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Vol. 53, No. 4 • May 2016 • .pdf version
UConn's Stewart, Auriemma capture top women's honors
INDIANAPOLIS – Connecticut senior standout Breanna Stewart made United States Basketball Writers Association history, becoming the first women's star to win three Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year honors, named for UCLA Hall of Famer.
The former Bruins great helped present the award, as she has done annually since her name went on the award in 2012.
Geno Auriemma, who has guided the UConn program to 11NCAA titles, picked up his fifth USBWA National Coach of the Year award to lead the organization's list, which has Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw in second place with three previous presentations.
The two honors were among several others announced at the annual USBWA Women's Awards news conference, which held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, site of the NCAA Women's Final Four.
Because the event was held close to the scheduled time for the Huskies' tipoff against Oregon State in the first semifinal game before Washington met Syracuse, neither could attend the news conference to receive their plaques.
Former USBWA All-American Stefani Dolson, a recent teammate of Stewart, accepted on behalf of the native from Syracuse.
"On behalf of Breanna, I'd like to thank the basketball writers," Dolson said. "She deserves this award. She worked for everything she accomplished. She's something special. She's one of my really, really good friends. She worked so hard in every facet of this game and I'm sure she's so proud to get this award."
Auriemma, who will be coaching the USA women's squad for the second time in the Olympics this summer, won his 11th title, breaking the NCAA basketball record set by the late UCLA men's mentor John Wooden.
Connecticut started the day still alive in the quest to become the first women's team to win four straight NCAA titles.
The USBWA's National Freshman of the Year winner was also announced, with the honor going to California's Kristine Anigwe, a 6-foot-4 forward/center from Phoenix. During the season, she picked up a Pac- 12 record eight Freshman of the Week awards on the way to winning the rookie postseason award in the conference.
Her 20.3 points per game made her the highest scoring freshman in Cal history and she led all freshmen at Power 5 schools with 8.9 rebounds and was third overall nationally.
When told during of her honor, Angiwe responded, "I feel humbled and grateful to win this award.
"It was fun and challenging to play against some of the top players in the country this season. I couldn't have done it without the support from my teammates and coaches," she continued. "I'm blessed that they believed in me and I'm looking forward to building on what I learned this season while I live my dream playing at Cal."
Two winners previously announced also picked up their awards.
Danielle O'Banion, who is now between jobs after coaching at Kent State, is this year's winner of the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award. O'Banion in the fall of 2014 was diagnosed with lymphoma during a routine visit to her doctor. She continued to coach Kent State the entire season and this past May was declared cancer-free."
Caroline Williams, the primary media liaison for USA Basketball's women's programs, including the Olympic squad, among her other duties, is the second winner of the Mary Jo Haverbeck Award named for the late pioneering women's sports information director at Penn State.
The award is similar to the Katha Quinn Award on the men's side.
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