Excelle’s athletes of the week: Maggie Nichols stuns in gymnastics debut for top spot

With plenty of women’s sports action going on around the globe, we would like to spotlight three female athletes for what they did in the last week. We decided to award our own gold, silver and bronze medals for athletes of the week.

Gold: Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma gymnastics)

Nichols had a dazzling debut for Oklahoma on Friday against Alabama, highlighted by a near perfect exercise on the uneven bars. Nichols finished the meet with her first collegiate all-around title as well as event wins on bars (9.975) and floor exercise (9.950). She posted a team-high on balance beam and scored a 9.9 on vault. Her all-around total of 39.725 was the best in the country after the opening weekend of competition. Nichols and the rest of the Sooners face Madison Kocian and the UCLA Bruins this weekend.

Silver: Kelsey Plum (Washington basketball)

Plum helped the Washington Huskies to a 2-0 record over the last week. The senior posted 34 points and five rebounds in Washington’s 77-76 win against USC on Friday. She added a team-high five assists and chipped in three steals. Plum had a team-best 39 points to propel No. 12 Washington past No. 9 UCLA. She was 13 of 26 from the field and was 5 of 13 from three-point range. Her performance earned her Naismith Trophy and Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.

Bronze: Bethanie Mattek-Sands (tennis)

Mattek-Sands teamed up with partner Sania Mirza to defeat Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 6-2, 6-3. The victory pushed the American into the top spot in the world rankings, overtaking her partner Mirza, who had been the No 1–ranked doubles player for 91 consecutive weeks.

Just off the Podium: MyKayla Skinner (Utah gymnastics), Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon basketball), Jessie Diggins (Nordic skiing), Mikaela Shiffrin (skiing), Karolina Pliskova (tennis),

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