Penn's Padilla, Boston College's Mair are USBWA women's national players of the week

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – For the season’s fifth weekly women’s awards from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, for games ending Sunday, Jan. 7, Penn guard Kayla Padilla is the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week, Boston College guard Taina Mair is the Tamika Catchings national freshman recipient and Baylor is the National Team of the Week.

The awards, organized under Mel Greenberg, the USBWA Vice President for women’s basketball, are drawn from the weekly conference citations as well as at-large additions.

Each week awards go to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women’s national player, the organization’s Tamika Catchings freshman player, and the USBWA’s women’s team of the week.

Padilla, a 5-9 senior guard from Torrance, Calif., and a past USBWA weekly recipient, averaged 24.0 points in two games at home in The Palestra, including an upset of Columbia, that earned her Ivy League player of the week honors and helped extend the current Quakers’ win streak to nine games and to the top of the Ivy standings as the sole unbeaten team in league play at 3-0. Against Cornell, she shot 8-for-14 from the field and 8-for-8 from the line with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. The next night she helped end Columbia’s program-record ten-game winning streak, scoring 21 points, with five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Leading the Ivies in minutes played (35.9), she’s also fourth in scoring (16.1 ppg.), and leads in assist/turnover ratio at 1.7. 

Mair, a 5-9 freshman guard from Boston, was part of an Eagles sweep of the Atlantic Coast Conference weekly awards after helping BC to a pair of stunning upsets over then-No. 10 NC State and then in handing visiting Florida State its first loss of the season. The win over the Wolfpack was the first against a Top 10 team since 2010. She averaged 16.0 points, 7.5 assists, and six rebounds in the two triumphs, and in the second game win over the Seminoles, she scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half. She leads the nation and ACC in total assists and is the only player in the conference to double-double a game of 15 points and 10 assists on the road. 

Baylor, which has been in The AP rankings all season but much lower than the Bears have been in the poll in some time, pulled a unique feat under coach Nicki Collen, winning road games at then-No. 17 Oklahoma 81-60 followed by a triumph at No. 21 Kansas. It’s the first time the team has ever beaten two ranked teams consecutively on the road. Sarah Andrews averaged 28.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists to earn the Big 12 weekly award.

Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a women’s 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 the national and weekly freshman award is being given in the name of former Tennessee all-American Tamika Catchings, which was applied at the start of the 2019-20 season.

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 2023 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year and Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWA’s annual awards event on site at the 2023 NCAA Women's Final Four in Dallas.

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.