INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) This season the U.S. Basketball Writers Association has undergone an expansion of its 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 team 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.
For the season's second honorees for games ending Sunday, Jan. 10, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week goes to Michigan forward Naz Hillmon, the Tamika Catchings women's freshman player honor goes to Washington State guard Charlisse Leger-Walker, and our USBWA women's team of the week citation goes to Washington State for performances in the voting period.
Hillmon, a 6-2 junior forward from Cleveland, Ohio, averaged 29.5 points and 17.5 rebounds per game with a .600 field-goal percentage in No. 15 Michigan's two Big Ten wins, also helping the Wolverines to their first-ever 9-0 start, and earned Big Ten player of the week honors for the second time this season. She scored 35 points and added 22 rebounds in the win against Nebraska, recording the nation's second 30-20 game of the season, and then collected 24 points and 13 rebounds in the win vs. Illinois.
Leger-Walker, a 5-10 rookie guard from Walkato, New Zealand, scored 17 points including the shot forcing overtime and the game-winner at the buzzer · to give Washington State its upset of then-No. 7 Arizona to earn Pac-12 honors for the third straight week and fourth time this season. She also dealt five assists and has now scored in double figures in each game this season. Ten of her points came after the third period.
Washington State narrowly edged Texas A&M as our second-ever national team of the week in its 71-69 upset of Arizona, the second over a top-25 team this season. The sole loss has been a four-pointer to Oregon, which jumped back into the top 10. The Cougars (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) coached by former Texas star Kamie Ethridge, made history with the triumph, earning their first-ever AP women's poll ranking at No. 25, becoming the last school in a power five conference to ever make the weekly national ranking in its 45-year history. Ethridge is now the 46th individual to play on and also coach a top-25 women's team.
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)