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 Monday of the women's college basketball season.
We've seen Cal standouts put up big numbers before. But Sunday, it was Jaelyn Brown's turn. The 6-foot-1 guard/forward is one of those players who have gradually improved year by year, and now as a senior, it's her time to be in the spotlight.
Brown had career highs of 30 points and 12 rebounds as the Bears upset No. 20 Arkansas 84-80 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. She went 11-of-20 from the field, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc, and had 10 of her rebounds on the offensive glass.
"This was a great win for the program," Cal coach Charmin Smith said. "I think this is a big confidence booster for us moving forward."
Smith is in her first season as head coach; she took over when Lindsay Gottlieb moved to the NBA's Cavaliers this past summer. But Smith has a long history with Cal, having been an assistant coach there for 12 years, first under Joanne Boyle and then Gottlieb.
The Bears lost their first two games this season, at Harvard and at UConn. But the relatively close score of the game with Huskies -- 72-61 -- drew attention. Since then, Cal has won three in a row: over UC Riverside, San Diego State and then the Razorbacks. Thursday, Brown had 18 points and nine rebounds in a 74-48 victory over the Aztecs.
Sunday was a tougher foe, as Arkansas outscored Cal in the first, third and fourth quarters. But the key was the second quarter, where the Bears outscored the Razorbacks 27-14, led by Brown's 15 points.
Brown joined former Cal greats Ashley Walker, Reshanda Gray and Kristine Anigwe as the only Bears in the last 20 seasons to get at least 30 points and 12 rebounds in a game.
Anigwe finished her career last season and was drafted No. 9 by the Connecticut Sun, then later traded to the Dallas Wings. She was Cal's dominant player the past four years, but Brown, who is from Murrieta, California, continued to get better playing alongside Anigwe. With Cal looking for a new leader this season, Brown has stepped forward.
She averaged 4.8 points as a freshman, 6.2 as a sophomore and 7.9 last year, when she started 32 of 33 games. Brown currently is averaging 14.4 points and 8.0 rebounds.
And Cal will look to build on the victory over Arkansas as the Bears continue a long stretch of home games. The Bears don't leave the Bay Area again until Jan. 17, with their only road game in the next 10 at nearby Stanford on Jan. 10.
Also considered: Queen Egbo, Baylor; Dana Evans, Louisville; Haley Gorecki, Duke; Becca Hittner, Drake; Satou Sabally, Oregon; Chante Stonewall, DePaul