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.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The WNBA coaches on hand for Sunday's North Carolina-NC State game weren't necessarily "scouting" Tar Heels guard Diamond DeShields. They know she's a fantastic player, but as a freshman she's not going to be eligible for the draft for quite a while. (Luckily for the Tar Heels.)
As good as DeShields has looked for North Carolina in three wins in the past week, you have to wonder how high the ceiling is for her. Think: cathedral high. DeShields was selected the espnW national player of the week, and it likely won't be the last time.
DeShields scored 38 points Sunday in an 89-82 victory over the Wolfpack, the most ever in a game for a North Carolina women's hoops freshman. It's also the most any Tar Heel has scored in a game since Tracy Reid's 42 in 1998. That was in a triple-overtime game; DeShields played 36 minutes Sunday.
Reid was an undersized jumping jack; an explosive 5-foot-11 player who could out-leap a lot of the "trees" inside. DeShields, at 6-1, is a versatile mix of pull-up shooter and penetrator who can also post up. She can do it all, and do it confidently.
DeShields had 30 points Monday in a victory at Duke. Thursday in a romp over Pittsburgh, she had 19. In the three games, DeShields shot 54.1 percent from the field (33 of 61) and had a combined 13 rebounds and eight assists.
Not coincidentally, DeShields' big week coincided with three Tar Heel victories. A big turnaround after they had lost three games in a row.
North Carolina assistant Andrew Calder said, "DeShields was unbelievable. And, by the way, we weren't even sure she was going to play today. She got injured in the very first drill on the very first step yesterday in practice."
As for exactly what the injury was, Calder grinned and offered a vague, "It was her leg. ... I'm not sure. I don't know all that anatomy."
Sunday, the Wolfpack certainly didn't see any evidence that DeShields was hurt.
"She was phenomenal," NC State coach Wes Moore said.