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.
On what was likely the biggest stage she has had thus far, Louisville guard Asia Durr didn't just excel in the starring role. She hit every high note.
Durr's 36 points in the Cardinals' 100-67 dismantling of then-No. 2 Notre Dame last Thursday earned her espnW player of the week honors -- her second time this season -- in another very crowded field. For instance, in a game featuring two freshman scoring whizzes, Georgia's Gabby Connally (37 points) outdueled Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter (31), in the Bulldogs' overtime upset of the Aggies on Sunday.
And Durr's own teammate Myisha Hines-Allen was also a candidate, shooting 15 of 20 from the field and producing a powerful 31-point, 12-rebound output against the Irish.
But while those and other performances gave Durr a run for her money, there was no bigger game -- in terms of statement made or individual showing -- last week than what we saw Thursday from her at Louisville.
Durr was 8-of-10 from 3-point range -- she also had four of the Cardinals' 25 assists -- for an offense that looked unstoppable.
"A shooter, like Asia, we were fortunate we got her some looks early and she knocked them down," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said after the game. "And then all of a sudden that basket becomes real big."
Admittedly, the Irish's injury woes have kept them from being the defensive team we are accustomed to seeing at Notre Dame. But the smooth-shooting Durr looked so confident, efficient and poised -- which helped make the rest of the Louisville offense all the better -- it's hard to imagine any defense would have wanted the challenge of trying to slow her down.
"When I take a shot, the only thing I think about is the rim and the ball," Durr said. "I don't really pay attention to who's guarding me."
And when the 5-foot-10 junior is in a zone like she was Thursday, look out. WNBA observers refer to her as "pro-ready" because of her offensive skills. Is there a chance she might match the best player ever out of Louisville women's basketball -- Angel McCoughtry -- as a WNBA No. 1 pick come 2019?
That will be a challenge; it's going to be a loaded draft class. But college basketball fans have the rest of this season and next to enjoy Durr, who is averaging 21.1 points and shooting 50 percent from 3-point range (64 of 128). The Cardinals (19-0 overall, 5-0 ACC) get back to action Thursday at Pittsburgh.
It's not that Durr has just emerged this season, of course; she averaged 19.2 PPG last year. That carried over to her leading role for the U.S. team in the U23 Four Nations Tournament in Tokyo in August. Which then carried over into her 47-point tour-de-force in an overtime victory against Ohio State in the Cardinals' second game of the season on Nov. 12.
She made 9 of 15 3-pointers in that game, and was named espnW player of the week in our first vote of the season. She sent the message then that she was a must-watch player. We're definitely watching.
Graham Hays contributed to this report.
Also nominated: Gabby Connally, Georgia; Myisha Hines-Allen, Louisville; Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon; Andreona Keys, Purdue; Riley Lupfer, Boise State; Taryn McCutcheon, Michigan State; Jordan Moore, TCU
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) | Houston's Harris (Jan. 8)