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Atlanta Tipoff Club | March 17, 2017

Women's Naismith finalists announced

  The Atlanta Tipoff Club has announced the four finalists for the Naismith Women's Player of the Year.

ATLANTA – Kelsey Plum, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women's basketball history, headlines the four finalists vying to win the 2017 James A. Naismith Trophy, given to the nation’s most outstanding women’s college basketball player. The University of Washington standout is joined by South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson, and UConn teammates Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.

The four finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, who based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2016-17 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, formerly Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, the largest full-service, independent CPA-led business advisory firm based in Atlanta.

This year, fans have a say in the choosing the winner. Between March 20-31 fans can visit to cast their ballot for one of these four Naismith Trophy finalists. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 31 and fans are limited to one vote per day. The fan vote will account for 5% of the total vote.

The 2017 Naismith Trophy women’s winner will be announced on April 1.

“After watching these four women play this season it’s evident just how incredibly talented they are, and that alone has elevated them to a status worthy of winning the Naismith Trophy,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Their teams’ success is a direct result of these women’s work ethic and leadership – qualities that are embodied by the long line of past Naismith winners.”

About the finalists:

Napheesa Collier, Sophomore, UConn

  • 2017 American Conference Co-Player of the Year with teammate Katie Lou Samuelson
  • Four-time American Athletic Conference Player of the Week.
  • Enters the NCAA Tournament second nationally at 68.9 percent FG shooting
  • Scored a career-high 39 points in the regular-season finale at USF, which marked the fifth-highest single-game scoring total in school history
  • Team leader in rebounding at 8.9 rebounds per game

Kelsey Plum, Senior, University of Washington

  • Leads the nation in scoring at 31.7 ppg, while shooting 53.3 percent from the field overall, 42.9 percent from 3-point range and 88.8 percent from the foul line
  • Became the first player in Pac-12 history, female or male, to score 3,000 career points
  • Broke all-time NCAA and Pac-12 scoring records
  • Named Pac-12 Player of the Year
  • Has scored 21 or more points in all 31 games
  • Became third player in NCAA history to reach 1,000 points in a single season
  • Became just the second player in Pac-12 history to record 300 career three-pointers

Katie Lou Samuelson, Sophomore, UConn

  • Led UConn in scoring during the regular season, averaging 20.7 points per game
  • Named American Conference Co-Player of the Year with teammate Napheesa Collier
  • Named Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 American Athletic Tournament
  • Scored a career-high 40 points in 28 minutes during the AAC Final, becoming only the third Husky all-time to score 40+ points in a game
  • Went 10-10 from three-point range in the AAC final, establishing a new NCAA record for most 3-point FG made in a game without a miss
  • Won the 2015 Naismith National High School Trophy as the most outstanding high school girls basketball player in the country

A’ja Wilson, Junior, University of South Carolina

  • Claimed her second consecutive SEC Player of the Year and was namedSEC Tournament MVP
  • Led the Gamecocks in scoring this year and was third in the SEC (17.4), while ranking ninth in rebounds (7.6) and third in blocks (2.2).
  • Powered Gamecocks to third-straight SEC Tournament title (just second program in league history to win three straight) with 19.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game
  • Career-high 11 20-point games, including five against top-25 opponents
  • Holds school record for career blocked shots, setting the record in her 74th career game – fewer than anyone else on the top-10 list
  • Won the 2014 Naismith National High School Trophy as the most outstanding high school girls basketball player in the country

The Naismith Trophy women’s honor was first presented to Anne Donovan (Old Dominion University) in 1983. Other notable winners include Cheryl Miller (1984-86, University of Southern California), Dawn Staley (1991-92, University of Virginia), Lisa Leslie (1994, University of Southern California) and Diana Taurasi (2003-04, UConn).

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Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club 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 are 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 recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s college basketball players, coaches, administrators and officials. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. 

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