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.
Chattanooga's Keiana Gilbert is off to a fast start in her college career -- and she's doing it against some impressive opponents.
The freshman from Columbia, Tennessee, has already done what pretty much every kid from the Volunteer State dreams of doing if she doesn't play for Tennessee. And that is: beat Tennessee.
Gilbert, her older sister and teammate Aryanna, and the rest of the Mocs knocked off the No. 4-ranked Lady Vols 67-63 on Wednesday in Chattanooga. Keiana Gilbert, a 5-foot-11 guard/forward, had 27 points, five rebounds and a key block late in the game.
That and her performance Monday in a victory over Austin Peay -- 13 points, 12 rebounds and six assists -- earned Gilbert the espnW national player of the week award. In the two games, she was a combined 16 of 29 (55.2 percent) from the field.
At No. 4, Tennessee is the highest-ranked foe that Chattanooga has ever defeated, and it was the second time in three years that the Mocs have upset the Lady Vols. They also did it in November 2012, when Tennessee was ranked No. 20.
Gilbert was still in high school then in Columbia, which is about 50 miles southwest of Nashville. She is averaging 13.8 points so far this season to lead the Mocs (4-2). Their losses were to South Florida and Notre Dame, and the Mocs have another high-profile nonconference foe coming up: Stanford on Dec. 17 at McKenzie Arena.
Chattanooga went 29-4 last season, veteran coach Jim Foster's first with the Mocs after replacing Wes Moore, who took over at NC State. Chattanooga went 18-0 in the Southern Conference under Foster and then won the league tournament before falling in the NCAA tournament first round to Syracuse.
Chattanooga lost three starters off that squad, but one who returned was sophomore Aryanna Gilbert. So far this season, the sisters have played key roles for the Mocs. Aryanna scored 26 points in the Austin Peay victory.
That was a good in-state victory for the Chattanooga, but of course beating the Lady Vols was a fantastic win for the program.
"It was a great experience," Keiana Gilbert said. "You just have to go out there and act like Tennessee is just any other team and play like we usually do."
Also nominated: Lia Galdeira, Washington State; Kelsey Lang, Texas
Previous players of the week: Nov. 24: Stanford's Lili Thompson