Editor's note: Charlie Creme, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel each vote to determine espnW's national player of the week, which is awarded every week of the women's college basketball season.
Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks, in his first year with the Hokies after 14 seasons at James Madison, knew what a weapon he had in guard Chanette Hicks. Before this season began, he called the 5-foot-6 sophomore, "Probably one of the fastest players I've ever coached in my life."
But Brooks' goal was for Hicks to temper her speed at times to see the game better. So far, Hicks appears to be doing just that.
After victories against Charleston and No. 17 Tennessee in which Hicks played a key role, she is the espnW national player of the week. The Hokies are off to a 6-0 start and seem to be making the preseason prediction of a 12th-place finish in the ACC look quite a ways off.
In winning at Charleston 71-61 on Tuesday, Hicks had 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting, with three assists and six steals. Sunday, Virginia Tech beat Tennessee for the second year in a row, a 67-63 victory in Blacksburg, Virginia. Hicks had 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting, with three assists and a career-high eight steals. The Hokies were at a height disadvantage, but made up for it with their quickness, scoring 21 points off Tennessee's 21 turnovers.
Last year, Virginia Tech won 57-43 at Tennessee, and Hicks had nine points, seven rebounds and three steals. She finished her freshman year with 91 steals, a single-season school record. Her 2.84 steals per game ranked 16th in the nation, and second among freshmen.
This season, Hicks is averaging 18.8 points, 3.7 assists and 4.7 steals. She is from Norfolk, Virginia, and committed to play at Virginia Tech while still a sophomore at Maury High School. She visited Blacksburg as often as she could while still in high school to get to know her future teammates, and was ready for her role with the Hokies once she got to college.
Now, after the change in head coaches from Dennis Wolff to Brooks, Hicks has adjusted very well.
"I thought their defense was solid, they were scrappy, and they made us turn it over," Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said of the Hokies. "Hicks is super quick, and we're not good right now defending ball penetration. I'm not going to take anything away from them; they played hard and did what they needed to do."
Also considered: Nia Coffey, Northwestern; Tori Jankoska, Michigan State; Alexis Jones, Baylor; Kelsey Plum, Washington
Previous winners: Notre Dame's Ogunbowale (Nov. 21)