ST. LOUIS (USBWA) Four senior standouts and a junior repeat member were named to the 2018-19 U.S. Basketball Writers Association Women's All-America first team, and three of the five members will be in action this weekend at the Final Four in Tampa, Fla. The 32nd annual team includes six players whose teams are at the Final Four · three from the first team, two from the second team and one third-team member.
Six different conferences are represented on the team, which for the first time the USBWA composed into three teams to honor 15 players. The Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conferences lead the way with three members each on the combined rosters, with the Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic Conference and Big Ten Conferences contributing two apiece. Connecticut and Baylor, both Final Four entries, each have two members on the senior-laden team. Eleven of the 15 members are seniors to go with three juniors and a sophomore.
The five first-team selections will contend for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award given to the USBWA's National Player of the Year. Along with the National Freshman of the Year and National Coach of the Year, the announcement of the winner will come Friday in Tampa. The Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner will be formally presented with the award at the USBWA College Basketball Awards Dinner on April 15, hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu is back on the first team as a two-time All-American. Ionescu is the two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, averaging 19.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game, and most recently scored 31 points Sunday against Mississippi State to send the Ducks (33-4) to the Final Four. That game was also the final one for Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State's first-team center who became MSU's all-time field goal shooting percentage leader. McCowan averaged 18.4 points and was second nationally at 13.5 rebounds per game and posted 31 double-doubles and 70 in her career.
Also Final Four-bound are first-team members Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame and UConn's Napheesa Collier. Ogunbowale, a second-team All-American last year, is one of five Division I players to average more than 20 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals, scoring 20-plus points 21 times to help guide Notre Dame to the ACC regular-season and tournament titles. Collier leads UConn with 21.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game with 24 double-doubles while shooting 61.5 percent from the field. The AAC's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year is UConn's single-season rebounds record-holder now with 398 and counting this year.
Iowa's Megan Gustafson finishes off the first team after a second-team nod a year ago. The nation's scoring leader at 27.9 points per game also ranks in the top three nationally in seven other statistical categories, including field goal percentage (1st, 70.1), double-doubles (1st, 33) and rebounds per game (T-2nd, 13.5).
Final Four participants Katie Lou Samuelson of UConn and Kalani Brown of Baylor headline the second team. Samuelson, a first-team All-American last year, and Collier, both seniors, have led the Huskies to a 12th consecutive Final Four and are 145-4 in their careers heading into Tampa.
Samuelson is second at UConn with 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game and leads the team with 86 three-pointers. Heading into Tampa, Samuelson and Collier have combined for 4,708 career points, the most by a pair of classmates in UConn history. Brown, a second-team All-American last year, will likely leave Baylor as its all-time leader in field goal percentage, currently hitting 60.9 percent of her shots. Brown averages 15.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
Louisville's Asia Durr returns to the All-America team, this time as a second-team member after first-team recognition a year ago. Durr finished her career as the two-time ACC Player of the Year averaging 21.2 points per game, the fourth-highest average in school history, and ranks second in career scoring with 2,485 points and 374 made three-pointers. Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter made the second team after setting her school's scoring record at 23.3 points per game, eighth-best in the nation. Carter, the only sophomore on the All-America team, also set five other Texas A&M records this season. Cal's Kristine Anigwe, a second-teamer and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, led the nation in rebounding at 16.2 rebounds per game, almost three boards ahead of any other player.
Baylor's Lauren Cox, one of three juniors honored, is Final Four-bound as a third-team member. Cox was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season and averages 12.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. The Big 12's Player of the Year, Bridget Carleton of Iowa State, also earned third-team recognition after leading the Big 12 in scoring with 21.7 points per game, which broke ISU's season scoring record with 760 points. She ranks in the top five of Iowa State's record book in five categories.
Kaila Charles led Maryland to its fourth Big Ten regular-season title in five years and led the Terps in scoring with 17.5 points per game. She and Gustafson were the only two players to earn unanimous selections to the All-Big Ten first team. Stanford's Alanna Smith was the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and led the Cardinal to its 13th Pac-12 Tournament title. The team's scoring leader at 19.5 points per game also shot 51.5 percent from the field and was one of only two players nationally to average 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Sophie Cunningham closed her Missouri career as its all-time scoring leader with 2,187 points. She ranks in the top four in school history in six other career categories.
Following is the complete 2018-19 USBWA Women's All-America Team:
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association, formed in 1956, has named a women's All-America team since the 1987-88 season. The association has also named a national player of the year now known as the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award · since 1987-88 and a national coach of the year since 1989-90. In 2002-03, the USBWA initiated an award for the nation's top freshman. For more information on the USBWA and its awards, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
• All-Time USBWA Women's All-America Teams