INDIANAPOLIS (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 Tamika Catchings women's freshman player honor, UConn forward Megan Walker is the national player while Penn guard Kayla Padilla has been tabbed for the freshman citation after each helped their team go unbeaten ending the week of Sunday, Dec. 8.
The USBWA weekly honors for Division I women's players will be handed out each Tuesday this season.
As the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week and the Ivy League freshman weekly winner, 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.
Walker, a 6-1 junior forward from Chesterfield, Va., averaged 27.5 points, nine rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks across a pair of wins first involving the 92-78 triumph at former and future Big East rival Seton Hall in which she scored 29 points, shooting 10-of-21 from the field for 47.6 percent. She followed at home in the 81-57 rout of national rival Notre Dame scoring 26 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, dealing four assists and swiping a pair of steals. In her season resume to date, she is the only player in The American averaging more than 20 points per game (22.1). In 2017 she was the nations top prospect when she arrived at UConn.
Padilla, a 5-9 point guard from Torrance, Calif., collected 68 points across three wins where she topped 20 points in each, shooting 55.3 percent (26-of-47) from the field, helping Penn extend its season start to 7-1. The Quakers stayed in town for each, beating Hartford, 74-46, and Stetson, 81-41, at home in The Palestra, and uptown at La Salle, a 65-49 Big Five victory to improve to 2-0 in the City Series. Already earning three Ivy awards as a newcomer, she is also a rarity as a dual recipient also claiming the Ivy player of the week and ranking in second, nationally, as a freshman in scoring with a 19.8 average.
Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a womens National Player of the Year. For the 2012-13 season, the national and weekly player award became named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale while this is the first season the national and weekly freshman award is being given in the name of former Tennessee all-American Tamika Catchings.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for both awards, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA.
The winners of the 2020 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year and Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWAs annual awards event in New Orleans, site of the 2020 NCAA Women's Final Four. Both winners will be honored at the USBWA Awards Luncheon hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis on April 13, 2020.
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 Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.
2019-20 USBWA Women's Players of the Week
Week ending Nov. 17: Aari McDonald, Arizona (National); Maddy Siegrist, Villanova (Freshman)
· Week ending Nov. 24: Stella Johnson, Rider (National); Aislynn Hayes, Middle Tennessee (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 1: Dana Evans, Louisville (National); Aliyah Boston, South Carolina (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 8: Megan Walker, UConn (National); Kayla Padilla, Penn (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 15: Destiny Pitts, Minnesota (National); Ayoka Lee, Kansas State (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 22: Charli Collier, Texas (National); Maddy Siegrist, Villanova (Freshman)
· Week ending Dec. 29: Kaila Charles, Maryland (National); Aislynn Hayes, Middle Tennessee (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 5: Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State (National); Taylor Jones, Oregon State (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 12: Ja'Tavia Tapley, Arizona State (National); Shemera Williams, Virginia (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 19: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (National); Amari Robinson, Clemson (Freshman)
· Week ending Jan. 26: Leaonna Odom, Duke (National); Ayoka Lee, Kansas State (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 2: Keishana Washington, Drexel (National); Aislynn Hayes, Middle Tennessee (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 9: Erica Ogwumike, Rice (National); Aliyah Boston, South Carolina (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 16: CJ Williams, Coastal Carolina (National); Abbey Hsu, Columbia (Freshman)
· Week ending Feb. 23: Bella Alarie, Princeton (National); Anna Makurat, UConn (Freshman)
· Week ending March 1: Rennia Davis, Tennessee (National); Sam Brunelle, Notre Dame (Freshman)