Stanford's Brink headlines Ann Meyers Drysdale National Players of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – The second week of the 2023-24 women’s collegiate basketball season through Sunday night, Nov. 19, continued from the first to provide dynamic performances, stunning upsets, and a wealth of candidates to fill the USBWA expansion to five Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week honorees in addition to the singular Tamika Catchings freshman and team citations.

Teams at the high end of the Associated Press women’s poll are making as many headlines becoming victims as they are being conquerers to the point that on Monday, while UConn continued to rewrite its newly acquired appearance streak record to 567, its rout of then-No. 20 Maryland last Thursday resulted in the Terrapins departing from the rankings for the first time in 13 seasons, an ending to the sixth-longest run at 251 weeks that began preseason 2010-11.

Last week with Kansas State’s surprise win at No. 2 Iowa and then No. 21 Baylor beating then No. 4 Utah, the Big 12 became the first league over a three-day span where multiple members defeated different non-conference Top 5 teams since at least 1999-00.

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

For their performances in the past seven days, this week’s five Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week honorees are Stanford forward Cameron Brink, Texas forward Taylor Jones, Kansas State center Ayoka Lee, Villanova guard Lucy Olsen, and Harvard guard Harmoni Turner.

The Tamika Catchings National Freshman Player of the Week honor goes to Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo while Baylor is the National Team of the Week.

Brink, a 6-4 senior forward from Beaverton, Ore., scored a career-high 29 points to enable then-No. 6 Stanford to beat unranked Duke 82-79 in overtime avoiding an upset at home in Maples Pavilion and moving up two spots Monday to fourth in the AP Poll.

Her stats against the Blue Devils included 11 rebounds and six blocks, besides being a perfect 10-for-10 from the line extending her run with 72 straight foul shots. She’s the first star for the Cardinal with 25-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and 5-plus blocks since Chiney Ogwumike on March 8, 2014.

Brink earned weekly Pac-12 honors Monday with eight points, five rebounds, and three blocks in 15 minutes off a previous 86-32 lopsided win over Cal Poly to bring her two-game average to 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 61.1 percent shooting from the field and 100 percent from the line.

Jones, a 6-4 senior forward from Forney, Texas, helped then No. 11 Texas to two one-sided wins over Louisiana Tech and Texas-Arlington at home in Austin in the Moody Center, matching a career-high 25 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking five shots against the Techsters while in the previous game she scored 21 points on 10-of-12 from the field. Across the two games she shot 22-for-28 averaging 23 points and five rebounds.

Lee, a 6-5 senior center from Byron, Minn., who missed last season with a knee injury, shook off early foul trouble to collect 22 points and grab 12 rebounds in Kansas State’s win at Iowa and on the week the past USBWA recipient averaged 21 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, while she shot 64 percent from the field. After the win over the Hawkeyes, she scored 20 with three blocks in a triumph at Wisconsin.

On Monday, the Wildcats jumped back into the AP Poll at 16th and Lee for her efforts picked her up first Big 12 player of the week honor since prior to her injury.

Olsen, a 5-9 junior guard from Collegeville, Pa., in suburban Philadelphia, scored 40 points for Villanova, Sunday, in the Wildcats’ home-opening triumph against Temple, becoming the fourth player in the program’s history with a 40-point game, of which there have been seven. Four came from former teammate Maddy Siegrist, a USBWA All-American last season who was the nation’s leading scorer.

Olsen was just a point off Siegrist’s mark of most points in a Big Five women’s game, achieved twice by Siegrist, and on Monday Olsen, who was 4-for-6 from deep and 12-of-13 from the line with four rebounds and two assists, received Big East Player of the Week in becoming the just the sixth player in the conference with a 40-point game since 2009-10.

Turner, a 5-10 junior guard from from Mansfield, Texas, averaged 25 points, six rebounds, and 4.5 assists in a 1-1 week for Harvard, the setback coming in a game at Baylor extending the Bears into the fourth quarter before the home team prevailed. In that game, she scored a season-high 29 points with seven rebounds and five assists to earn Ivy player of the week honors.

Hidalgo, a 5-6 freshman guard from Haddonfield, N.J., across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, averaged 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 6.0 steals for Notre Dame as the Irish beat two non-conference Big Ten opponents. The Irish’s 110-52 win over Northwestern saw her score 21 points, deal five assists while collecting six rebounds and six steals. Then in the second annual Citi Shamrock Classic, this year in Washington, D.C., she had 24 points, five rebounds, eight assists, and six steals beating Illinois and making it the first time since 2012 Notre Dame had consecutive 100-plus scoring wins. Her exploits enabled her to sweep both Atlantic Coast Conference weekly awards, last achieved back in January in the ACC by Florida State’s Ta’Niya Latson who went on to be the USBWA Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the year.

As for team of the week award, after Baylor’s exit from the rankings last season, the goal has been to get back to the ongoing presence as annual Women’s Final Four contenders, which the Lady Bears appeared in the home wins over Utah and Harvard. Against the Utes, the 84-77 win gave coach Nicki Collen’s team its most points against a top-five opponent in the regular season since scoring 94 on No. 2 Notre Dame at the outset of the 2011-12 season. Baylor’s Sarah Andrews scored 18 in the win. The triumph over Harvard saw all five starters in double figures topped by Aijha Blackwell’s 16 points.

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 2024 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 2024 NCAA Women's Final Four in Cleveland.

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.

2023-24 USBWA Women's Weekly Honors
Week ending Nov. 12: Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina; Saniya Rivers, NC State; Kiki Iriafen, Stanford; Liza Karlen, Marquette (National); JuJu Watkins, USC (Freshman); Colorado (Team).
Week ending Nov. 19: Cameron Brink, Stanford; Taylor Jones, Texas; Ayoka Lee, Kansas State; Lucy Olsen, Villanova; Harmoni Turner, Harvard (National); Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame (Freshman); Baylor (Team).