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