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Atlanta Tipoff Club | November 17, 2020

Naismith women's college basketball Player of the Year Top 50 watchlist released for 2020-21 season

Geno Auriemma on UConn's return to the Big East, Paige Bueckers and chasing Pat Summitt's record

ATLANTA — The 2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Watch List, announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, is headlined by Rhyne Howard of Kentucky, who was a 2020 finalist for the trophy, and the 2020 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Girls Trophy winner, Paige Bueckers, now a freshman at UConn. Overall, the list of 50 women’s players represents 11 national conferences with the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC having nine players each. UConn, which has won more Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophies (10) than any other school, leads the group with four players included, followed by Baylor, the 2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion, and Stanford with three candidates apiece. 

HISTORY: Tara VanDerveer enters 2020-21 season 4 wins away from matching Pat Summitt

“The competition for the 2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy will intensify as more players enter the competition throughout the season, but these 50 candidates are the early contenders to watch,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “While last season was unlike any college basketball season we’ve experienced, we hope these athletes have the opportunity to compete through their entire schedule this season and showcase the full breadth of their abilities and talent.” 

The midseason 30 team will be announced in early February; players who do not make the watch list are still eligible to be selected for the midseason 30 team. Then, the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists on March 2, 2021, and four finalists will be named on March 19, 2021. The winner of the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced on April 3, 2021. 

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“As we sponsor the collegiate honor for the first year, Jersey Mike’s is excited to partner with the Naismith Trophy,” said Rich Hope, chief marketing officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “We look forward to following these great athletes throughout the season and honoring one of these talented players as the winner of the 2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy.” 

2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List

Aliyah Boston So. F South Carolina SEC
Sam Brunelle So. F Notre Dame ACC
Paige Bueckers Fr. G UConn BIG EAST
DiJonai Carrington Sr. G Baylor Big 12
Jessika Carter Jr. F/C Mississippi St. SEC
Charli Collier Jr. F/C Texas Big 12
Zia Cooke So. G South Carolina SEC
Elissa Cunane Jr. C NC State ACC
Rennia Davis Sr. G/F Tennessee SEC
Chelsea Dungee Sr. G Arkansas SEC
Dana Evans Sr. G Louisville ACC
Aleah Goodman Sr. G Oregon State Pac-12
Vivian Gray Sr. G Texas Tech Big 12
Arella Guirantes Sr. G Rutgers Big Ten
Lauren Heard Sr. G TCU Big 12
Lexi Held Jr. G DePaul BIG EAST
Naz Hillmon Jr. F Michigan Big Ten
Rhyne Howard Jr. G Kentucky SEC
Lexie Hull Jr. G Stanford Pac-12
Rickea Jackson So. F Mississippi St. SEC
Ashley Joens Jr. G/F Iowa State Big 12
Haley Jones So. G Stanford Pac-12
N'Dea Jones Sr. F Texas A&M SEC
Taylor Jones So. F Oregon State Pac-12
Dorka Juhász Jr. F Ohio State Big Ten
Ayoka Lee So. C Kansas State Big 12
Kiara Lewis Sr. G Syracuse ACC
Natasha Mack Sr. F Oklahoma State Big 12
Tiana Mangakahia Sr. G Syracuse ACC
Aari McDonald Sr. G Arizona Pac-12
Nancy Mulkey Sr. C Rice C-USA
Olivia Nelson-Ododa Jr. F UConn BIG EAST
Michaela Onyenwere Sr. F UCLA Pac-12
Ashley Owusu So. G Maryland Big Ten
Ali Patberg Sr.  G Indiana Big Ten
Chelsey Perry Sr. F Tennessee-Martin OVC
Lasha Petree Jr. G Bradley MVC
Alissa Pili So. F USC Pac-12
Lindsey Pulliam Sr. G Northwestern Big Ten
Cate Reese Jr. F Arizona Pac-12
DiDi Richards Sr. G Baylor Big 12
Destiny Slocum Sr. G Arkansas SEC
NaLyssa Smith Jr. F Baylor Big 12
Taylor Soule Jr. F Boston College ACC
Jill Townsend Sr. G Gonzaga WCC
Maddi Utti Sr. F Fresno St. MWC
Hailey Van Lith Fr. G Louisville ACC
Evina Westbrook Jr. G UConn BIG EAST
Christyn Williams Jr. G UConn BIG EAST
Kiana Williams Sr. G Stanford Pac-12


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, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder. 

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