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Fighting Irish rookie forward collects second national honor this season.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (UND.com) — With each passing day, University of Notre Dame women’s basketball freshman forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) is collecting awards the way she plucks rebounds from the backboard.
One day after sweeping Atlantic Coast Conference Player and Freshman of the Week honors, Turner earned an even bigger prize with her second selection as the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Week earlier today. Thanks to her conference honors, Turner automatically was placed under consideration for the USBWA national weekly award, which was chosen by Mel Greenberg, the USBWA coordinator for women’s basketball, from among a list of NCAA Division I conference freshman-of-the-week selections.
Turner, who also was chosen for the USBWA National Freshman of the Week award on Dec. 29, is the first Notre Dame women’s basketball player ever to earn that honor, let alone do so twice. Two Fighting Irish players have earned the organization’s year-end National Freshman of the Year award — Jacqueline Batteast (2002) and current junior guard Jewell Loyd (2013).
On Monday, Turner became the first player in the 38-year history of the Notre Dame women’s basketball program to sweep both the conference player and freshman of the week awards in any of the four leagues the Fighting Irish have competed in — North Star, Midwestern Collegiate/Horizon League, BIG EAST and Atlantic Coast.
Turner also garnered her fifth ACC Freshman of the Week award on Monday, becoming just the third player in program history to earn five weekly conference freshman honors in one season — Batteast was a six-time BIG EAST Freshman of the Week in 2001-02, following in the footsteps of Alicia Ratay, who did likewise in 1999-2000.
According to STATS, Turner became the second NCAA Division I player in 16 seasons to register 29 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocked shots in a game when she posted those career-high totals on Jan. 15 in Notre Dame’s 89-79 win at No. 12/10 North Carolina. The only other Division I player to reach those marks since STATS began tracking women’s basketball statistics was Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris, who had 30 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks on March 11, 2008, in a 70-64 overtime loss to Missouri in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Turner picked up her fourth double-double and fifth 20-point outing of her rookie season last week at North Carolina. She also logged the most rebounds by a Notre Dame player since March 10, 2013, when Natalie Achonwa had 20 rebounds against South Florida in the BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinals at Hartford, Connecticut.
Turner, who added 13 points and a game-high five blocks in Monday’s 87-77 win over No. 5/6 Tennessee, leads the ACC and ranks second in the nation with a .678 field-goal percentage this season. She also ranks second in the ACC and 19th nationally in blocked shots (3.1 bpg.), while placing eighth in the conference in scoring (15.9 ppg.) and 11th in rebounding (7.4 rpg.).