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 seventh honorees for games ending Sunday, Feb. 14, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week goes to Connecticut guard Paige Bueckers, who also shares the organization's Tamika Catchings women's freshman player honor with Iowa freshman guard Caitlin Clark, and our USBWA women's team citation goes to Connecticut for performances in the voting period.
Bueckers, a 5-11 rookie guard out of Hopkins, Minn., keeps turning the page of the women's history side of USBWA, becoming this week just the second freshman to earn the Ann Meyers Drysdale player of the week honor, which began in 2010 and previously went to Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu at a time predating the singular freshman award that began in 2018. She also becomes the first to sweep both awards and also is the first to be part of a USBWA co-freshman award, where she also has been named three previous times for the past month setting the consecutive mark as a repeat winner and then extending it.
In her latest exploits in the last three games she averaged 24.3 points, 5.7 assists, and shooting .545 from the field, including .412 from beyond the arc. In the then-No. 2 Huskies' upset of then-No. 1 South Carolina, she scored 31 points, including the game-clinching three-ball, the first UConn player to reach 30 points in three straight games, while also swiping six steals, to go with five assists, and four rebounds. She went on to have 23 points in the Seton Hall win, and 19 points and nine assists in the victory over Georgetown. She made Big East history again with a second straight combo honor after becoming just the fourth to earn dual presentations the previous week.
Clark, a 6-0 freshman out of West Des Moines, Iowa, and a previous USBWA honoree this season, in her one game this past week, set a career mark with 39 points in the Hawkeyes' win at Nebraska, her third straight game in the 30s, and in this one shooting 12-for-18 from the field, including 6-of-10 from deep. Besides setting Nebraska's Pinnacle Arena's scoring record for men or women, she had 10 rebounds and seven assists. She joins Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter from the 2017-18 season as just the two freshmen since 2015-16 to have seven games scoring 30 or more points. A Big Ten co-winner this week, she tied Minnesota's Amanda Zahui B (2013-14) with four Big Ten player of the week citations as a freshman and tied Nebraska's Jessica Shephard (2015-16) with her 10th Big Ten freshman award.
As for team of the week, it's a total UConn sweep getting a USBWA trifecta as the Huskies, whose only season loss was a narrow one at Arkansas, upset South Carolina in overtime and then returned to the Big East adding Seton Hall and Georgetown to their perfect record in returning to the conference this season. On Monday, Connecticut climbed to No. 1 in the Associated Press women's poll, the Huskies' dominating 246th appearance at the top and the ninth straight season earning the ranking for at least one week and usually much more.
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)