ATLANTA -- Baylor senior Brittney Griner and Delaware senior Elena Delle Donne highlight the 2012‐2013 Naismith women’s early season watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday. Griner looks to build on the Lady Bears 2012 national championship season and join only five other players to win back‐to-back Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year honors since the award was first presented in 1983. Delle Donne, the nation’s leading scorer in 2012, also is a former Naismith Trophy winner, having claimed the Naismith High School Girl’s Player of the Year award in 2008.

The 50 player watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012‐2013 college basketball season. The Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year will be awarded on April 8, 2013, in New Orleans.

Other notable players on this year’s watch list include Notre Dame senior Skylar Diggins, who led the Fighting Irish to consecutive NCAA national title game appearances in 2011 and 2012 and Stanford junior Chiney Ogwumike, who led the Cardinals to three consecutive Final Four appearances. Diggins and Ogwumike are also former Naismith High School Girl’s Player of the Year award winners.

“With so much returning talent this year, anticipation and excitement for women’s college basketball season among fans, players and coaches is extremely high,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We look forward to watching these student‐athletes compete and prove to the nation that they deserve to be recognized as the best women’s college basketball player in 2013.”

In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors will compile a mid‐season team of the top 30 players in the nation. In March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.

Notable Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year winners include Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo and Tina Charles. The Naismith women’s Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the college basketball player of the year.

PLAYER CLASS POS. SCHOOL
Anne Marie Armstrong Senior G/F Georgia
Alex Bentley Senior G Penn State
Kelsey Bone Junior C Texas A&M
Heather Butler Junior G Tennessee‐Martin
Layshia Clarendon Senior G California
Carolyn Davis Senior F Kansas
Elena Delle Donne Senior F Delaware
Skylar Diggins Senior G Notre Dame
Stefanie Dolson Junior C Connecticut
Aaryn Ellenberg Junior G Oklahoma
Shante Evans Senior F Hofstra
Kelly Faris Senior G Connecticut
Christina Foggie Junior G Vanderbilt
Chassidy Fussell Junior G Texas
Jennifer George Senior F Florida
Angel Goodrich Senior G Kansas
Chelsea Gray Junior G Duke
Brittney Griner Senior C Baylor
Whitney Hand Senior G Oklahoma
Bria Hartley Junior G Connecticut
Tianna Hawkins Senior F Maryland
Tayler Hill Senior G Ohio State
Jordan Hooper Junior F Nebraska
Natasha Howard Junior F Florida State
Kortni Jones Senior G Middle Tennessee State
Maggie Lucas Junior G Penn State
Kevi Luper Senior G Oral Roberts
Ty Marshall Junior G Georgia Tech
Anna Martin Senior G DePaul
A'dia Mathies Senior G Kentucky
Kayla McBride Junior G Notre Dame
Nadirah McKenith Senior G St. John's
Lauren Mincy Junior G Maryland
Lindsey Moore Senior G Nebraska
Kaleena Mosqueda‐Lewis Sophomore F Connecticut
Chiney Ogwumike Junior F Stanford
Monique Oliver Senior F/C Rutgers
Chelsea Poppens Senior F Iowa State
Niveen Rasheed Senior F Princeton
Monique Reid Senior F Louisville
Sugar Rodgers Senior G Georgetown
Ebony Rowe Junior F Middle Tennessee State
Shoni Schimmel Junior G Louisville
Naama Shafir Senior G Toledo
Odyssey Sims Junior G Baylor
Shenneika Smith Senior G St. John's
Breanna Stewart Freshman F Connecticut
Alyssa Thomas Junior F Maryland
Markel Walker Senior G/F UCLA
Elizabeth Williams Sophomore C Duke