INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) — Week 3 of the current women’s basketball season through Sunday night, Nov. 26, was a Thanksgiving feast of tournaments, most with predetermined matches across the nation and down in the Caribbean, once again providing 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.
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 honorees are N.C. State center River Baldwin, Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, Richmond forward Maggie Doogan, LSU guard Aneesah Morrow and UCLA guard KiKi Rice.
The Tamika Catchings freshman award goes to Navy guard Zanai Barnett-Gay while Princeton is the National Team of the Week.
Baldwin, a 6-5 graduate center from Andalusia, Ala., averaged 15.0 ppg., and six rebounds in the Wolfpack’s perfect run through the three-game Paradise Jam Island Division series at St. Thomas, V.I. Against then-No. 3 Colorado Baldwin erupted for 24 points and eight rebounds, shooting 8-for-11 from the field and 11-for-11 from the line resulting in a second big upset this month – the other downing then No. 2 UConn – that propelled N.C. State from a 10th place tie to fifth in Monday’s AP Poll. A month ago, coach Wes Moore’s team was unranked and an 8th place pick in the ACC preseason outlook.
Clark, a 6-0 senior guard from West Des Moines, Iowa, and the reigning USBWA national player of the year, produced 27.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game while earning tourney MVP during a Hawkeye sweep to the tourney title in three games at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. The title game was revenge against a recent home loss to No. 16 Kansas State, and in the rematch against the Wildcats Clark scored a game-high 32 points (her 40th 30-plus performance), six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Monday saw her earn her 20th career Big Ten Player of the Week award (second-most in conference history).
Doogan, a 6-2 sophomore forward from Broomall, Pa., whose mother Chrissie was a Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame star at La Salle, spurred the Spiders to a three-game sweep in Drake’s tournament against Maine (W, 77-43), Drake (W, 74-66. stoppping its 8-0 home mark), and Louisiana Tech (W, 83-56). In earning the tournament MVP award against Maine, she posted 27 points on 9-of-13 from the field and 2-of-4 from deep along with seven rebounds. Against Drake she posted 14 points and another seven rebounds, and 21 points against the Lady Techsters with six more rebounds. Doogan is currently on a six-game streak scoring in double figures. For the week, she averaged 20.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 1.7 apg and had 59.5 field goal accuracy, hit 62.5 percent on three-pointers and hit 72.7 percent from the line. Doogan picked up the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week award on Monday.
Morrow, a 6-1 junior guard transfer from Chicago who was the 2022 USBWA national freshman of the year at DePaul and a multi-weekly honoree, averaged 32.5 points and 13.0 rebounds at the Cayman Islands Classic to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team. Against Niagara, she had a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds with 5 steals. It was her third time in four games to post five or more steals. It was the 14th game of her career with 25-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and 5-plus steals -- no other player has six such games over the past 25 seasons. She followed that in a tight three-point win over Virginia with 37 points and 16 rebounds, stepping up as LSU lost Sa’Myah Smith a day earlier with a knee injury. It was her second career game with at least 35 points and 15 rebounds. She is currently third in the nation with 28 steals.
Rice, a 5-11 guard from Bethesda, Md., led the Bruins to their first-ever win over UConn, 87-78, shooting 9-for-15 from the field, 2-of-4 from deep, and 4-of-5 from the line in scoring 24 points while grabbing 11 rebounds on the first day playing in the Cayman Classic. She also dealt eight assists. In a win over Niagara the next day she was an efficient 4-of-5 from the field with five rebounds and eight more assists.
Barnett-Gay, a 5-8 freshman guard from Glenn Dale, Md., averaged 23.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists during a 2-1 week for the Naval Academy. Prior to hosting the annual two-day tournament in Annapolis, Md., the Mids rallied from an early 12-point deficit to beat Binghamton led by Barnett-Gay's career-high 29 points. In the opening win over Quinnipiac she scored 22 points with seven rebounds and eight assists. In the loss to Abilene Christian, she was still on fire with 9-for-16 for 20 points. Her performance led to receiving both the Patriot League player and rookie of the week awards.
Princeton once again proved to be far more than Ivy teams of yesteryear showing as much muscle on the court as the Tigers produce in academia. A week after nearly taking down UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, coach Carla Berube’s squad upset then-No. 22 Oklahoma, 77-63, in the Fort Myers Tip-Off as Madison St. Rose scored 24 points. Reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Kaitlyn Chen scored 20 and Ellie Mitchell grabbed 18 rebounds. Princeton lost competitively to Indiana, 72-63, two days later in which Chen scored 16, Mitchell and St. Rose each scored 11 with Mitchell grabbing 16 rebounds, but still earned the No. 25 spot in this week's AP Poll, earning a ranking for the third straight season. They remain the only Ivy school ever ranked in the women’s poll as well as the preseason vote, which occurred a year ago.
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, Southern Cal (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).
• Week ending Nov. 26: River Baldwin, NC State; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Maggie Doogan, Richmond; Aneesah Morrow, LSU; KiKi Rice, UCLA (National); Zanai Barnett-Gay, Navy (Freshman); Princeton (Team).