Some performances are just too good to ignore, no matter how far outside the mainstream they might be.
Coastal Carolina's DJ Williams had two of them in a three-day span.
The 5-foot-10 senior guard scored a school-record 51 points in Thursday's win over Troy. She added the third triple-double in program history in Saturday's victory over South Alabama. Is it any wonder she's espnW's national player of the week?
That's right: a 50-point game and a triple-double in the same week. That's Russell Westbrook and James Harden kind of stuff, except Williams was far more efficient than what you might see in a typical Houston Rockets game. She needed only 48 shots to score 73 points in the Chanticleers' two pivotal wins.
Williams is a relentless pursuer of the rim, attacking the basket with an array of crossover, spin-dribble and pivot moves with the ability to finish adeptly and frequently with either hand. As the sport has moved more toward long-range shooting, Williams has stayed old-school. Her Sun Belt Conference-leading 18.9 points per game come with just 33 attempts from 3-point range. Williams' line of choice is the one 15 feet from the basket. Only eight players in the country get to the free throw line more often than Williams, who is a 79.3% free throw shooter (134-of-169).
In the 124-103 shootout win over Troy, Williams made 15 of 18 free throws and was 16-for-31 from the field, adding eight assists and seven rebounds without a turnover. The 51 points -- which topped the previous single-game school record (45, by Andrea Singleton in 1985-86) -- were the most in a Sun Belt Conference game and the most by any Division I player since 2018. They also came at the perfect time for Coastal Carolina.
Since opening the Sun Belt season with a loss to Troy, Coastal Carolina has been in pursuit. Thanks to Williams and a now six-game winning streak, the Chanticleers have caught the Trojans. The teams remain atop the league standings at 11-2 with five games left in the regular season.
"When you play the first-place team, you have to want it," Williams said after the game. "Tonight, we just wanted it more."
The same could be said of her effort against South Alabama on Saturday, in which she scored five of the Chanticleers' final six points to turn a 70-70 tie with 1:30 left into a 76-73 victory. That moved Coastal Carolina to 21-3 and tied the program record for wins in a season. Williams finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
The road has been long, both literally and figuratively, for Williams and her success in Conway, South Carolina. An outstanding high school player in California, she committed to play at UC Santa Barbara, but when the Gauchos changed coaches before she played a game, Williams traded one coast for the other. Then, before her freshman season began, she was diagnosed with ovarian teratoma cancer. A year later, after three months of chemotherapy treatments, Williams returned to basketball. By her sophomore season, her game was flourishing once again, and it has only continued to get better since then.
Williams, whose previous scoring high this season was 31 points in a Jan. 18 win over Appalachian State, seems like a lock for Sun Belt player of the year. Not only does she lead the league in scoring, but she's also tops in steals and second in assists -- and she's climbing the Coastal Carolina record books. At her current pace, and if the Chanticleers play eight more games, Williams would finish her career as the school's second all-time scorer.
An eighth game could also mean something else: a Sun Belt Conference tournament championship and the program's first trip to the NCAA tournament.
Also considered: Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M; Ruthy Hebard, Oregon; Rhyne Howard, Kentucky; Francesca Pan, Georgia Tech; Kiana Williams, Stanford
Previous winners: Kiah Gillespie, Florida State (Feb. 10); Naz Hillmon, Michigan (Feb. 3); Tyasha Harris, South Carolina (Jan. 27); Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (Jan. 20); Ja'Tavia Tapley, Arizona State (Jan. 13); Rhyne Howard, Kentucky (Jan. 6); Kaila Charles, Maryland (Dec. 30); Charli Collier, Texas (Dec. 23); Ashley Joens, Iowa State (Dec. 16); Megan Walker, UConn (Dec. 9); Dana Evans, Louisville (Dec. 2); Jaelyn Brown, Cal (Nov. 25); Aari McDonald, Arizona (Nov. 18); Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (Nov. 11)