<
>

Texas A&M's Courtney Walker is espnW's player of the week

Texas A&M's Courtney Walker was an honorable mention All-American last season by the WBCA and AP. Casey Sapio/USA TODAY Sports

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.

For the better part of the past three seasons, any reference to Texas A&M women's basketball included "the Courtneys."

Courtney Williams and Courtney Walker quickly became the faces of the program. They are coach Gary Blair's best players, and the seniors' performances dictate the Aggies' success. Yet they are almost always referred together. The duo is rarely granted public individuality simply because they play at the same college and have the same first name.

That changes this week. Walker gets the spotlight all to herself as espnW's Player of the Week debuts for the 2015-16 season.

Up against what was probably the most challenging two-game week of any team in the country -- at No. 14 Duke on Wednesday and at home against TCU on Saturday -- Texas A&M emerged with a pair of victories to improve to 4-0. Walker was the chief reason why.

The 5-foot-8 guard has made a habit of playing bigger in Texas A&M's marquee games (18 PPG last season against Top 25 opponents), and she delivered against the Blue Devils. Walker scored 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, with a career-high 11 rebounds. She also scored the most important points of the game. After the 12th-ranked Aggies lost a second-half lead and found themselves trailing by a point in overtime, Walker scored six of the next eight points. Texas A&M never trailed again in the 72-66 overtime win in Durham, a victory that is sure to pay huge dividends in March.

Three days later against the much-improved Horned Frogs, Walker put in a 23-point afternoon, and again, her timing couldn't have been better. Off to its best start in four years, TCU led for most of the game, but Walker scored five points in a 9-0 run that gave the Aggies the lead with 5 minutes, 36 seconds remaining. When the Frogs regained the advantage, Walker again had the answer with four points in a 6-0 spurt that put A&M in front. The two-time All-SEC first-team honoree also had eight rebounds and was an efficient 10 of 14 from the field in the 82-78 win.

Texas A&M's all-time leader in free throw percentage, Walker went 8-of-9 from the line in the two games and is an 87 percent shooter in her career.

Blair hasn't grown entirely comfortable with his bench just yet, so Walker also played 78 of a possible 85 minutes against Duke and TCU. That could get even trickier this week as A&M has an even more difficult schedule, with games against Cal (Friday) and Ohio State (Saturday) in Las Vegas.

Over four games, Walker is averaging 18.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, shooting 59.6 percent from the field.

Also nominated: Nina Davis, Baylor