Vote in The News & Observer college athlete of the week poll (12.12.21)

·3 min read
Ethan Hyman/ehyman@newsobserver.com

ACC play hasn’t started yet. But the women’s college basketball teams in the Triangle are a combined 24-1 on the season entering this week.

Those wins include Duke’s 79-64 victory over No. 9 Iowa last Thursday and No. 2 N.C. State’s 66-58 win at No. 6 Indiana on the same day.

The lone loss the Triangle trio has suffered in 25 combined games was to No. 1-ranked South Carolina when the Wolfpack fell in its season opener.

Less than a month into the season there have already been plenty of standout individual performances from players on the three teams. This past week — from Monday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 5 — the contributions of these four athletes stood out.

Here are the nominees for The News & Observer’s college athlete of the week.

Readers can vote as often as they want until Sunday at noon when poll closes.

Shayeann Day-Wilson, Duke women’s basketball

Day-Wilson led the way for the Blue Devils as they handed the No. 9-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes their first, and only, loss of the young season. The freshman guard had a team-leading 19 points and a team-high four assists in the 15-point win. She made 6 of 11 from the field (54.5 percent), including 4 of 7 (57 percent) from beyond the arc. She also had four rebounds and four assists in the winning effort.

Three days later she helped the Blue Devils take down Penn’s zone defense. Day-Wilson had a team-leading 14 points in the 77-55 road win. She knocked down shots at an even higher percentage in that game —shooting 62.5 percent from the field and 66.6 percent from 3.

Alyssa Ustby, North Carolina women’s basketball

Ustby led UNC in its 82-76 win at Minnesota last Wedneday. Her team-best 19 points was accompanied by 11 boards for a double-double.

Sunday, the sophmore guard had 18 points along with three assits and a pair of blocks as the Tar Heels rolled to a 93-47 win over James Madison.

Her 9.8 rebounds per game leads UNC and ranks second in the ACC entering this week. Averaging 15.8 points per contest (seventh in the ACC) through eight games, she’s made 51 percent (fifth in the ACC) of her shots from the field.

Kayla Jones, N.C. State women’s basketball

Jones led the way for the Wolfpack in its road win over No. 6 Indiana. After missing last year’s Sweet 16 matchup where N.C. State fell to the Hoosiers, the senior forward fueled the Pack’s victory in the rematch.

Her double-double — 17 points, 11 boards — led N.C. State in both points and rebounds. The game marked her ninth career double-double.

Elizabeth Balogun, Duke women’s basketball

Balogun had a seaon-high 13 points in the Blue Devils’ win at Penn. The senior wing made 62.5 percent of her shots from the field in the game and gabbed four rebounds. With her points in that game she passed the 900-point mark for her career and now sits at 901 career points entering this week.

Initially starting her career at Georgia Tech, Balogun played the last three seasons at Louisville and is the first women’s basketball player in ACC hisorty to play for three teams in the league. She had nine points in Duke’s win over Iowa.

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