INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) For the season's ninth 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, Arizona State forward Ja'Tavia Tapley is the national player while Virginia guard Shemera Williams has been chosen for the freshman citation after each helped its team go unbeaten during the week ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 12.
As the Pac-12 player and ACC 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.
Tapley, a 6-3 senior forward out of Jacksonville, Fla. who played previously at USC, impacted Arizona State's historic weekend as the then-unranked Sun Devils upset then-No. 2 Oregon and then-No. 3 Oregon State at home in Tempe, the first time in Associated Press women's poll history an unranked team upset two Top 5 teams in consecutive games. She led the Sun Devils, averaging 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.0 percent from the field. She also aided the defense, holding Oregon's top-ranked scoring offense more than 23 points below its 89.3 average in the 72-66 victory. Two days later she had a team-high 14 points while helping to hold Oregon State to its lowest scoring total in the 55-47 triumph, nearly 30 points below the Beavers' 76.5 average, as the sweep returned Arizona State to this week's rankings at 18th.
Williams, a 5-8 freshman guard from Milwaukee, averaged 13.0 points, 5.0 steals, and shot a combined 9-for-18 from the field in wins over Duke and Boston College. In the triumph over the Blue Devils, she had nine points and nine steals – the thefts the most in any game this season by an ACC player and just one short of the Cavaliers' program record. Against Boston College, she scored a career-high 17 points, shot 6-for-9 from the field, and was 4-for-5 from the line.
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)