April 6, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
New award to be created to honor Haverbeck
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NASHVILLE (USBWA)Muffet McGraw, in what was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding year at Notre Dame, ended up guiding the Irish on an unbeaten run through their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference straight to another trip to the Women's Final Four. Sophomore Breanna Stewart followed a sensational finish in Connecticut's 2013 championship to become the dominant Huskies star on an equal run of perfection to Nashville.

For both performances, McGraw repeated as the USBWA Women's National Coach of the year while Stewart became the third sophomore to earn the Ann Meyers-Drysdale National Player of the Year Award. Meanwhile, North Carolina's Diamond DeShields garnered honors from the 100 ballots received as the USBWA National Freshman of the Year.

All three honors were announced at the annual USBWA women's awards presentation, which was in the Bridgestone Arena, Sunday afternoon prior to the start of the Women's Final Four.

Meyers-Drysdale helped present the player of the year award to UConn athletic directors Warde Manuel and Deb Corum, who accepted for Stewart as she prepared to play. Likewise, McGraw's husband Matt accepted prior to Notre Dame's game against ACC-rival Maryland.

Additionally, Westmont College coach Kirsten Moore received the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, previously announced.

It is McGraw's third honor and she joins UConn's Geno Auriemma and Baylor's Kim Mulkey as back-to-back winners. In this year's vote she edged out Auriemma and South Carolina's Dawn Staley, while Stewart and DeShields were clear winners.

Stewart joins former Tennessee great Candace Parker and former UConn standout Maya Moore as the only three to earn the USBWA's player of the year as a sophomore.

It was also announced that a new award will join the lineup next season. The Mary Jo Haverbeck Award will be the women's version of the Katha Quinn Award on the USBWA men's side given to those who provide special service to USBWA or sportswriters – in this instance – covering women's basketball.

Haverbeck was a longtime Penn State sports information director in women's basketball who died in January after a brief illness.

"When we began to put names on awards, we had already decided Mary Jo would be honored with this one and we were waiting to see if we could get her back to a Final Four to surprise her," said Mel Greenberg, the USBWA coordinator for women's basketball. "While we could not get the honor in place quick enough while Mary Jo lived, we are thrilled to establish a lasting memory to her from USBWA. Special thanks to Malcolm Moran and Jim O'Connell, who founded the Katha Quinn Award for their support of the Haverbeck Award creation on our side,"

"Mary Jo played a instrumental role in helping increase the awareness of women's athletics and growing the following of women's basketball among the general public and the media in Pennsylvania and nationally," said Jeff Nelson, Penn State assistamt athletic director for communcations.

"Mary Jo saw the potential draw of women's basketball as a great opportunity to increase media exposure for the sport and she was passionate and persistent in building relationships with regional and national media to further boost interest in the sport, while she was at Penn State and after her "retirement."

"Everyone who was fortunate enough to know Mary Jo is very appreciative of the USBWA for creating this well-deserved honor in recognition of Mary Jo and her important role in the growth of women's basketball," Nelson said.

Former ESPN executive Rosa Gatti was among some of Haverbeck's contemporaries who spoke at the arena.

Haverbeck also served a long stint on the NCAA's SID staff under Rick Nixon at the women's finals. After her retirement she wrote for the Blue/White Illustrated at Penn State.

CoSIDA recently announced her name would be put on the organization's Trailblazer Award while on Monday Penn State women's coach Coquese Washington on Haverbeck's behalf will accept the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Mel Greenberg Media Award that goes to an individual in the various media professions who positively inpacts coverage of women's basketball.

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. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

1988 Sue Wicks, Rutgers
1989 Clarissa Davis, Texas
1990 Jennifer Azzi, Stanford
1991 Dawn Staley, Virginia
1992 Dawn Staley, Virginia
1993 Sheryl Swoopes, Texas Tech
1994 Lisa Leslie, USC
1995 Rebecca Lobo, Connecticut
1996 Saudia Roundtree, Georgia
1997 Kate Starbird, Stanford
1998 Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
1999 Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
2000 Tamika Catchings, Tennessee
2001 Ruth Riley, Notre Dame
2002 Sue Bird, Connecticut
2003 Diana Taurasi, Connecticut
2004 Alana Beard, Duke
2005 Seimone Augustus, LSU
2006 Ivory Latta, North Carolina
2007 Candace Parker, Tennessee
2008 Candace Parker, Tennessee
2009 Maya Moore, Connecticut
2010 Tina Charles, Connecticut
2011 Maya Moore, Connecticut
2012 Brittney Griner, Baylor
2013 Brittney Griner, Baylor
2014 Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
The award was named in honor of Ann Meyers Drysdale in 2012