ST. LOUIS (USBWA) For the season's fourth U.S. Basketball Writers Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week and the organization's women's freshman player honor, Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu is national player while Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard has been tabbed for the freshman citation after each was involved in helping their teams go unbeaten in games ending the week of Sunday, Dec. 23.
The USBWA weekly honors for Division I women's players will be handed out each Tuesday this season.
As the Pac-12 Conference player and Southeastern Conference freshman weekly winners, both were nominated for the awards, which were chosen by Mel Greenberg, the USBWA coordinator for women's basketball, primarily from a pair of lists of Division I conference players and freshmen players of the week.
Ionescu, a 5-11 junior guard and past USBWA national freshman honoree from Walnut Creek, Calif., in three games averaged 17.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 10.7 assists. Against then-No. 4 Mississippi State at home her 29 points helped snap the Bulldogs 46-game non-conference win streak and propel the Ducks back into the top five of this week's AP Poll at fifth. She also set Oregon and Pac-12 marks shooting 17-for-17 from the foul line. Following up, she set a new NCAA record for men or women with her 13th triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists against Air Force and then topped that mark 24 hours later with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists against UC Irvine.
Howard, a 6-2 guard from Cleveland, Tenn., averaged 21.5 points in two games. She scored 25 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field, including five three-pointers, and grabbed four rebounds in a win over Murray State. She also scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had three steals and three assists in a win over Western Carolina. She is only the second Wildcat to to earn four SEC freshman of the week awards and first to do so prior to the start of the conference schedule.
Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a women's National Player of the Year. For the 2012-13 season, the national and weekly player award has been named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale. At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA. The winner of the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWAs annual awards event in Tampa, site of the 2019 NCAA Women·s Final Four.
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. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
2018-19 USBWA Women's Players of the Week
Week ending Dec. 2: Christyn Williams, UConn (National); Dorka Juh·sz, Ohio State (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 9: Jenna Allen, Michigan State (National); Taylor Sutton, Middle Tennessee (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 16: Alanna Smith, Stanford (National); Chrislyn Carr, Texas Tech (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 23: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (National); Rhyne Howard, Kentucky (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 30: Dionna White, Georgetown (National); Nia Clouden, Michigan State (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 6: Phoebe Sterba, Penn (National); Sienna Durr, Columbia (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 13: Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse (National); Shakira Austin, Maryland (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 20: Shrita Parker, UNCW (National); Christianna Carr, Kansas State (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 27: Paris Kea, North Carolina (National); Elissa Cunana, N.C. State (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 3: Bella Alarie, Princeton (National); Ciaja Harbison, Saint Louis (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 10: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (National); Ajah Wayne, Old Dominion (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 17: Megan Gustafson, Iowa (National); Madisen Smith, West Virginia (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 24: Kay Kay Wright, UCF (National); Jada McMillian, Charlotte (Freshman)
· Week ending March 3: Kristine Anigwe, California (National); Christianna Carr, Kansas State (Freshman)