DALLAS (March 29, 2023) — Today, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Iowa’s Caitlin Clark as the winner of the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy, honoring her as the most outstanding player in women’s college basketball. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Aliyah Boston repeated as Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year and Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, marking the first-ever instance where the Naismith Awards have recognized consecutive winners of two different awards from the same school. The Hawkeyes and the Gamecocks are set to take each other on in the women’s national semifinal this Friday, March 31.
“The Naismith Awards represent the pinnacle of achievement in college basketball, and it is a great honor to congratulate Caitlin, Dawn and Aliyah as winners of their respective awards,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Their sheer dominance in today’s women’s college basketball game is undeniably awe-inspiring, and we are very proud to recognize their remarkable accomplishments this season.”
Clark, who was a finalist in 2022, edged out last year’s winner Boston, Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley and Maddy Siegrist of Villanova for the 2023 trophy. She is the second Hawkeye to be named Jersey Mike’s Naismith Women’s Player of the Year in the past five years, following in the footsteps of 2019 Naismith Trophy recipient Megan Gustafson; Iowa coach Lisa Bluder was also named Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year that same season.
About 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Winner Caitlin Clark:
- The only player in women’s college basketball this season to average more than 20 points (27.3), five assists (8.6) and five rebounds (7.3) per game
- During her history-making 40-point triple double against Louisville in the Elite 8, she became the first person in Division I NCAA basketball history (men’s or women’s) to record over 900 points and 300 assists in a single season
- Named a First Team AP All-American for the second year running, this year as a unanimous selection
- Selected Big Ten player of the year for the second season in a row
- Scored 30 points, recorded 17 assists and collected 10 rebounds in the Big Ten Championship Game and earned MVP of that tournament
“Winning the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy is such a huge honor for my family and our program,” said Clark. “None of this would be possible without my tremendous support system. I want to also thank Lisa Bluder for giving me the opportunity to play at Iowa and really thrive during my time here.”
“Jersey Mike’s sends its congratulations to Caitlin on her recognition as the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Women’s Player of the Year,” said Jeff Hemschoot, vice president of marketing at Jersey Mike’s. “She has been thrilling to watch all season long, and to win this award over the rest of these talented finalists indicates how incredible her basketball abilities and her season truly have been.”
Staley has now won three of the last four Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year awards, first earning the honor in 2020 and again last year. Staley won the award over finalists Kenny Brooks (Virginia Tech), Teri Moren (Indiana) and Lynne Roberts (Utah).
About 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year Dawn Staley:
- She is the only head coach in either men’s or women’s college basketball to win the Naismith Coach of the Year award after previously winning the Naismith Trophy as a player (Virginia, 1991, 1992)
- Staley has guided the Gamecocks to an undefeated record so far this year, including in postseason play
- South Carolina was named the No. 1 overall seed in the Women’s NCAA Tournament
- She picked up SEC Coach of the Year honors for the sixth time in her career, also her second consecutive time winning the award
- South Carolina won the 2023 SEC regular season and conference tournament title, which was their seventh SEC Tournament championship in the last nine years
“Being named Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year is an honor for our whole coaching staff. The hours they put in to help our team don’t go unnoticed, and we couldn’t be in this position without their continued commitment to our program,” said Coach Staley. “I also want to thank our team, who makes our jobs a little easier by their commitment to the hard work and sacrifice it takes for us to be in the position of being undefeated and in the Final Four. Their respect for our sport, our program and each other has been rock solid from day one, and I thank them for that.”
“Werner is honored to recognize Coach Staley with her third Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year award in four years,” said Stacy Gardella, Head of Global Marketing Technology & Operations at WernerCo. “Her dominance in recent years aligns with her deep knowledge of the game and brilliant coaching acumen. We send our warmest congratulations to her and the other women’s finalists on their programs’ fantastic seasons.”
Last year, Boston became the first-ever player to earn recognition for both Naismith player and defensive player of the year awards; this year, she becomes the first-ever player to win back-to-back defensive player of the year honors. She beat out her teammate Brea Beal, Cameron Brink of Stanford and Duke’s Celeste Taylor to secure this year’s award.
About 2023 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Aliyah Boston:
- She was named SEC Player of the Year for the second year running
- Selected as a First Team AP All-American for the third season in a row
- Took home conference Defensive Player of the Year honors for the fourth straight year
- She is the Gamecocks’ all-time leading rebounder (1,483) and second all-time in blocks per game (2.4)
- Only South Carolina Women’s Basketball player this century to average a double-double over her entire career
“I’m very thankful to God for winning the 2023 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, it’s such a blessing,” said Boston. “I’m also incredibly grateful for my teammates and my coaches, they were the ones that put me in a position to win this award and I’m very appreciative of all that they do.”
WERNER LADDER NAISMITH COACH OF THE YEAR | JERSEY MIKE’S NAISMITH PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Clark and Staley were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading media members from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2022-23 college basketball season. Additionally, fans had the opportunity to cast a ballot through naismithfanvote.com and on the @NaismithTrophy, NCAA @MarchMadnessWBB and @MarchMadnessMBB Twitter pages, which accounted for 5% of the overall vote. The vote was tabulated and verified by the Atlanta team of J.S. Held, a global consulting firm.
The Player of the Year winner was presented with the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy, which is produced and provided by Herff Jones, leading provider of graduation and educational products and services designed to inspire achievement and create memorable experiences for students. A replica trophy will be donated by Herff Jones to the winner’s university.
NAISMITH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Atlanta Tipoff Club’s board of selectors, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, selected the winner, basing their selections on outstanding on-court defensive performances during the 2022-23 college basketball season.
For more information about the Naismith Awards, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
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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Jersey Mike’s Subs, with more than 2,500 locations open and under development nationwide, serves authentic fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs on in-store freshly baked bread — the same recipe it started with in 1956. Passion for giving in Jersey Mike’s local communities is reflective in its mission statement “Giving…making a difference in someone’s life.” For more information, please visit jerseymikes.com or follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/jerseymikes), Instagram (instagram.com/jerseymikes), and Twitter (twitter.com/jerseymikes.com).
ABOUT WERNER LADDER COMPANY
Werner, the official ladder of NCAA® March Madness® and the world leader in ladders, offers a complete line of climbing products designed for working at heights. The portfolio includes ladders, attic ladders, scaffolding, pump jacks, stages, planks, stepstools, accessories and fall protection equipment including harnesses, lanyards, anchors and compliance kits. From ladders to fall protection, WERNER provides a full line of climbing equipment that’s engineered to give you maximum safety, durability and productivity at every height. All Werner products meet or exceed applicable international safety standards. For more information, visit www.wernerladder.com.