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 sixth honorees for games ending Sunday, Feb. 7, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week goes to Oklahoma State forward Natasha Mack, the organization's Tamika Catchings women's freshman player honor goes once more to Connecticut guard Paige Bueckers, and our USBWA women's team citation goes to Texas A&M for performances in the voting period.
Mack, a 6-4 senior forward from Lufkin, Texas, who was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year last season when she was a previous USBWA weekly honoree, helped the Cowgirls extend their win streak to five games and reach 10 conference triumphs for the first time in three seasons by getting two more double-doubles for an overall total of 13. She had 19 points and 19 rebounds with four blocks and four steals in a win over Kansas, followed by 26 points and 18 rebounds along with five blocks and five assists against Oklahoma to win the Big 12 weekly award.
Bueckers, a 5-11 rookie guard out of Hopkins, Minn., extended the last two weeks' USBWA awards by averaging 31 points and shooting .658 from the field in wins for the then-No. 3 Huskies over St. John's and at Marquette. She also combined to shoot 11-of 15 from beyond the arc for a .733 percentage. Her accomplishments not only earned her a seventh Big East honor but she also swept the conference player award joining Villanova's Maddie Siegrist, Marquette's Allazia Blockton, and Connecticut's Maya Moore as the only individuals to earn dual citations in the same week. In the four-season history of the USBWA freshman citation she becomes the first earning three-peat status, after being the first with repeat honors a week ago, 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, No. 6 Texas A&M (18-1) has missed just one beat all season and the Aggies made up for it downing LSU in a Southeastern Conference game at home, winning 54-41 before following Sunday with Jordan Nixon's second game-breaker on then No. 16 Arkansas, 69-67, to stay one game behind new national No. 1 South Carolina in the SEC race.
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)