From the press box of the Naismith Awards:
ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB ANNOUNCES FINALISTS FOR 2014 NAISMITH WOMEN’S
COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY AT&T
McBride, Ogwumike, Sims and Stewart Vie For Top Honor
ATLANTA (March 21, 2014) – Three seniors and one sophomore make up the final ballot for the 2014 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T to the women’s college basketball player of the year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. The 2014 finalists are Notre Dame senior Kayla McBride, Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike, Baylor senior Odyssey Sims and Connecticut sophomore Breanna Stewart. Ogwumike was a finalist for this honor in 2013, and won the Naismith Trophy High School Girl’s Player of the Year award in 2010. Stewart also claimed the top prep honor, in 2012.
The finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, which determined that the player performances throughout the 2013-14 regular season stood out among a host of great women’s basketball players. The 2014 Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded to one of these four finalists on April 7, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.
For the 10th consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice and help determine the 2014 Naismith Trophy winner. Beginning March 24 and running through April 5 fans can cast their vote through the online and mobile optimized site www.NaismithVote.com. The fan vote represents 25 percent of the selection process – the largest fan impact of any collegiate basketball award.
“What’s impressive about these four finalists is that each of their teams is among the best in the country, so in addition to them achieving individual accolades, they all are strong team leaders,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “It’s anyone’s award to win, and we’re looking forward to watching it play out during the tournament.”
Should Ogwumike or Stewart win, they would become the seventh honoree to win both a Naismith Girl’s High School Player of the Year Award and Naismith Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year Award. The most recent was Maya Moore (2009, 2011 College; 2006, 2007 High School).
“These players have risen to the top as the best in women’s college basketball and have made the season even more exciting as they all vie for team honors during the tournament,” said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “Each student-athlete has brought the game to a higher level and is a worthy candidate for top recognition as the player of the year. The fan vote is sure to play an important role in selecting this year’s winner.”
ABOUT THE FINALISTS:
Kayla McBride, senior, Notre Dame: The ACC Player of the Year (Coaches) started every game, averaging career highs of 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, and a team high-tying 11 20-point games. She ranks third in ACC/20th nationally in free throw percentage (.874), fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.82), 10th in assists, 10th in three-point percentage (.368), and 11th in scoring. Her 1,767 career points is sixth in school history and she is one of only seven Fighting Irish players to score more than 1,700 points in her career. She was named to the All-ACC Tournament First Team.
Chiney Ogwumike, senior, Stanford: In 2010, the 6-3 standout won the Naismith Trophy as the girl’s high school player of the year. For the second straight year, Ogwumike was named Pac-12 Player of the Year in a vote of the conference coaches. Additionally, she made the All-Pac-12 team for the fourth time. Ogwumike ranks third in the country in scoring (27.0), eighth in rebounding (12.1) and third in field-goal percentage (62.2). She is the conference’s career rebounding leader with 1,483 and needs 50 points to break former Stanford star Candice Wiggins’ Pac-12 career scoring mark of 2,629.
Odyssey Sims, senior, Baylor: Sims, a 5-8 senior guard, was the Big 12 Player of the Year, Big 12 Defensive Players of the Year, All-Big 12 first-team, Big 12 All-Defensive team and was recently named to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament team. The three-time consensus All-American is averaging 28.4 points per game, which ranks No. 2 nationally, 4.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals. She is shooting .445 from the floor, .405 from 3-point range and .799 from the free throw line. Sims holds school career records in assists (619) and made 3-pointers (249) – her 89 threes made this season set a new BU single-season record.
Breanna Stewart, sophomore, Connecticut: The 2012 Naismith Trophy High School Girl’s winner was named First-team All-American Athletic Conference in leading the Huskies to a 34-0 record. She averaged 19.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, and scored her 1,000th career point in her 63rd career game, marking the third fewest games to reach 1,000 in UConn history. Stewart scored in double-figures 32 times this season and 20+ points on 19 occasions. She was named the 2014 American Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player and was a member of the 2014 All-American Conference Tournament Team.
Notable past Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year winners include Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Maya Moore and last year’s winner, Brittney Griner. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball player of the year.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, which have become the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Players of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boy’s and Girl’s high school basketball players and coaches of the year, high school scholar-athletes, basketball officials, student sections and overall contributors to the game. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983. For more information, visit http://www.naismithawards.com.