INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) This season, with a later start than usual due to the uneven landscape caused by the coronavirus, we also announce an expansion of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association·s weekly honors under a committee headed by Mel Greenberg, the USBWA coordinator for women·s basketball, choosing as in the past the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women·s national player, the organization·s Tamika Catchings freshman player, and new, the USBWA·s women·s program of the week.
As in the past, nominees will be drawn largely from the conference winners, but now also from individual submissions from the committee into the pool for a final vote.
That said, as we begin the new year with a new system, for the seasons first honorees for games ending Sunday, January 3, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week goes to UCLA forward Michaela Onyenwere, the organization's Tamika Catchings women's freshman player honor goes to Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, and our first ever USBWA women·s team citation goes to the University of Kentucky for performances in the voting period.
Onyenwere, a 6-0 senior forward out of Aurora, Colo., in the then-No. 11 Bruins lone game, scored a career-high 33 points, shooting 12-of-20 (.600), from the field, including the game-winner, and grabbed 10 rebounds for her 27th career double double in the road upset of then No. 8 Oregon. She was also a perfect 8-for-8 from the line, earning Pac-12 player honors as UCLA flipped back into the Top 10 of the A.P. Women·s Poll at 9th and knocked the Ducks out of the same group for the first time since the 2017 season.
Clark, a 6-0 freshman guard from West Des Moines, Iowa, averaged 24.5 points, five rebounds, and five assists, earning Big Ten freshman honors, in Hawkeyes wins over Rutgers and Illinois. She had 28 points and six rebounds and six assists against the Scarlet Knights, and impacted with 12 of Iowas final 21 points in the six-point triumph over the Illini. Her Big Ten citation is her fifth this season, each week the Hawkeyes played.
The winner of the first-ever USBWA womens team of the week award goes to the University of Kentucky, which then at No. 13, upset then-No. 10 Arkansas 75-64 at home and then-No. 12 Mississippi State 92-86 in overtime on the road to improve to 9-1 overall in the first week of Southeastern Conference action and then moved up to 10th in the AP Women·s Poll. Former USBWA national freshman of the year Rhyne Howard averaged 28 points and 10 rebounds and in Sunday·s win, 25 of her 33 points, came after the third quarter, earning SEC honors and very strong consideration for the USBWA Drysdale Award. The Wildcats are in their first season under former Tennessee star Kyra Elzy following the retirement of Matthew Mitchell.
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 individual awards, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA.
The winners of the 2021 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 on site at the 2021 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 Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.
2020-21 USBWA Women's Weekly Honors
Week ending Jan. 3: Michaela Onyenwere, UCLA (National); Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman);
· Week ending Jan. 10: Naz
Hillmon, Michigan (National); Charlisse Leger-Walker, Washington State (Freshman);
Washington State (Team)
· Week ending Jan.
17: Ashley Joens, Iowa State (National); Frida Formann, Colorado (Freshman); Iowa
· Week ending Jan. 24: Dana Evans,
Louisville (National); Paige Bueckers, UConn (Freshman); UCLA (Team)
Week ending Jan. 31: Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas (National);
Paige Bueckers, UConn (Freshman); Arkansas (Team)
Week ending Feb. 7: Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State (National);
Paige Bueckers, UConn (Freshman); Texas A&M (Team)
Week ending Feb. 14: Paige Bueckers, UConn (National);
Paige Bueckers, UConn and Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman); UConn (Team)
Week ending Feb. 21: Maddy Siegrist, Villanova and
Kierstan Bell, Florida Gulf Coast (National); Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman); Oregon
· Week ending Feb. 28: Iimar'i
Thomas, Cincinnati; Caitlin Clark, Iowa (Freshman); Texas A&M (Team)