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.
The career scoring record for Cal women's basketball has stood since 1981. But senior Kristine Anigwe is off to a great start in the quest to break it.
The 6-foot-4 center/forward led the Bears to two victories as they opened the season, and she is the espnW national player of the week. Anigwe came into her final year 472 points from topping the 2,320 of Colleen Galloway, who played at Cal from 1977 to '81. Anigwe is already 61 points closer to the record.
She had 37 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday as the No. 24 Bears held on for an 80-79 victory at home against Houston. She went 13-of-20 from the field and 11-of-11 from the foul line. It was Anigwe's 11th game at Cal in which she scored 30 points or more.
"That's kind of what we expect her to do," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said of Anigwe's ability to take over the game. "You sort of see exceptional things become ordinary. She did her job; she does it really well."
Then on Sunday at Penn State, the Bears won 75-58 behind Anigwe's 24 points and 22 rebounds. This time, she was 9-of-18 from the field, and 5-of-9 from the stripe. Anigwe has 43 career double-doubles.
Anigwe has been a force throughout her Cal career, averaging 20.5 points and 9.3 rebounds as a freshman, 21.0 and 9.3 as a sophomore and 16.7 and 8.8 as a junior. Her career field goal percentage entering this season was 56.8.
The Bears have made the NCAA tournament six of the last seven years, with 2016 the exception. Cal advanced to the NCAA second round in 2017. Last year, Cal went 21-11 overall and 11-7 in the Pac-12, losing in the NCAA first round 68-62 to Virginia. Anigwe wasn't medically cleared to play in that game, though. Anigwe has averaged 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in the two NCAA tournament games she's played, both her sophomore year.
This season, Cal was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12, and Anigwe is on the preseason watch lists for the Wooden Award and the Lisa Leslie Award for top center.
Last spring, Gottlieb showed her players an analytical analysis of how they compared to the teams that made the NCAA Sweet 16 and where they fell short. Anigwe took that to heart as she prepared for her senior season.
"Seeing that made me realize we have to get better," Anigwe said at Pac-12 media day. "It's not one game, one practice, it's the whole entire season."
So far, she's showing she's ready for her best year yet.
Also nominated: Asia Durr (Louisville), NaLyssa Smith (Baylor)