Editor's note: Charlie Creme, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel each vote to determine espnW's national player of the week, which is awarded every week of the women's college basketball season.
Basketball fans of a certain age in Oregon know all too well that it's time to worry when the opposing team's best player can't help but smile about their own hot hand.
But there Stanford's Brittany McPhee was after hitting a deep 3-pointer in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at No. 6 Oregon. Normally the owner of a stellar on-court poker face, McPhee didn't even try to contain the grin as she backpedaled toward the defensive end. She didn't shrug her shoulders, settling for a casual finger pointed toward a teammate, but it was a passable imitation of Michael Jordan against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals.
She couldn't help it. And she wasn't done.
The espnW national player of the week for the second time this season, McPhee saved her best for last in a week that was pretty darn good from the get-go. One win against a ranked opponent already secured at Oregon State, she scored 31 of her 33 points at Oregon in the second half, including a mind-boggling 19 consecutive points in the fourth quarter of a 78-65 win.
With just more than five minutes remaining in the game, Oregon trailed by two points on its own court. McPhee outscored the Ducks 11-0 the rest of the way.
You would be grinning, too.
"I think the basket got really big for Britt," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Credit to how hard she played. Things weren't going well. Her resilience, her determination, she just said, 'Hey, 10 more minutes in this game; let's play hard.' So I think a lot of our success is because she really put the team on her back."
In a much different style of game Friday night up the road in Corvallis, Oregon, McPhee was hardly less influential. With points at a premium and the pace slowed against No. 16 Oregon State, she totaled 18 points and 12 rebounds in a 60-57 win. She got to the free throw line just four times and missed all four of her 3-point attempts, on a night the Cardinal hit just 2-of-19 attempts from behind the arc, but she did enough, including score Stanford's final four points.
For a team that has played more games this season against ranked opponents than any other, and suffered for it more often than not, it was a hard-earned and significant win for Stanford (16-8).
But Sunday was the masterpiece, a signature performance in a signature win -- and at the end of a week that saw several of the teams in the NCAA's top 16 suffer setbacks.
Or more precisely, it was a signature second half against the Ducks.
Stanford entered the third quarter trailing by 11 points. But McPhee hit a 3-pointer on her first attempt of the second half, her first 3-pointer of the weekend, and never looked back. She made 13-of-18 shots in the second half, including all three of her 3-point attempts. She helped her team erase the deficit and open up as much as a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter, then answered every challenge when Oregon repeatedly cut its deficit to a single possession.
And when Oregon stopped scoring, she kept right on going.
Also nominated: Kaila Charles, Maryland; Raigyne Louis, LSU; Tinara Moore, Central Michigan; Jaime Nared, Tennessee; Gabby Williams, Connecticut
Previous winners: Louisville's Durr (Nov. 20) | Ohio State's Mitchell (Nov. 27) | Florida State's Thomas (Dec. 4) | Oklahoma State's Goodwin (Dec. 11) | Texas A&M's Carter (Dec. 18) | Western Illinois' Clemens (Dec. 26) | Stanford's McPhee (Jan. 1) | Houston's Harris (Jan. 8) | Louisville's Durr (Jan. 15) | Florida State's Thomas (Jan. 22) | Baylor's Kristy Wallace (Jan. 29)