INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) For the season's fifth 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, Minnesota guard/forward Destiny Pitts is national player while Kansas State center Ayoka Lee has been tabbed for the freshman citation after each helped their teams go unbeaten ending the week of Sunday, Dec. 15.
The USBWA weekly honors for Division I women's players will be handed out each Tuesday this season.
As the Big Ten Conference player and Big 12 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.
Pitts, a 5-10 junior guard-forward from Detroit, averaged 21.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.5 steals in a pair of wins at George Washington and at home against UC Davis. She tied a career-high with seven assists in the road victory over the Colonials. Though she received her first Big Ten weekly award Monday, she is a past USBWA national freshman of the week winner in the 2017-18 season and is listed on the initial USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale national women's player watch list for this season.
Lee, a 6-5 redshirt freshman center from Byron, Minn., gained a career-high 24 points and matched a career mark with 14 rebounds and also blocked a pair of shots besides setting another career mark shooting 12-of-13 free throws in Kansas State's win at Kansas City in the Wildcats' first appearance in Municipal Auditorium since 2012. Her 12 made foul shots are the most at Kansas State in four seasons. Leading Big 12 freshmen in rebounds (11.1), blocks (30) and blocks per game (3.3), she has won four straight weekly freshman honors from the conference, topped only by Texas' Joyner Holmes with five in 2017 and equaled with four by former Oklahoma star Courtney Paris in 2006.
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)