Dec. 4, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - On a weekly basis, IUHOOSIERS.com will recognize the top performance in Hoosier Athletics by selecting an IU Athlete of the Week. For the week ending Dec. 3, junior guard Nikki Smith is the winner. This is the first honor for Smith and the IU women's basketball team this season.
Smith has scored in double-figures in seven of IU's eight games, including 15 points vs. Evansville on Nov. 30, and a game-high 18 points at Notre Dame on Dec. 3. She sank a jumper with 35 seconds left in the game, sealing the 54-51 Hoosier win over the Fighting Irish. Twelve of her 18 points against Notre dame came in the second half of play.
The 5-9 guard is currently averaging a team-high 14.0 points per game, and is shooting 44.4 percent (36-of-81) from the field and a team-best 40.0 percent (20-of-50) from the three-point line.
The Hoosiers return to action when the visit Bowling Green State on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Tipoff against the Falcons is set for 7 p.m. (EST).
Smith was one of many Hoosier athletes that turned in strong performances on the week, including D.J. White (men's basketball), Leila Vaziri (women's swimming) and Angel Escobedo (wresting).
F - Jr. - Tuscaloosa, Ala. - Hillcrest
Junior D.J. White recorded his fourth-career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against Charlotte. It is his second double-double this season, with his last coming against Chicago State on Nov. 19 (18 pts., 11 rebs.). White led a dominant IU defense, which has outrebounded its first six opponents this season and held Duke (31.8%) and Charlotte (34.4%) under 35 percent from the floor. The Tuscaloosa, Ala., native has started all six games this season and leads the Hoosiers with 12.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
Sr. - Coral Springs, Fla. - Coral Springs
Leila Vaziri put forth a solid showing at the prestigious U.S. Open this weekend, highlighted by her second-place finish in the 100-meter backstroke. Vaziri posted NCAA A cut times in both the prelims (1:03.52) and finals, finishing second in the finals behind only 2004 Olympic gold medalist Kristy Coventry of Zimbabwe. Her finals time of 1:02.05 was the fourth-best in school history in the event. Vaziri also earned finals swims in the 200-meter backstroke and 100-meter freestyle, posting a fifth-place finish in the C-Final of the 200 back (21st overall) and a fourth-place finish in the B-Final of the 100 free (12th overall). Her times in both the 200 back and the 100 free were both NCAA B cuts, while her 2:19.93 mark in the 200 back was the sixth-best in school history. Vaziri also competed in the prelims of the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly on the weekend.
R-Fr. - Griffith, Ind. - 125 pounds
Escobedo, the reigning Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week, turned in a strong performance at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, finishing in second place at the elite tournament. He knocked off his first four opponents, including 19th-ranked Pat Castillo of Northern Illinois and fourth-ranked Tanner Gardner of Stanford. Escobedo is now 14-2 on the season.