Houston's Jasmyne Harris named espnW's player of the week

Jasmyne Harris, a 5-foot-8 sophomore guard, leads Houston in scoring with 19.8 points per game. She also averages 6.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.2 steals. Courtesy Stephen Pinchback

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.

Merely being exceptional on the basketball court made you almost, well, ordinary during the first week of the new year. With so many head-turning performances across the map, campaigning for espnW's player of the week required a little bit of creativity. Big was good. Bigger was better.

In the case of the University of Houston's Jasmyne Harris and her teammates, that meant spotting your opponent a 21-point lead with just 18 minutes remaining in regulation. And then erasing it in one of the biggest second-half comebacks in NCAA Division I history.

The list of contenders for player of the week was standing room only. Mercer's KeKe Calloway tied the Division I single-game record with 12 3-pointers while scoring 40 points in a win against Furman, and hit as many 3-pointers for the week (19) as Connecticut. All of the Huskies.

Part of a Texas team that usually spreads the wealth, Lashann Higgs hoarded treasure en route to averaging 28 points per game and shooting 74 percent in wins against Oklahoma State and Kansas State that kept the Longhorns rolling through the Big 12.

The list goes on. Grambling State's Shakyla Hill became the fourth Division I player to post a quadruple-double. Mississippi State's Teaira McCowan earned a place as one of five players with multiple 30-point, 20-rebound games in the same season. Syracuse's Miranda Drummond scored 38 points in an upset of No. 11 Florida State -- and couldn't claim scoring honors on her own team after Tiana Mangakahia went for 44 points in an earlier win against Georgia Tech.

But based on the way the world looked Saturday afternoon, none of those feats was more improbable than Harris ending up here. Sure, she scored 26 points in an American Athletic Conference win against Wichita State last Tuesday, but Houston was behind by 12 points after the first quarter and 17 points at halftime at Tulane on Saturday. And with a little over eight minutes to play in the third quarter in New Orleans, the Cougars stared down a 48-27 deficit.

Harris had seven points and five missed field goals at that stage. She would miss another five shots but only in the course of scoring 27 points in the second half and overtime of a 98-92 win.

Harris finished the game with 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, including those 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the final 23 minutes. Her 3-pointer pulled Houston level with seven minutes to play in regulation, and her 3 gave Houston the lead barely 30 seconds later. And her free throws put the Cougars ahead for good in overtime.

Entering this season, only nine Division I teams had rallied from deficits of more than 21 points in the second half (although Houston was denied a program-record comeback because it was one of those nine after it rallied from a 26-point deficit against Lamar in 2008).

Thanks in no small part to the biggest of second half performances from Harris, there is a new addition to the list.

Also nominated: KeKe Calloway, Mercer; Napheesa Collier, Connecticut; Sophie Cunningham, Missouri; Miranda Drummond, Syracuse; Lashann Higgs, Texas; Shakyla Hill; Grambling State; Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State; Tori Schickel, Butler; Amber Smith, Missouri

Previous winners: Louisville's Durr (Nov. 20) | Ohio State's Mitchell (Nov. 27) | Florida State's Thomas (Dec. 4) | Oklahoma State's Goodwin (Dec. 11) | Texas A&M's Carter (Dec. 18) | Western Illinois' Clemens (Dec. 26) | Stanford's McPhee (Jan. 1)