Natasha Watley Wins Honda Sports Award for Softball
June 2, 2003
UCLA senior shortstop Natasha Watley has been announced as the recipient of the Honda Sports Award for softball. Watley, a first-team All-American and the Pac-10 Player of the Year, led the Bruins to the 2003 NCAA Championship.
Watley was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year last month, and led the Pac-10 in batting average (.481), hits (102), triples (7) and stolen bases (35). Her 395 career hits is the third-highest total in NCAA Division I history, and her 158 career stolen bases ranks in the NCAA's all-time top-10. Watley is UCLA's career record holder for at-bats (878), runs scored (252), hits, triples (21) and stolen bases.
Watley becomes the sixth UCLA softball player to win the Honda Award for the sport. She joins Debbie Doom (1984), Lisa Longaker (1988 and 1990), Janice Parks (1989), Lisa Fernandez (1991-93) and Jennifer Brundage (1995) as Bruins to win the softball Honda Award. Fernandez is the only softball player ever to win the Honda-Broderick Cup, having achieved that honor following the 1993 softball season.
'I am thrilled for Natasha,' said UCLA head softball coach Sue Enquist. 'Natasha will go down in UCLA softball history as one of the most balanced athletes ever. Her incredible speed and power, combined with her many clutch performances, have enabled her to leave an indelible mark on our program.'
'I'm elated with the honor,' said Watley. 'It means a lot to me, and it is amazing to be included with the five other Bruins who have won the Honda Award.'
In winning the Honda Sports Award, Watley becomes eligible for the Honda Broderick Cup, which honors the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year amongst 12 sports. The Honda Broderick Cup will be presented June 23 in the rotunda of Low Library at Columbia University in New York. Other nominees are Rachael Becker (lacrosse) from Princeton, Vilmarie Castellvi (tennis) from Tennessee, Natalie Coughlin (swimming) from California, Shalane Flangan (cross country) from North Carolina, Elva Goulbourne (track and field) from Auburn, Christine Sinclair (soccer) from Portland, Tiffany Snow (field hockey) from Old Dominion, Diana Taurasi (basketball) from Connecticut, Logan Tom (volleyball) from Stanford and UCLA's Onnie Willis (gymnastics). Only three UCLA student-athletes have ever won the Honda Broderick Cup - Ann Meyers (basketball) in 1977-78, Jackie Joyner (track and field) in 1984-85 and Lisa Fernandez (softball) in 1992-93.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards, sponsored by Honda, has completed its 27th year and recognizes the top woman collegiate athlete in each of 12 sports. In addition, the program honors the top women collegiate athletes representing Division II and III schools and the recipient of the Honda Inspiration Award. Ballots are distributed during the year to all NCAA senior woman administrators for each of the 12 sports to determine award winners in each sport. Nominees are recommended by the national governing bodies. The awards program is sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., Inc., which donates $1,000 to each nominee's school and $5,000 to each Honda Sports Award recipient school.