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.
Thomas, a 5-10 forward from Oakland, Calif., helped the Bearcats to a 2-0 week averaging 39.5 points and 10.5 rebounds shooting .683 (28-of-41) from the field. Against East Carolina, the American Athletic Conference player of the week shattered the Cincinnati and league records scoring 51 points on 20-of-27 from the floor and 11-of-13 from the line with 12 rebounds, and finished the week with 28 points and nine rebounds against Tulsa. The 20 made field goals are also dual marks. Besides an NCAA season high with her 50-point game, Thomas joins all-time Bearcats men's great Oscar Robertson, for whom the USBWA men's national player award is named, who reached the milestone in six games in his career, last achieving it in 1960.
Clark, a 6-0 guard from West Des Moines, Iowa, earns her fourth USBWA freshman award of the season, matched only by Connecticut's Paige Bueckers, who recently had four straight while also becoming the first USBWA weekly women's co-player and rookie honoree. Clark scored 34 points with a career-high nine three-pointers in a high-scoring loss at Maryland her fifth straight 30-point game and ninth on the season, the most by an NCAA Division I freshman since 2000. She then scored 27 in a win over No. 12 Michigan and finished with a seventh double-double · 18 points and career-high 14 assists · in a triumph at Wisconsin that also brought her the Iowa season assist record of 149, one more than Kathleen Doyle in the 2016-17 season. All this got her an extended record 12th Big Ten freshman of the week as well as the conference's fifth player of the week.
As for team of the week, Texas A&M repeats from earlier this season as the Aggies (22-1, 13-1 SEC) under Hall of Fame coach Gary Blair, defeated Alabama and then in a first-place showdown at home dislodged No. 5 South Carolina, 65-57, ending a Gamecocks seven-game winning streak in the series to claim a first-ever Southeastern Conference regular-season title since joining the league in the 2012-13 season. The Aggies reached an all-time high No. 2 in this week's Associated Press poll.
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)