DALLAS (USBWA) Two recipients from Pac-12 schools and a multi-repeat winner highlighted the annual U.S. Basketball Writers Association women's awards news conference Friday at the American Airlines Center preceeding the NCAA national semifinals in the arena.

Washington's Kelsey Plum took the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the national player of the year, Connecticut's Geno Auriemma took the National Coach of the Year Award for a sixth time, and Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu took the National Freshman of the Year honor.

Two other awards previously announced were also presented.

CoSIDA's Barb Kowal, who also worked as the women's liason for the Connecticut and Texas basketball programs, received the Mary Jo Haverbeck Award that goes to someone outside the organization who has been helpful with media coverage. It is the equivalent of the Katha Quinn Award on the men's side.

The Haverbeck Award is named for the late pioneering women's public relations person at Penn State.

Appalachian State coach Angel Elderkin and ESPN broadcaster Holly Rowe shared the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, the first time it was given to two recipients, and in the case of Rowe, a Utah graduate, the first time on the women's side a recipient was not an athlete or coach.

Plum, a native of Poway, Calif., in recently concluding her collegiate career with a 25.4 scoring average 31.7 this season · finished with an all-time NCAA-best total of 3,527 career points and this past season a mark of 1,109 points. She is the fourth Pac-12 player to win the player of the year award, joining Jennifer Azzi (Stanford, 1990), Lisa Leslie (USC, 1994) and Kate Starbird (Stanford, 1997).

Ionescu, a guard from Walnut Creek, Calif., averaged 14.6 point and 6.6 assists in helping to lead Oregon on a surprising run to the NCAA Elite Eight before being eliminated by Connecticut in the Bridgeport Regional.

Auriemma was an overwhelming winner, continuing an expanded USBWA record as a six-time honoree, including each of the last two seasons. Many say this season was his best job of all of them in leading the Huskies to a 36-0 record arriving here for Friday night's national semifinal against Mississippi State.

Since he was busy preparing for the game, his wife Kathy accepted on Auriemma's behalf and the Huskies carry a record 111-game win streak into the Final Four.

Ann Meyers Drysdale, the Hall of Famer, was on hand to help present Plum with the national player of the year award before rushhing back to Arizona to receive the Naismith Award at the men's Final Four. Oregon assistant coach Mark Campbell accepted on behalf of Ionescu.

LSU women's coach Nikki Fargas, who was at Tennessee when Elderkin was an assistant, introduced the Appalachian State coach while Doris Burke, part of the ESPN broadcast team, introduced Rowe.

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.

Related link:
All-time USBWA women's honors