SPECIAL to Ellis County Sports Sports
FORT WORTH — Audrey Nalls has been invaluable in staking TCU to its best start to Big 12 play since 2016, and the conference took notice.
Nalls was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Tuesday.
The 6-1 outside hitter tallied 42 total kills and averaged six kills per set in TCU’s contests at No. 1 Texas and vs. Texas Tech on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively. Nalls led all players with 16 kills in the Horned Frogs’ defeat to the top-ranked Longhorns. She followed up the performance with a 27-point, 26-kill effort on .300 hitting in TCU’s four-set victory over the Red Raiders. Her 26 kills were a career-high.
She is the first repeat recipient of the award in the Big 12 this season. With Tuesday’s announcement, Nalls became the first player in program history since Anna Walsh in 2017 to receive multiple sets of weekly Big 12 accolades in the same season.
Nalls’ 26-kill onslaught of the Red Raiders was the apex of the best offensive performance of the fall for TCU (8-8, 3-2 Big 12). The Horned Frogs landed a season-high 69 kills against a .311 hitting percentage – also a season-best – while outscoring Texas Tech 87.5-67.
Six of Nalls’ kills came in the first 18 plays of the match to help steer TCU to a 1-0 match lead. Nalls laced home nine kills in a 29-27 fourth set that featured 12 lead changes.
Nalls was as efficient as she had been all year in set one against Texas. She hit .820 with six kills to help the Horned Frogs build an early 7-3 lead and stay within two points of the Longhorns as late as 21-19 in the frame.
No outside hitter has been as lethal as Nalls three weeks into Big 12 play. The Waxahachie native leads her conference peers in total kills (104), kills per set (5.20) and points per set (5.55). Nalls is averaging 20.4 kills per match and has finished with the match-high in kills in each of TCU’s five Big 12 affairs. Nalls recorded double-doubles in TCU’s first three conference contests.
Nalls’ latest award punctuates a memorable four-week stretch for the senior. She has finished with the team-high in kills in 10 of TCU’s last 11 contests dating back to its four-set win against Western Carolina on Sept. 8. In that stretch, Nalls has averaged 17.6 kills per match, hit at-or-above .300 five times, notched four double-doubles and eclipsed 20 kills on four occasions.
She currently leads the Horned Frogs in points (253.5), kills (229) and double-doubles and ranks third on the squad in digs (121).
Nalls’ cumulative kills tally ranks 97th nationally.
This is the fourth all-conference honor Nalls has received. She earned her first career Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week recognition on Sept. 27 after averaging 19 kills and recording double-doubles in TCU’s contests at No. 14 Baylor (Sept. 21) and vs. Iowa State (Sept. 24). As a freshman, she was chosen as the Big 12 Rookie of the Week for Sept. 8-15, 2019. Nalls also earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in the truncated 2020-21 season.
Nalls returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when TCU faces Kansas in Lawrence.