Pac-12 Announces Annual Women’s Basketball Awards
Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu voted Pac-12 Player of the Year
Oregon’s Satou Sabally voted Pac-12 Freshman of the Year
UCLA’s Jordin Canada voted Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
Stanford’s Brittany McPhee selected Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer named John R. Wooden Coach of the Year
SAN FRANCISCO -- In a vote of the league’s 12 women’s basketball head coaches, OREGON sophomore Sabrina Ionescu was voted the Pac-12 Player of the Year, teammate Satou Sabally was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and UCLA’s Jordin Canada was tabbed the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, the Conference office announced on Tuesday on Pac-12 Network. Additionally, STANFORD head coach Tara VanDerveer was voted the John R. Wooden Coach of the Year by her colleagues for the 15th time in her career while the Cardinal’s Brittany McPhee was selected the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The Conference Coach of the Year honor was renamed in honor of the late John R. Wooden, former legendary UCLA coach, during the 2010-11 campaign.
The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year is presented in each of the 24 sports the Pac-12 sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline. In order to be eligible for the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, student-athletes must be a senior (in athletics eligibility) on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50% of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution. Each Pac-12 institution may nominate one individual per sport, and the winners are selected by a committee of Pac-12 staff members at the conclusion of each sport’s regular season. The athletic accomplishments of the nominees are a consideration in the voting for the award.
The Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament takes place this week, March 1-4, in Seattle at KeyArena. Tickets are available for purchase at pac-12.com/tickets.
PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Sabrina Ionescu, So., G, Oregon
The sophomore from Walnut Creek, Calif., is the third Duck to earn the Pac-12 Player of the Year honor all-time and first since Shaquala Williams in 2000, the last time Oregon won the Pac-12 regular-season crown prior to this season. Ionescu is the sixth sophomore in the history of the award, which dates back to 1987, to claim the honor, joining the ranks of Williams and former Stanford Cardinal Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who won the award as a sophomore in 2010 before repeating as a senior in 2012.
Ionescu has led the Ducks to claim their third regular-season league crown all-time and first-ever No. 1 seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament. She leads the Conference in scoring (19.2) and assists, dishing out 7.8 assists per game which is fifth-most in the country. She tallied her 1,000th career point earlier this month and was named ESPNW National Player of the Week earlier this week. She leads the nation with five triple-doubles this season, also breaking the NCAA record for career triple-doubles earlier this year. She has 12 double-doubles this season and 14 20-point games. She has recored 10-assist games 10 times this season, handing out a league season-high 14 twice. The USBWA National Freshman of the Year last year, she is on the watch list for every national player of the year honor and is a candidate for the Nancy Lieberman Award, presented to the top point guard in the nation. This marks just the fourth time a player has been named player of the year the year after being voted the Conference’s freshman of the year (Shaquala Williams, ORE, in 1999 and 2000; Nicole Powell, STAN, in 2001 and 2002; Candice Wiggins, STAN, in 2005 and 2006). Ionescu is also the first sophomore to earn the nod since 2010.
PAC-12 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jordin Canada, SR., G, UCLA
Los Angeles native Canada earns the defensive honor for the first time in her career but is a three-time All-Defensive Team honoree and also earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 team for the third-straight year. Canada leads the Conference in steals for the third-straight year, this year averaging 3.1 spg to rank 15th in the nation in the category. Canada has collected 322 steals in her career to rank fifth among the NCAA’s active career leaders and ranks fourth all-time in Pac-12 history. With Canada’s leadership, the Bruins have been ranked in the top 10 all season. She broke the Pac-12’s 27-year old career assists record (765) and became just the 19th player in league history to score 2,000 career points. UCLA tied for third in the Pac-12 with a 14-4 record and are the No. 4 seed overall, earning a first round bye. Canada is the first Bruin to win the Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year honor since it was first awarded in 2007-08.
PAC-12 FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Satou Sabally, Fr., F, Oregon
A native of Germany, Sabally is the third Oregon Duck to be named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and the second straight after teammate Sabrina Ionescu was tabbed the top freshman last season. The first Duck to win the honor was Shaquala Williams in 2000. Sabally is the top-scoring freshman in the Pac-12, averaging 10.9 points per game. She also has the best shooting percentage among qualifying rookies, shooting .467 percent and has recorded four 20-point games this season. Sabally has started 22 of 31 games, helping the Ducks claim the Pac-12 regular-season crown for the first time since 2000 and the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time ever.
PAC-12 SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Brittany McPhee, Sr., F, Stanford
Hailing from Normandy Park, Wash., McPhee is the fourth Cardinal to win the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor and first since Chiney Ogwumike in 2014. The senior is a human biology major boasting a 3.71 grade point average. Named to several national player of the year watch lists and the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list for the top shooting guard, she is the Conference’s only Senior CLASS Award candidate. Last year, she was the NCAA’s Elite 90 honoree for the student-athlete with the highest GPA at the NCAA Women’s Final Four. This season, she was ESPNW’s National Player of the Week (Jan. 1, 2018, Feb. 5, 2018) and, after missing nine games this season due to injury, has nine 20-point performances and is averaging 18.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Became the 39th player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark for her career on Jan. 26 against Arizona State. Off the court, she has participated in research at the Longaker Laboratory on campus, investigating stem cells and their ability to reduce scarring, and is active in charitable causes throughout the community. She is part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is a spiritual care volunteer at Stanford Hospital and also visits Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, interacting and spending time with patients at one of the country's foremost pediatric care facilities.
JOHN R. WOODEN PAC-12 COACH OF THE YEAR
Tara VanDerveer, Stanford
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer is voted the John R. Wooden Award for the 15th time in her career and the first time since 2014. The Cardinal have clinched the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, also earning a first-round bye, never having played in the first round of the event. This season, the Cardinal has been one of the best defensive teams in the league, limiting opponents to just .360 shooting from the floor, which is second in the Pac-12. Stanford has also only allowed opponents to shoot .282 from three-point range, which is the lowest opponent three-point shooting in the Conference. The Cardinal also rank second in the Pac-12 and 19th in the country in blocked shots (5.30). A 38-year coaching veteran, including 32 years on the Farm, VanDerveer was inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2011) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2002).