With Friday’s announcement by the Atlanta Tipoff Club of the finalists for the Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year Trophy presented by AT&T, it became guaranteed that this year’s winner will earn her second Naismith Trophy. The 2013 finalists for the top honor in women’s college basketball are Delaware senior Elena Delle Donne, Notre Dame senior Skylar Diggins, Baylor senior Brittney Griner and Stanford junior Chiney Ogwumike. Griner is the defending Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year, while Diggins, Delle Donne and Ogwumike all are previous Naismith High School Player of the Year Trophy honorees.
The finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, which determined that their performances throughout the 2013 regular season stood out among a host of great women’s basketball players. The 2013 Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded to one of these four finalists on April 8, 2013, in New Orleans, La.
For the ninth consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice and help determine the 2013 Naismith Trophy winner. Beginning March 25 through April 6 fans can cast their vote by calling **VOTE (**8683).* Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year Trophy presenting sponsor AT&T is making the voting open to customers of other wireless carriers, enabling even more fans to participate.
“These four finalists have risen above their peers in the women’s college basketball landscape, driving their teams toward victory by achieving not only individual statistics, but making those around them better,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We’re even more pleased that we know with this group, one of these great players will earn a second Naismith Trophy.”
Should Griner win her second consecutive Naismith Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year Trophy presented by AT&T, she would become the sixth women’s player to achieve the honor in back-to-back seasons (the first since LSU’s Seimone Augustus in 2005-2006) and the seventh overall multiple-time winner of the award. If one of the other three finalists earns the Naismith Trophy, she will 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).
“Week-in and week-out, these student-athletes delighted fans with impressive performances, memorable highlights and plenty of reasons to cheer,” said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “Every one of these competitors deserves careful consideration for this year’s Trophy. We’re excited to offer fans the chance to help with the selection process and bring their favorite players a reason to celebrate.”
About the finalists:
• Elena Delle Donne, Delaware: Winner of the 2008 Naismith Girl’s High School Player of the Year Trophy, the 6-foot-5-inch senior averaged 25.5 points per game during the 2012-2013 campaign. The Blue Hens finished the Colonial Athletic Association regular season with a perfect 18-0 record in conference play for the second year in a row, and won their second consecutive league and conference titles. Delle Donne has become the most prolific scorer in CAA history and won her third conference Player of the Year award.
• Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame: The 5-9 senior was named Big East Player of the Year after leading the Fighting Irish to their third Big East Conference title (second in a row) and first Big East tournament title. Winner of the 2009 Naismith Girl’s High School Player of the Year Trophy, Diggins was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 17 per game this season. Notre Dame finished the regular season 16-0 in conference play, the school’s first undefeated season in Big East competition, and currently sit at 31-1.
• Brittney Griner, Baylor: The defending Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year, is a three-time Big 12 Player of the Year and four-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. This season, Griner is ranked third in the NCAA in points scored per game (23.3) and second in the NCAA in blocks per game (4.1), and ranks No. 1 nationally in field-goal percentage (.604). She led Baylor to the 2012-2013 Big 12 Conference regular season and tournament championships and a consensus No. 1 ranking in NCAA women’s basketball polls.
• Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford: In 2010, the 6-3 standout won the Naismith Trophy as the high school girl’s player of the year. This season, led the fourth-ranked Cardinal to a 17-1 record in regular season conference play, a share of the Pac-12 regular season title, the Pac-12 tournament championship and became the first women’s player in Pac-12 history to be named both the conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. She currently ranks sixth in the NCAA in points per game (22.4), fourth in rebounds per game (13.1) and fifth in field goal percentage (57.4).
Notable past Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year winners include Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo and Maya Moore. The Naismith women’s Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball player of the year.