ATLANTA – Three seniors and one sophomore make up the final ballot for the 2014 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T to the women’s college basketball player of the year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Friday. The 2014 finalists are Notre Dame senior Kayla McBride, Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike, Baylor senior Odyssey Sims and Connecticut sophomore Breanna Stewart. Ogwumike was a finalist for this honor in 2013, and won the Naismith Trophy High School Girl’s Player of the Year Award in 2010. Stewart also claimed the top prep honor in 2012.
The finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, which determined that the player performances throughout the 2013-14 regular season stood out among a host of great women’s basketball players. The 2014 Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year will be awarded on April 7 in Nashville.
For the 10th consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice and help determine the 2014 Naismith Trophy winner. Beginning March 24 and running through April 5 fans can cast their vote through the online and mobile optimized site www.NaismithVote.com. The fan vote represents 25 percent of the selection process -- the largest fan impact of any collegiate basketball award.
“What’s impressive about these four finalists is that each of their teams is among the best in the country, so in addition to them achieving individual accolades, they all are strong team leaders,” Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club said. “It’s anyone’s award to win, and we’re looking forward to watching it play out during the tournament.”
Should Ogwumike or Stewart win, they would become the seventh honoree to win both a Naismith Girls 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).
“These players have risen to the top as the best in women’s college basketball and have made the season even more exciting as they all vie for team honors during the tournament,” said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “Each student-athlete has brought the game to a higher level and is a worthy candidate for top recognition as the player of the year. The fan vote is sure to play an important role in selecting this year’s winner.”
About the finalists
Kayla McBride, Senior, Notre Dame: The ACC Player of the Year started every game, averaging career highs of 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, and a team high-tying 11 20-point games. She ranks third in the ACC and 20th nationally in free throw percentage (.874), fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.82), 10th in assists, 10th in 3-point percentage (.368), and 11th in scoring. Her 1,767 career points is sixth in school history and she is one of only seven Fighting Irish players to score more than 1,700 points. She was named to the All-ACC Tournament First Team.
Chiney Ogwumike, Senior, Stanford: In 2010, the 6-foot-3 standout won the Naismith Trophy as the girl’s high school player of the year. For the second consecutive year, Ogwumike was named Pac-12 Player of the Year in a vote of the conference coaches. Additionally, she made the All-Pac-12 team for the fourth time.
Ogwumike ranks third in the country in scoring (27.0), eighth in rebounding (12.1) and third in field-goal percentage (62.2). She is the conference's career rebounding leader with 1,483 and needs 50 points to break former Stanford star Candice Wiggins' Pac-12 career scoring mark of 2,629.
Odyssey Sims, Senior, Baylor: Sims, a 5-8 senior guard, was the Big 12 Player of the Year, Big 12 Defensive Players of the Year, All-Big 12 first-team, Big 12 All-Defensive team and was recently named to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament team. Sims, a three-time consensus All-American, is averaging 28.4 points per game, which ranks No. 2 nationally, 4.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals. She is shooting .445 from the floor, .405 from 3-point range and .799 from the free throw line. Sims holds school career records in assists (619) and made 3-pointers (249). Her 89 3s made this season set a BU single-season record.
Breanna Stewart, Sophomore, Connecticut: The 2012 Naismith Trophy High School girl’s winner was named First-team All-American Athletic Conference in leading the Huskies to a 34-0 record. She averaged 19.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, and scored her 1,000th career point in her 63rd career game, marking the third fewest games to reach 1,000 in UConn history. Stewart scored in double-figures 32 times this season and 20-plus points on 19 occasions. She was named the 2014 American Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player and was a member of the 2014 All-American Conference Tournament Team.
Notable past Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year winners include Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Maya Moore and last year’s winner, Brittney Griner. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball player of the year.