California's Kristine Anigwe won the 2019 women's Naismith defensive player of the year award, which was announced on Sunday.
It’s official…..The 2019 @bonabuzz Naismith Women’s + Men’s Defensive Player of the Year are @KristineAnigwe + @MatisseThybulle. They are the first @CalWBBall + @UW_MBB players to win the award. Full release > https://t.co/7vLUOBJZtc #GoBears #GoHuskies pic.twitter.com/DZmPIjqEEO— Naismith Awards (@NaismithTrophy) April 7, 2019
Anigwe, a senior, finished her season with an average of 22.5 points per game and a total of 57 blocks. She was also named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year earlier this season.
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“I'm truly honored to receive this award. There are so many great players who have had amazing seasons, and it’s humbling to be in that group,” said Anigwe. “I'm so grateful for everyone who has been in my corner these four years—my family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, and more. I love this program and the people in it for everything they have done for me and I am honored to represent it with this award.”
All-America honors continue for @KristineAnigwe, named a @USBWA Second Team All-American today!— Cal Basketball (@CalWBBall) April 3, 2019
That joins @espnW & @AP All-America recognition for the top rebounder in the nation, National Defensive Player of the Year finalist & walking bucket 😤
📰: https://t.co/8vYumPiNgI pic.twitter.com/RTk0VQp9qA
The Arizona native had 32 consecutive double-doubles in the regular season, which included a 32-point, 30-rebound performance the Golden Bears' final game of the season against Washington State.
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“I could not be more proud of and excited for Kristine. To be named the national Naismith Defensive Player of the Year is such an incredible honor and is so significant to be at the top of the game in what was one of the best years in women’s college basketball history,” said California Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “I think Kristine is truly deserving of this award. She got every defensive rebound out there, she blocked and altered shots, and maybe what people don’t see quite as obviously, she lets us run an defensive scheme with her ability to guard guards or handle bigs one-on-one in the post.”
Anigwe is also the first Division I women's player in 30 years to average over 22 points per game and 16 rebounds per game over the course of the season.
Iowa's Megan Gustafson won the Naismith's Player of the Year, while her coach Lisa Bluder won the Naismith Coach of the Year.