Vol. 54, No. 4 May 2017 .pdf version
INSIDE THIS ISSUE ...
Vahe Gregorian: Changing times make USBWA vital
Joe Mitch: USBWA owes huge debt to Wayne Duke
Men: Mason, Ball, Few take USBWA's highest honors
Women: Plum earns top honors at Women's Final Four

Plum earns top honors at Women's Final Four

By MEL GREENBERG
poll416@gmail.com

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DALLAS – Several hours before the NCAA women's national semifinals here in the American Airlines Center, the arena interview room was the scene of presenting the annual USBWA women's awards.

Washington senior guard Kelsey Plum, the new NCAA women's career scoring record holder, was named the Ann Meyers Drysdale national player of the year. The former UCLA Hall of Famer was on hand to make the introduction.

"This isn't always just work," Plum said. "You have to have the right fit, you have to have the right team, you have to have the right coach, the right city, the right university. And God has been good to me, and for that I'm extremely grateful and just humbled.

"The ability to touch people and make a difference. The ability to inspire little boys and girls across the country. That was icing on the cake for this year."

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Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu was named the freshman of the year and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma won his sixth coach of the year honor.

In previously announced awards, Barb Kowal, a former Connecticut and Texas women's basketball publicist now with the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA), earned the Mary Jo Haverbeck Award named for the late Penn State pioneering women's basketball public relations staffer.

"Mary Jo was a mentor, a friend, and a colleague," Kowal said. "A very true trailblazer in the '70s and '80s. She knocked on doors to get coverage for women's basketball, probably pounded on doors to be honest, and the rest of us followed."

Also, ESPN's Holly Rowe and Appalachian State coach Angel Elderkin were co-winners of the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award named for the late Tennessee legendary coach who passed away last June.

Rowe, in an emotional acceptance speech, told a story of Summitt teaching her to use contact lenses.

"Growing up in Utah, I always appreciated that you can be tough and gracious and demanding at the same time," Rowe said. "That's what Pat Summitt taught me. She was everything to me because she was the first woman I saw on TV who was fierce and could yell and demand and look perfect and win."

Elderkin spoke of her time with Summitt: "One of the greatest lessons that she taught me and all those who have been around her is you win in life with the people you surround yourself with. I didn't do this alone. I did it with the people I surrounded myself with. And the two hours a day I got to coach my team was the best medicine anyone could have.

"It wasn't the chemo. It wasn't radiation. It was this game and the people that are in this game and the team I was able to coach. And the players that love me, supported me and drove me crazy along the way is what saved my life."

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