'I'm not trading her for anybody': Is Texas star Charli Collier the Big 12's best?
Charli Collier was named the Big 12's player of the week on Monday.
The decision to honor the Texas junior was likely an easy one for the Big 12 to make. Her past week featured a 23-point, 20-rebound game against TCU. She then scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as Texas bested No 24 Iowa State. Texas hadn't had a 20-point, 20-rebound performance since Nneka Enemkpali accomplished that feat in 2012.
Collier led Texas to a 2-0 record last week. The Longhorns (11-3, 5-2 Big 12) remained unranked by the Associated Press on Monday, but UT did receive the 26th-most points in the AP poll.
This marks the second time this season that Collier has won one of the Big 12's weekly awards. She's also contending for a bigger prize from the conference.
The Big 12 has been playing basketball since the 1996-97 season. Former UT guard Brooke McCarty is the only Longhorn who has been named its player of the year. McCarty was honored in 2017. Collier, however, is clearly in the conversation for this year's award.
Before the season topped off, the 6-foot-5 Collier was one of six unanimous additions to the Big 12 preseason team. She's averaging 21.6 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Among Big 12 standouts, only Iowa State guard Ashley Joens (24.6 ppg) has a better scoring average. West Virginia forward Esmery Martinez's 12.8 rebounds per game lead the conference.
In the Iowa State game, Collier had secured a double-double with 6:42 left in the second quarter. She now has 10 double-doubles this season. That's tied for the national lead.
In Ames on Saturday, she outshined Joens in a showdown between two of the conference's top players. Joens was limited by foul trouble and finished with 17 points, 11 of which came in the final quarter.
After UT's 70-59 win, Texas coach Vic Schaefer was asked if Collier is the best player in the Big 12. He said if Texas was picking first in a draft of the conference's players, Collier would remain a Longhorn.
"She's one of the best players in the country," Schaefer said. "I'm not trading her for anybody. I want her. If I've got the first pick of everybody in the league, I'm taking her. I'm always going to support her and say that. I think she's continuing to grow and get better."
Collier describes herself as a "humble and modest kid," so she wasn't willing to anoint herself as the Big 12's best on Saturday night. She said that she would let her play do her campaigning.
"If you're watching me play basketball, I feel like a lot of people know that I'm a good basketball player," Collier said. "I don't like to boast or brag, I just let my game do that talking. At the end of the day, I know how good I am and I know how good I can be. These past couple games, I've shown how good of a basketball player I am."
Texas will travel to Oklahoma State on Wednesday. The Cowgirls (9-5, 5-3) are led by Natasha Mack, a 6-foot-4 forward who's averaging 19.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and a conference-leading 3.8 blocks per game.
Contact Danny Davis at 512-445-3952. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or @aasdanny.