INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) The U.S. Basketball Writers Association is proud to announce the winners of its three major individual women's awards. The honorees include the NCAA's all-time triple-doubles leader, the coach of the top-ranked team and a freshman sensation off the All-Southeastern Conference team.

Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon is the winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the National Player of the Year, Dawn Staley of South Carolina earned the National Coach of the Year Award and Aliyah Boston of South Carolina is the Tamika Catchings Award winner as the National Freshman Player of the Year, based on voting by the USBWA membership. Longtime USBWA representative Mel Greenberg coordinated the voting and selection process.

The winners, normally feted at the Final Four, will be formally recognized later this year. The presentation of each of the awards, originally scheduled for the USBWA College Basketball Awards Dinner hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, has been cancelled.

Ionescu, a 5-11 senior guard from Walnut Creek, Calif., is a three-time USBWA All-American and three-time Pac-12 Player of the Year who matched her NCAA single-season record with eight triple-doubles to extend her all-time record for both women and men to 26. This season, she became the first player in NCAA history to reach 2,000 career points (2,562), 1,000 assists (1,091) and 1,000 rebounds (1,040). In addition, she led the nation with a career-high 9.1 assists per game while averaging 17.5 points and a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game; she was fourth nationally with a 3.05 assist-to-turnover ratio. Ionescu ended her historic career by being named the Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player for the second time after averaging 23.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game in three contests, headlined by a 31-point performance in the semifinals vs. No. 13 Arizona. The Ducks won both the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles in a 31-2 season that landed Oregon at No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll.

"Sabrina Ionescu is one of the most well-rounded players on both ends of the floor. Her leadership on and off the court stands out, and her ability to make everyone around her better sets her apart," said the award's namesake Ann Meyers Drysdale. "She has grown and developed her game every year, and I am disappointed that she was not able to finish out her senior year and give her Oregon Ducks a chance to win a national title. I am very proud to have Sabrina receive the 2020 Ann Meyers Drysdale USBWA Player of the Year Award."

Staley, a two-time USBWA National Player of the Year winner for Virginia in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons, is the first woman to win both the USBWA Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards. Her honor gives the SEC the national coach of the year award for a second time in three seasons (Vic Schaefer of Mississippi State in 2017-18). Her Gamecocks won their final 26 games to finish the season 32-1 and ranked No. 1 in the final AP poll after winning both the SEC regular-season and tournament titles. Staley, in her 20th season as a head coach after one of the most decorated playing careers in basketball history, has a 477-178 (.728) career mark, including a 305-98 (.757) record in 12 seasons at South Carolina.

"There were a lot of great candidates but it is a thrill on a personal level to see Dawn emerge as our winner," said USBWA womens representative Mel Greenberg. "Having watched her evolve from an initially reluctant coaching target of Temple to quickly making the Owls nationally relevant and then build the Gamecocks to a national force, we can now speak of her being one of the younger members of the all-timers in her profession. That said, to me she'll still be the magical point guard out of Philly's Public League who went on to become a two-time USBWA player of the year and on to being an Olympic gold medalist and WNBA All-Star."

"Coach Staley has created so many great opportunities for us and showed us different ways to be great and successful in life," South Carolina senior captain and third-team USBWA All-American Tyasha Harris said, speaking for the team. "She is deserving of this award because of how she pushes everyone to be their best while, at the same time, showing how much she loves us. She works just as hard as we do and never settles for less. She is without a doubt our choice for coach of the year."

South Carolina's surge to the top of the poll was fueled by Boston, the SEC Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year. For the third straight season and the seventh time overall the SEC can boast the nation's best first-year player (Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M and Rhyne Howard, Kentucky). The second-team USBWA All-American powered her way onto the national stage in her college debut, becoming the first player in NCAA Division I women's basketball history to post a triple-double in her first career game. The 6-5 forward from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands had 13 double-doubles, including seven against ranked opponents. For the season, she averaged 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds. The All-SEC First-Team selection was sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.608) and 21st in blocks per game (2.61).

"I am so pleased to see Aliyah win the first Tamika Catchings Award," said the award's namesake, now the General Manager of the Indiana Fever of the WNBA."It has been fun watching her growth and domination this year along with the accolades she has collected. She's proven herself to be a strong defensive presence along with developing an offensive arsenal that will only continue to grow under coach Dawn Staley. This is an honor well deserved."

The USBWA has presented a women's national player of the year award since the 1987-88 season and named the award in honor of Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale in the 2011-12 season. The coach of the year has been selected each year since the 1989-90 season and the national freshman player of the year since the 1991-92 season. This is the first season the award has been named for Tennessee legend Tamika Catchings, who won the award in the 1997-98 season.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

Related link:
All-time USBWA women's honors