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 fifth honorees for games ending Sunday, Jan. 31, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week goes to Arkansas guard Chelsea Dungee, the organization's Tamika Catchings women's freshman player honor goes again to Connecticut guard Paige Bueckers, and our USBWA women's team citation goes to Arkansas for performances in the voting period.
Dungee, a 5-11 redshirt senior guard from Sapulpa, Okla., averaged 26 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.6 steals across three games, scoring 25 for the then-No. 19 Razorbacks in a last-second loss at then-No. 22 Georgia. Additionally, she followed with a career-high 37 points shooting 13-of-21 from the field, including 4-of-5 beyond the arc and grabbing three steals · in the home 90-87 upset of No. 3 and then unbeaten Connecticut. She finished the set of games scoring 16 in a home win over Auburn, earning Southeastern Conference co-player of the week honors with then-No. 20 Tennessee's Tamari Key, who got just the program's fourth triple double in a win over Florida.
Bueckers, a 5-11 rookie guard out of Hopkins, Minn., followed last week's USBWA honor by averaging 24.5 points, 7.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds and shooting 60 percent from the field, including 80 percent from three. She scored a team-high 27 points in the loss to Arkansas and then double-doubled with 22 points and 12 assists in the win at then-No. 17 DePaul to earn her sixth Big East weekly freshman honor. In the four-season history of the USBWA freshman citation she becomes the first earning back-to-back plaudits, though last season then-newcomers Villanova's Maddy Siegrist, South Carolina's Aliyah Boston, and Middle Tennessee's Aislynn Hayes were multiple winners.
As for team of the week, despite the narrow loss at Georgia, coach Mike Neighbors' guiding the Razorbacks' upset of the Huskies made Arkansas an overwhelming choice, coming in a contest that was cobbled together on short notice after both squads had other games cancelled due to COVID-19 cautionary protocols placing previous scheduled opponents into program pausing modes.
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)