Winner to be Announced on March 31
ATLANTA (March 16, 2018) – The finalists for the Citizen Naismith Women’s Player of the Year award were announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, and two have history claiming a Naismith Player of the Year honor. A’ja Wilson (University of South Carolina) and Katie Lou Samuelson (University of Connecticut) won back-to-back Naismith High School Trophies in 2014 and 2015, and seek to become the eighth woman all-time to claim a prep and collegiate Naismith Trophy. Standing in their way are Asia Durr (University of Louisville) and Gabby Williams (University of Connecticut).
Former Huskie Breanna Stewart won the high school award in 2012 and the college Naismith Trophy in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Other winners of both awards include Maya Moore (2006, 2007 High School; 2009, 2011 College), Candace Parker (2003, 2004 High School; 2008 College), Diana Taurasi (2000 High School; 2003, 2004 College), Tamika Catchings (1997 High School; 2000 College), Chamique Holdsclaw (1995 High School; 1998, 1999 College) and Lisa Leslie (1990 High School; 1994 College).
The University of Connecticut, which boasts a total of 10 Citizen Naismith Trophy awards for Women’s College Player of the Year, has won three of the past four, and have both Samuelson and Williams in contention to extend that number. Durr and Wilson would be the first winners for their schools.
Durr would become the third ACC player to win, following Dawn Staley who won it for University of Virginia in both 1991 and 1992 and Lindsey Harding of Duke University in 2007. Wilson would follow in her coach’s footsteps with the trophy in 2018.
Fans will have a chance to vote for the winner beginning March 19 and running through 6:00 p.m. EDT on March 30. To vote for their favorite player of the finalists, fans should visit naismithtrophy.com/vote to cast their ballot. The fan component makes up five percent of the overall vote.
The 2018 Citizen Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year winner will be announced on Saturday, March 31.
“These four women have played incredible seasons, and all of them deserve this award,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “They have raised the level of their teammates’ play and represent all that’s great about college basketball.”
“Each of these four players has displayed the talent it takes to become a Citizen Naismith Trophy award winner,” said Eric Horowitz, managing director U.S. and travel retail, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. “As they play in postseason, we look forward to supporting them as they continue to compete for the 2018 Citizen Naismith Trophy.”
About the finalists:
- Durr was named ACC Player of the Year after leading the conference in 3-point field goals made and 3-point field goal percentage, while ranking third with 19.5 ppg.
- The junior has scored double-digit points in 27 games, 20-plus points 14 times.
- Four times this season, she has scored 30-plus points, including a school-record 47 points against Ohio State in early November.
- Her efforts helped lead the Cardinals to both the ACC regular season and tournament titles.
Katie Lou Samuelson
- Samuelson was the only unanimous selection on the American Athletic Conference first team and was named the Player of the Year for a second-straight season, after sharing the award last season.
- The junior leads UCONN’s top-ranked offense with 18.3 ppg and is the nation’s best 49.3 three- point field goal percentage.
- She averages 4.3 rpg and has 92 assists and 33 steals.
- Samuelson won the Naismith National High School Trophy in 2015.
- Williams was named to the American Athletic Conference first team and despite missing a game, earned a spot on the conference all-tournament team.
- She leads the Huskies with 162 assists and 81 steals.
- The UCONN senior is averaging 10.6 ppg and 7.5 rpg.
- Williams helped lead her team to an undefeated season (29-0) and a No. 1 seed ranking in the NCAA tournament.
- The 2014 Naismith High School Trophy winner became the Gamecocks’ all-time leading scorer and captured an unprecedented third SEC Player of the Year award from the league’s coaches.
- She also earned SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year honor as well.
- The SEC’s leading scorer, Wilson is eighth in the nation with 22.6 ppg, which includes 21.3 ppg in 13 games against ranked opponents this season.
- She has scored in double figures in 28 of her 29 games this season, highlighted by 18 total 20-point outings.
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, all of whom based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2017-18 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.
For more information, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
Celebrating 50 Years of the Citizen Naismith Trophy
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 have become 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 of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boys’ and Girls’ High School Basketball Players and Coaches of the Year, Basketball Officials and Outstanding Contributors to the game. Celebrating its 50th year by honoring past winners, the Citizen Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1983.
Citizen, a pioneer in watchmaking and innovative technology since 1918, promotes excellence and creativity with a deep-rooted respect for craftsmanship. Citizen advocates “Better Starts Now,” searching for and accomplishing goals that are cause driven. In this respect, Citizen aligns with organizations and personalities that reflect the values of the brand including the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, Naismith Awards, National Merit Scholarship, and Good360.
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