Bank Of The West Weekly Volleyball Honors

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — STANFORD's Karissa Cook was named the Bank of the West Pac-12 Women's Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week; UCLA's Lainey Gera was selected the Defensive Player of the Week; and CALIFORNIA's Christina Higgins was voted the Freshman of the Week, Commissioner Larry Scott announced today. The weekly honors reflect performances for the week of Oct. 10-16.

Weekly awards have been selected every week since the Conference began sponsoring women's volleyball in 1986. The offensive, defensive and freshman of the week honors are new for the 2011 campaign.

Junior Karissa Cook (Santa Cruz, Calif.) directed the Cardinal offense in wins over Washington State and then-No. 2 Washington last weekend. Cook averaged 11.00 assists per set, 1.00 kills on a .445 hitting percentage and 1.75 points per set. She also posted 3.16 digs and 0.83 blocks per set. Against WSU, she racked up 36 assists, three kills and six digs as Stanford defeated the Cougars for the 17th-straight time. She helped the then-seventh-ranked Cardinal defeat UW by finishing with 30 assists and hit a career-high .556 (5-0-9) in the match. She also added 13 digs and four blocks. The junior is now tied for the Conference lead with 11 double-doubles on the year.

Senior Lainey Gera (San Jose, Calif.) recorded 6.43 digs per set in a pair of victories for the then-sixth-ranked Bruins against the Oregon schools, including 28 versus the 16th-ranked Ducks on Saturday. Gera leads the Bruins with 4.97 digs per set and surpassed the 1,700-career digs mark. With 45 on the weekend, the senior is second on UCLA's all-time list with 1,717 digs. Gera opened the week with 17 digs, five assists and an ace against Oregon State on Friday. She followed up with an unbelievable final three sets to help the Bruins to a four-set victory over UO. With the Ducks going away from her and recording just one dig in the first set, Gera produced 27 digs in the last three stanzas includ-ing 10 in the fourth.

Stepping in for an injured veteran, Christina Higgins (Inglewood, Calif.) continues to be a major factor on the Golden Bears' offense. Last weekend, she averaged 2.71 kills per set in wins over the Washington and Washington State. In the upset of the Huskies, Higgins laced 13 kills, in addition to one assist and a pair of digs. She tallied six kills in the three-set win over WSU. Higgins continues to swing with confidence and is second on the team with 57 attempts, behind on-ly All-American Tarah Murrey.

Cook is the second player to earn offensive and defensive weekly honors this year, earning the defensive nod on Sept. 5. It is her second-career weekly honor and Stanford's 77th all-time. Gera is the second Bruin to be awarded the de-fensive weekly award. It is her second-career weekly citation and UCLA's 58th. Higgins has been named freshman of the week for the second time this season, receiving her first recognition on Oct. 3.

With the second half of the Pac-12 schedule getting underway this weekend, second-ranked California and fifth-ranked Stanford travel to face Arizona and Arizona State this weekend. Sixth-ranked UCLA remains at home to close out a four-match home stretch, hosting Colorado and Utah.

Also Nominated:
- Courtney Karst, ARIZ; Tarah Murrey, CAL; Ariana Williams, ORE; Camille Saxton, OSU; Tabi Love, UCLA; Alex Jupiter, USC; Erin Redd, UTAH.

- Candice Nicholson, ARIZ; Robin Rostratter, CAL; Katherine Fischer, ORE; Becky Defoe, OSU; Carly Wopat, STAN; Natalie Hagglund, USC; Erin Redd, UTAH.

- Chloe Mathis, ARIZ; Liz Brenner, ORE; Morgan Boukather, STAN; Priscilla Duke-Ezeji, UCLA; Chelsey Schofield, UTAH.

2011 Pac-12 Women's Volleyball Player of the Week
Date Offensive Defensive Freshman
Aug. 29 Alaina Bergsma, ORE Bianca Rowland, WASH Krista Vansant, WASH
Sept. 5 Rachael Kidder, UCLA Karissa Cook, STAN Krista Vansant, WASH
Sept. 12 Rachel Williams, STAN Carly Wopat, STAN Arica Nassar, OSU
Sept. 19 Alaina Bergsma, ORE Robin Rostratter, CAL Chloe Mathis, ARIZ
Sept. 26 Kendall Bateman, USC Kelly Reeve, UCLA Zoe Nightingale, UCLA
Oct. 3 Carly Wopat, STAN Bianca Rowland, WASH Christina Higgins, CAL
Oct. 10 Tarah Murrey, CAL Kat Brown, CAL Madi Kingdon, ARIZ
Oct. 17 Karissa Cook, STAN Lainey Gera, UCLA Christina Higgins, CAL
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