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.
LAS VEGAS -- Cal was off to the best start in program history entering last week's Puerto Rico Classic. However, with a schedule strength that ranked in the bottom half of the country, no one was sure exactly what to make of the Bears' 9-0 record or just how good they are this season.
They emphatically answered the question in their second game at the South Point Arena (the eight-team tournament was moved from San Juan to Las Vegas due to lingering fears of the Zika virus). And top scorer Kristine Anigwe provided the necessary emphasis. The 6-foot-4 sophomore post player tortured then-No. 20 ranked Oklahoma on her way to 32 points and 15 rebounds in a 82-74 victory. She was equally dominant throughout a three-game stretch that left the Bears 12-0 after nonconference play -- and helped Anigwe earn espnW's national player of the week honors.
Half of Anigwe's points against the Sooners came at the free throw line (16 of 22) as Oklahoma sent waves of double- and triple-teams at her. They didn't slow her down.
"Every time I caught the ball they were right there, all the time," Anigwe said. "So I just tried to go right to the basket and be physical right back."
That strategy worked well the following night as well, when last season's Pac-12 freshman of the year scored 39 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a 25-point win over Arkansas State. In the three games in Vegas, which also included an opening-night victory over Southern Miss in which she was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field, Anigwe averaged 29.7 points and 11.7 rebounds.
An honorable mention All-American a year ago, Anigwe appears to be headed for loftier accolades in 2017. With per game averages like 25.1 points and 10.2 rebounds -- and a 65.9 field goal percentage -- Anigwe joins Washington's Kelsey Plum as the midseason favorites for Pac-12 player of the year, and she appears primed to make a run at first-team All-America status.
And as Cal looks to improve on last season's 10th-place finish in the Pac-12, Angiwe should be well-rested for the push. She has produced those robust numbers, which also included a 50-point game against Sacramento State earlier this month, in just 27 minutes per contest.
"I am blessed to be surrounded by those people around me, my teammates, and I am just happy to be on this team," Anigwe said. We are working toward important things this year."
Also considered: Jackie Kemph, Saint Louis; Madison Weekly, Northern Iowa; Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn