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.
Adut Bulgak initially intended to be a Tar Heel, as she committed to North Carolina as a senior in high school. Instead, she went the junior-college route, won two national championships, and arrived at Florida State just when the Seminoles really needed her presence.
So even if Tallahassee wasn't in her original plan, she ended up in the ACC just the same. And it has worked out well. Bulgak is espnW's national player of the week after helping the No. 9 Seminoles to victories over No. 25 Syracuse and in-state rival Miami.
Bulgak, a 6-foot-4 center, had 10 points and 16 rebounds in the 62-52 win over the Orange on Monday. Then Sunday against the Hurricanes, in an 80-60 win, she totaled 19 points and 17 rebounds.
Florida State lost its leading scorer and rebounder last season, Natasha Howard, to the WNBA draft in April. So the 2014-15 season was expected to be one of some growing pains for the Seminoles. But the growth happened more quickly than many thought it would, and Florida State now stands at 22-2.
It helped to get guard Leticia Romero, a transfer from Kansas State, eligible at semester break thanks to a decision by the NCAA. It has also been huge for the Seminoles to have Bulgak make the transition to Division I so quickly.
Bulgak is originally from Sudan, but grew up in Canada. She finished high school, though, in South Carolina. Then after changing courses from the Tar Heels to Trinity Valley Junior College in Texas, she helped the Cardinals win national titles in 2013 and '14. Bulgak was named NJCAA Division I player of the year last season.
Several Division I schools were interested in her after her performance at Trinity Valley, including Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech. But Bulgak opted for Florida State, which has won nine games in a row and 18 of its past 19. The lone loss in that stretch was Jan. 2 at Notre Dame. Bulgak is averaging 13.7 points and 10.6 rebounds for the Seminoles, who are 9-1 in the ACC; the Irish are 9-1.
Bulgak does have some range, as she has hit 16 3-pointers this season. And she also has established herself defensively in the ACC, with 48 blocks thus far.
Bulgak and the Seminoles will be tested down the stretch, as Florida State plays four of its past six regular-season games on the road. But so far, Bulgak has proved up to the task for everything the Seminoles have asked of her.
Also nominated: Lexi Eaton, BYU; Brittany Hrynko, DePaul; Jonquel Jones, George Washington; Dyana Pierre, Southern Illinois
Previous honorees: Nov. 24: Stanford's Thompson | Dec. 1: Chattanooga's Gilbert | Dec. 8: UConn's Tuck | Dec. 15: Notre Dame's Loyd | Dec. 22: Duke's Williams | Dec. 29: Ohio State's Mitchell | Jan. 5 Minnesota's Zahui B. | Jan. 12: Miami's Motley | Jan. 19: LSU's Ballard | Jan. 26: Oregon State's Weisner | Feb. 2: Oregon's Alleyne