Winner to be Announced on April 5

ATLANTA (March 12, 2019) – The four finalists were announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club for the 2019 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year presented by Bona. Each candidate won the Defensive Player of the Year honor in their respective conference, including last season’s inaugural Naismith Defensive Player of the Year winner, Mississippi State’s Teaira McCowan.

The 2019 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year presented by Bona will be announced on April 5, 2019. The winner will be honored at her school on a later date.

“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 shown what it truly means to play defensive basketball with a tenacity that embodies the spirit of this award.”

“These talented athletes have shown impressive defensive performances and an unmatched on-court toughness,” said Tiffany Baird, brand manager, Bona US. “We are looking forward to watching them play in post season and are proud that Bona helps colleges defend and finish the courts athletes call home.”

About the finalists:

Kristine Anigwe

  • Anigwe was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year after ranking second in blocks per game (1.7) and recording career-bests with 16.3 rpg and 22.9 ppg.
  • The California senior has a streak of 32 consecutive games with double-doubles, including her last game of regular season where she had a 30-point, 30-rebound performance.
  • Ranking third all-time in rebounding for the Pac-12, she has also recorded 55 blocks this season.

Lauren Cox

  • For a second-straight season, Cox was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous selection for the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
  • The junior led her conference with 78 blocked shots in 31 games played.
  • She averages 8.2 rpg and has 111 assists and 24 steals for Baylor.

Ae’Rianna Harris

  • Unanimously selected for the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, she was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
  • The Purdue junior is averaging 13.1 ppg and 9.4 rpg with 40 assists and 37 steals.
  • Harris leads the Big Ten and is second in the NCAA with 104 blocked shots.

Teaira McCowan

  • The winner of the 2018 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year presented by Bona captured her second SEC Defensive Player of the Year honor and was named SEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.
  • Leading her team in both scoring and rebounding, McCowan is fifth in the league with 17.8 ppg and first in the SEC in rebounding with 13.5 rpg.
  • The Mississippi State senior has 76 blocks and 26 steals.

The four finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s board of selectors, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, who based their selections on outstanding on-court defensive performances during the 2018-19 college basketball season.

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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 Citizen 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 Bona, Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


Bona is an innovative, environmentally-conscious company dedicated to creating beautiful floors since 1919. Bona US, the North American subsidiary of BonaAB in Malmö, Sweden, manufactures and distributes floor care and home cleaning products. For decades, most professional and collegiate athletes have played on floors finished with Bona Sport® waterborne finishes, sealers and paints. Bona provides the most complete system of sport products in the industry including waterborne and oil modified finishes, paint, machines, abrasives, adhesives and a fast, effective maintenance system.  From residue-free hardwood floor cleaners to a beautiful array of stains and high durability finishes, consumers, distributors and contractors trust Bona. For more information, please contact Bona US at (800) 872-5515 or


 Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]