Iowa's Clark headlines Ann Meyers Drysdale National Players of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – While one player at the outset of this season quickly became a magnet drawing attention to women’s basketball in terms of attendance and television viewership, this past week provided a clear example that multiple stars and team performances and in the case of the WNBA, free agency news, are filling the sport’s landscape.

It was not that long ago that the national storyline was UConn-Tennessee and everything else.

Team records are being broken along with the multitude of individual performances.

Super Bowl Sunday could be notable in that it is now mathematically possible the NCAA career scoring record in Division I might fall the same day, but if not, it will likely happen very soon thereafter.

All that stated, let’s get to the ongoing business of the moment.

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 period through Sunday, Feb. 4, this week’s five Ann Meyers Drysdale national honorees are Virginia Tech guard Georgia Amoore, Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards, Ohio State guard Jacy Sheldon, and USC guard JuJu Watkins.

The Tamika Catchings freshman award goes to Texas forward Madison Booker and the National Team of the Week is Mississippi State.

Amoore, a 5-6 senior guard from Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, led the nationally-ranked Hokies in defense of their ACC championship to two victories, the first over Virginia, 76-63, in which she scored 20 points and dealt 14 assists, most going to reigning ACC player of the year and earlier USBWA honoree Elizabeth Kitley. On Sunday, in a 70-61 triumph in overtime at then-No. 24 North Carolina, she had 21 points and 11 assists, making it three of her last four games she gained double doubles.

Clark, a 6-0 senior guard from West Des Moines, Iowa is receiving her eighth award for 2023-24 after leading the Hawkeyes (21-2, 10-1 Big Ten) back to second place in the latest poll by scoring 35 points and dealing 10 assists in a win at Northwestern moving into second place on the all-time NCAA career scoring list. She then had 38 points and a season-high 12 assists at Maryland snapping a seven-game losing streak in College Park. The 21-2 start matches a similar one in 1995-96. Her career total is 3,462 points just 66 from the NCAA Division I record held by former Washington star Kelsey Plum and with this latest Big Ten weekly award she has eight on the season and 26 in her career.

Edwards, a 6-3 senior forward from Kingston, Ontario, led the No. 11 Huskies to a pair of wins at Villanova and home against St. John’s, landing her the Big East Player of the Week award as UConn stayed unbeaten in the conference. At Villanova, she was 9-for-13 from the field for 22 points with seven rebounds and against St. John’s she was 12-for-20 for 33 points with 13 rebounds.

Sheldon, a 5-10 senior guard from Dublin, Ohio, led the Buckeyes to a pair of Big Ten wins, including a showdown 74-69 triumph over then-No. 10 Indiana to stay tied with Iowa for first and moving from eighth to fifth in the latest AP Poll. In a win over Wisconsin, in which OSU tied a program-record 39 points in the third quarter, she was 6-12 from the field for 17 points with five assists. Against the Hoosiers, she was 8-20 for 25 points, with three makes from deep and four assists.

Watkins, a 6-2 guard from Los Angeles erupted for an NCAA season-high 51 points setting a USC record in a win at then-No. 4 Stanford, also breaking the freshman USC record of 39 points set by Cheryl Miller. It’s also a second-best Pac-12 performance behind 57 by Kelsey Plum. She followed with 29 points in a comeback win at Cal as the Trojans moved from 15th to 10th in this week’s poll. In the win at Stanford, she was 17-for-19 from the line and she also had 11 rebounds. Her 27.3 average is second to Iowa’s Clark (32.4) in NCAA scoring. On Monday she became the first to sweep both Pac-12 awards a second time.

Booker, a 6-1 freshman forward from Ridgeland, Miss., moved to the backcourt after Big 12 preseason player of the year Rory Harmon suffered a season-ending injury, has been previously honored in the USBWA player and freshman categories – and likewise the Big 12, which gave her freshman of the week for leading the Longhorns to ranking wins at No. 13 Baylor and No. 2 Kansas State, resulting in Texas leaping from 12th to No. 7 in Monday’s Associated Press women’s poll. In a revenge win over the Bears, she was 8-for-15 from the field for 22 points before scoring 20 points and six assists against the visiting Wildcats. She has had five games of 20-plus points against ranked opponents, which is second among all Division I freshmen.

Mississippi State had three wins in the SEC, two on the road after a 77-73 home upset of then-No. 9 LSU, the reigning NCAA champions. Against the Tigers, Darrione Rogers had 19 points and Mjracle Sheppard scored 12 points. In a 77-74 overtime win at Kentucky Jessika Carter was 9-for-15 from the field for 25 points with 13 rebounds. In the win against Texas A&M, Erynn Barnum was 9-11 for 22 points with six rebounds.

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).
• Week ending Dec. 3: Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina; Yvonne Ejim, Gonzaga; Rori Harmon, Texas; Cottie McMahon, Ohio State; Anne Simon, Maine (National); Madison Booker, Texas (Freshman); Southern Miss (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 10: Lauren Betts, UCLA; Paige Bueckers, UConn; Jalynn Gregory, MTSU; Quinesha Lockett, Toledo; Alssa Pili, Utah (National); Zoe Brooks, NC State (Freshman); Washington (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 17: Azana Baines, Seton Hall; Breanna Campbell, Marshall; Jessika Carter, Mississippi State; Aubrey Griffin, UConn; Liz Karlen, Marquette (National) Mikaylah Williams, LSU (Freshman); VCU (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 24: Alexis Andrews, Charleston; Talya Brugler, Saint Joseph’s; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; McKenzie Forbes, Southern Cal; Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State (National); Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame (Freshman); TCU (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 31: Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Londynn Jones, UCLA; Lucy Olsen, Villanova; Jaylyn Sherrod, Colorado; Alyssa Ustby, North Carolina (National); Mataya Gayle, Penn (Freshman); Syracuse (Team).
• Week ending Jan. 7: Madison Booker, Texas; Avery Brittingham, UT-Arlington; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Rickea Jackson, Tennessee; Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech (National); Meghan Andersen, Fairfield (Freshman); North Carolina (Team).
• Week ending Jan. 14: Sara Bejedi, Florida State; Anastasii Boldyreva, Middle Tennessee; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Ayoka Lee, Kansas State; Honesty Scott-Grayson, Auburn; JuJu Watkins (USC); Iowa State (Team).
• Week ending Jan. 21: Abby Beeman, Marshall; Paige Bueckers, UConn; Dyaisha Fair, Syracuse; Deja Kelly, North Carolina; Cotie McMahon, Ohio State (National); Kymora Johnson, Virginia (Freshman); Stanford, (Team).
• Week ending Jan. 28: Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina; McKenna Marisa, Penn State; JJ Quinerly, West Virginia; Skylar Vann, Oklahoma (National); Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame (Freshman); Oregon State (Team).
• Week ending Feb. 4: Georgia Amoore, Virginia Tech; Madison Booker, Texas; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Aaliyah Edwards, UConn; Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State (National); JuJu Watkins, USC (Freshman); Mississippi State (Team).