Over the next month we will take a look at specific positions here at the Senior Watch. In the spirit of the holiday, we begin with a look at some of the top playmakers at the point guard position. These seven players are some of the best at gifting their teammates buckets on a nightly basis.
Note: These seven players are on the watch lists for both the Nancy Lieberman Award (top point guard) and the Naismith Trophy (top overall player), and all rank in the top 150 in assists per game (through games played on Dec. 23). Players are presented in descending order by assists per game.
Kemph ranks fifth in the NCAA in assists per game (7.6 per game), an average that was boosted when she matched her career-high with 14 dimes in Saint Louis’ 101-57 win over Lipscomb on Dec. 17. The two-time Atlantic-10 Player of the Year is already the school’s all-time leader in assists and is just 17 points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer as well. The senior averages 14.5 points per game and will be back in action on New Year’s Eve against St. Bonaventure.
Canada continues to do outstanding work on both sides of the ball for the 11th-ranked Bruins. On offense, she averages 14.3 points (2nd on team) and 6.5 assists (tied for 18th in NCAA) with an outstanding 3.94 assist/turnover ratio (6th in NCAA). On defense, she averages 3.91 steals per game (7th in NCAA) and adds 4.4 rebounds per game. Check out the UCLA series on Canada below to get to know the point guard better on and off the court.
Brown leads the 14th-ranked Blue Devils in both scoring (20.8 ppg, 22nd in NCAA) and assists (4.8 per game, T-81st in NCAA) as she serves as the catalyst for Duke’s offense. Add 4.0 rebounds and 3.75 steals per game and you get a glimpse of Brown’s overall impact on the game on a nightly basis. In addition to stuffing the stat sheet, she also does so efficiently; Brown is close to shooting 50/40/90 for the season – 54.9 percent from the field, 42.3 percent from beyond the arc and 88.7 percent from the free throw line.
McCarty was named Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after her outstanding performance (24 points, 10-13 FG, 6 assists, 0 turnovers) in Texas’ win over 12th-ranked and previous unbeaten Florida State on Dec. 17. It was her first game since suffering a left hip injury that had forced her to miss the first game of her collegiate career (113 games).
The hero of Mississippi State’s Cinderella run to the NCAA title game last season is back for her senior season. While her scoring is down (career-low 7.2 points per game), she is still creating buckets for her teammates (4.5 assists per game ranks 104th in the NCAA). She leads the NCAA in assist/turnover ratio with an outstanding 5.36 assists for every turnover. The fifth-ranked Bulldogs are 13-0 heading into the Christmas break and are back in action with a visit to Georgia on New Year’s Eve.
In 12th-ranked Ohio State’s final game before the Christmas break, Mitchell dropped 31 points, a career-high nine assists and seven rebounds to lead the Buckeyes to an 87-76 win at Cincinnati. It was the sixth 30-point game of the season for the nation’s leading scorer (26.2 points per game), but today we’re concentrating on her playmaking, as her nine assists doubled her season average (4.5, 110th in NCAA) and came with just one turnover in 38 minutes.
Tarter is the leading scorer (16.7 points per game) and playmaker (4.2 assists per game, tied for 138th in NCAA) for East Tennessee State. The 5’6″ guard also collects 4.2 rebounds per game and is the team’s leader in 3-pointers made with 19 on the season. Tarter’s percentages could be better (42.6% from the field, 27.9% from three), but there is no doubt in her ability to score. She is also an outstanding defender, averaging 3.23 steals per game (tied for 21st in the NCAA), including a seven-steal effort in ETSU’s overtime loss to Michigan State on Saturday.