Two games. Two wins. 29 points.
Not a bad week for Ashley Russell.
Behind the strong play of the junior guard, Penn women's basketball defeated Big 5 foe Temple on Wednesday before blowing out Gwynedd Mercy on Sunday.
Against Temple, Russell was especially dynamic. She scored a career-high 19 points with three three-pointers, leading all scorers in the process. Additionally, Russell combined her scoring acumen with equally impressive vision. She matched teammate Anna Ross with four assists to pace the Red and Blue.
Following her career performance, Russell again played well against Gwynedd Mercy. The guard scored 10 points and stole the ball twice. Her efforts, and the efforts of her fellow starters, resulted in a sizable early lead for the Quakers, which allowed coach Mike McLaughlin to limit the playing time of Russell and the other starters in favor of allotting minutes to the bench.
In her first full season as a starter, Russell has demonstrated great strides in her game. In the two previous seasons, she operated as a trusty reserve, capable of guarding opposing players and providing occasional shot making. However, in her junior season, Russell has proven her abilities as an explosive scorer with a well-rounded game. Her five double-digit scoring games this season are a testament to that offensive improvement.
However, the expanded role has not diminished Russell's grit, hustle, or toughness in the least. Against both Temple and Gwynedd Mercy, she was at her peak, hounding opposing players on the perimeter, jumping passing lanes, fighting for loose balls, and racing down the court. Simply put, Russell was everywhere this weekend.
The combination of that gritty hustle and her more glamorous scoring exploits culminate in an especially dangerous, complete player — one more than worthy of earning DP Sports' Player of the Week.
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