INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – This season, with a later
start than usual due to the uneven landscape caused by the coronavirus,
we also announce an expansion of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s
weekly honors under a committee headed by Mel Greenberg, the USBWA
coordinator for women’s basketball, choosing as in the past the
Ann Meyers Drysdale Women’s national player, the organization’s
Tamika Catchings freshman player, and new, the USBWA’s women’s program
of the week.
As in the past, nominees will be drawn largely from the conference
winners, but now also from individual submissions from the committee
into the pool for a final vote.
That said, as we begin the new year with a new system, for the
season’s first honorees for games ending Sunday, January 3, the
U.S. Basketball Writers Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's
National Player of the Week goes to UCLA forward Michaela
Onyenwere, the organization's Tamika Catchings women's
freshman player honor goes to Iowa guard Caitlin Clark,
and our first ever USBWA women’s team citation goes to the University
of Kentucky for performances in the voting period.
Onyenwere, a 6-0 senior forward out of Aurora, Colo., in the
then-No. 11 Bruins’ lone game, scored a career-high 33 points, shooting
12-of-20 (.600), from the field, including the game-winner, and
grabbed 10 rebounds for her 27th career double double in the road
upset of then No. 8 Oregon. She was also a perfect 8-for-8 from
the line, earning Pac-12 player honors as UCLA flipped back into
the Top 10 of the A.P. Women’s Poll at 9th and knocked the Ducks
out of the same group for the first time since the 2017 season.
Clark, a 6-0 freshman guard from West Des Moines, Iowa, averaged
24.5 points, five rebounds, and five assists, earning Big Ten freshman
honors, in Hawkeyes wins over Rutgers and Illinois. She had 28 points
and six rebounds and six assists against the Scarlet Knights, and
impacted with 12 of Iowa’s final 21 points in the six-point triumph
over the Illini. Her Big Ten citation is her fifth this season,
each week the Hawkeyes played.
The winner of the first-ever USBWA women’s team of the week award
goes to the University of Kentucky, which then
at No. 13, upset then-No. 10 Arkansas 75-64 at home and then-No.
12 Mississippi State 92-86 in overtime on the road to improve to
9-1 overall in the first week of Southeastern Conference action
and then moved up to 10th in the AP Women’s Poll. Former USBWA national
freshman of the year Rhyne Howard averaged 28 points and 10 rebounds
and in Sunday’s win, 25 of her 33 points, came after the third quarter,
earning SEC honors and very strong consideration for the USBWA Drysdale
Award. The Wildcats are in their first season under former Tennessee
star Kyra Elzy following the retirement of Matthew Mitchell.
Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a women’s National
Player of the Year. For the 2012-13 season, the national and weekly
player award became named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American
Ann Meyers Drysdale while this is the first season the national
and weekly freshman award is being given in the name of former Tennessee
all-American Tamika Catchings.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name
finalists for both individual awards, which is voted on by the entire
membership of the USBWA.
The winners of the 2021 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of
the Year and Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Year will
be announced and presented at the USBWA’s annual awards event on
site at the 2021 NCAA Women's Final Four.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was
formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter
Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America
team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA
and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran
2020-21 USBWA Women's Weekly Honors
Week ending Jan. 3: Michaela Onyenwere, UCLA (National); Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman);
• Week ending Jan. 10: Naz
Hillmon, Michigan (National); Charlisse Leger-Walker, Washington State (Freshman);
Washington State (Team)
• Week ending Jan.
17: Ashley Joens, Iowa State (National); Frida Formann, Colorado (Freshman); Iowa
• Week ending Jan. 24: Dana Evans,
Louisville (National); Paige Bueckers, UConn (Freshman); UCLA (Team)
Week ending Jan. 31: Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas (National);
Paige Bueckers, UConn (Freshman); Arkansas (Team)
Week ending Feb. 7: Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State (National);
Paige Bueckers, UConn (Freshman); Texas A&M (Team)
Week ending Feb. 14: Paige Bueckers, UConn (National);
Paige Bueckers, UConn and Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman); UConn (Team)
Week ending Feb. 21: Maddy Siegrist, Villanova and
Kierstan Bell, Florida Gulf Coast (National); Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman); Oregon
• Week ending Feb. 28: Iimar'i
Thomas, Cincinnati; Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman); Texas A&M (Team)