texas with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, her eighth game of the season scoring at least 20 points. Booker added seven rebounds, four assists and a steal. The win was the 400th career victory for Texas head coach Vic Schaefer.

On Saturday, Texas outscored Iowa State 23-10 in the fourth quarter on the way to an 81-60 home win. Booker led four Longhorns in double figures with 18 points and recorded a double-double as she added 10 assists.

Madison Booker put up 18 points and dished out 10 assists for the Longhorns en route to a 81-60 win over Iowa State.Madison Booker put up 18 points and dished out 10 assists for the Longhorns en route to a 81-60 win over Iowa State.

In Big 12 Conference play, Booker is averaging 20.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 91.9 percent from the free-throw line. Against ranked opponents this season, Booker is averaging 20.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
 
Texas, 24-3 overall and 11-3 in the Big 12, returns to action on Feb. 21, hosting Texas Tech.

Tess Heal, Santa Clara

West Coast Conference Player of the Week for back-to-back weeks, Santa Clara’s Tess Heal led the Broncos to a pair of huge wins last week over San Francisco and Portland, averaging 25.5 points and 5.0 assists per game.
 
On Feb. 15 at San Francisco, Heal scored a game-high 27 points while also dishing out seven assists as Santa Clara beat the Dons, 73-65, pushing the Broncos to the 20-win mark for the first time in eight years. The win broke a third-place tie in the WCC standings with San Francisco.
 
On Saturday, Santa Clara beat Portland at home, 66-58, to move into a tie with the Pilots for second place. Heal put up 24 points against Portland while drawing 13 fouls and going 11-of-13 from the free throw line. With the win, the Broncos have won 21 games this year, their most since 2015-16 and just the third time with that many victories this century.

Heal currently leads Santa Clara and is second in the WCC with 18.7 points per game. The sophomore guard from Australia is tied for second in the nation with 150 free throws made, seventh with 170 attempts, and 20th with an 88.2% mark from the charity stripe. Santa Clara, 21-7 overall and 9-4 in the WCC, will be back in action on Feb. 22 at San Diego.

Kyla Jones, Brown

Brown senior guard Kyla Jones topped 1,000 points for her career and averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game as the Bears split a pair of games with Princeton and Penn.
 
In Saturday’s 61-59 win at home over Penn, Jones scored her 1,000th career point in the opening minutes, then sank the game-winning bucket with 1.5 seconds left to give the Bears the two-point win. Jones’ performance was crucial in the Bears’ victory, as she scored 12 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth period and connected on six of her final seven field goal attempts, helping Brown close the game on a 10-2 run. With the win, Brown moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Ivy League standings, the final qualifying spot for the upcoming Ivy Madness tournament.

Kyla Jones scores 1,000th career point in Brown women's basketball game against Penn. Kyla Jones scores 1,000th career point in Brown women’s basketball game against Penn.

Jones started the week with 15 points, eight rebounds and two assists as Brown hung tough against No. 25 Princeton before the Tigers used a series of runs in the fourth quarter to take control and hold off the Bears by a score of 74-62 on Feb. 16.
 
With four games remaining in the regular season, Jones and the Bears, 14-9 overall and 5-5 in Ivy play, will next head to Harvard this Saturday at 2 p.m. for a big showdown with the Crimson.

Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech

Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech WBB

Virginia Tech graduate student Elizabeth Kitley helped the Hokies to a pair of victories last week over Duke and No. 18 Louisville to push Virginia Tech’s win streak to nine games.
 
The two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, Kitley scored 34 points against Duke in a 61-56 home win and 26 at No. 18 Louisville, while shooting 76 percent from the field for the week. She also recorded double-doubles in both games taking her season tally in that category to 19.

With the 86-70 road victory over Louisville, Virginia Tech is the only ACC team with road victories at each of the other top four teams in the conference standings, including wins at NC State and Syracuse. The Hokies have won nine straight in ACC play in the same season for the first time in program history.

📊 POWER RANKINGS: Virginia Tech, Oregon State rise in latest WBB Power 10
 
Virginia Tech, 22-4 overall and 13-2 in ACC play, will be back home at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 25 for a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels.

JuJu Watkins, Southern California

Freshman guard JuJu Watkins stellar season continues as she led Southern California to three wins in the last week to get to 20 wins on the season.
 
Now riding a six-game win streak and ranked No. 7 in the nation, Southern California is coming off victories over Arizona (81-64), Oregon (88-51) and then-No. 11 Oregon State (58-50). Watkins was the Trojans’ top scorer in all three contests, helping Southern California to complete its first road sweep of the Oregon schools since 2012-13.
 
With 32 points against Arizona and 33 at Oregon, Watkins recorded her ninth and 10th games of the season with 30 or more points — tying the school record set by Cheryl Miller in 1984-85. Watkins has led Southern California in scoring in 22 of the 23 games she’s played this season, and she now ranks No. 10 all-time in single-season scoring at USC with 633 points — passing past single-season efforts from Cynthia Cooper (1985-86), Tina Thompson (1995-96), Paula McGee (1982-83) and Lisa Leslie (1996-97).
 
The Trojans collected a season-high 51 rebounds in the win on Sunday at Oregon State, with Watkins hauling in 11 of those to go along with 18 points to record her fifth double-double of the season.

 
Watkins and the Women of Troy, 20-4 overall and 10-3 in Pac-12 Conference play, are back in Los Angeles this week for their final Pac-12 home games of the season, setting up for rematches against No. 11 Colorado on Feb. 23 and No. 18 Utah on Sunday, Feb. 25.

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