11 from Pac-12 appear on Naismith Trophy Watch List
SAN FRANCISCO - Pac-12 women’s basketball again boasts the most candidates on a postseason award watch list, placing 11 out of 50 on the Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. OREGON also claims the most candidates of any team in the country, with a nation-leading four on the watch list.
This announcement comes a day after the Pac-12 placed a nation’s-best nine on the Wooden Award Women’s Top 30 Watch List, led by 2019 Wooden Award winner Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu.
Five different Pac-12 teams were represented on the Naismith preseason list, the same five that were represented on the Wooden preseason list: ARIZONA, OREGON, OREGON STATE, STANFORD and UCLA. Four had multiple candidates on the latest watch list.
Joining Ionescu on the Naismith list are senior Ruthy Hebard and junior Satou Sabally, who were also named to the Wooden preseason list, with junior Erin Boley as the newcomer on the Naismith Watch List. The No. 1-ranked Ducks are looking to make a second-straight trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four as they return four starters from last year’s team.
Oregon State’s senior Mikayla Pivec and redshirt junior Destiny Slocum are candidates on both lists. They were the Beavs’ top-scoring threats on last season’s team that made it to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Stanford has a pair of candidates on the list, including senior DiJonai Carrington and junior Kianna WIlliams, who both appeared on the Wooden list, as well. The duo are the top-returning scorers for the Cardinal with Williams leading the team in assists and three-point shooting on a squad that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the third time in four years.
A new name is on the Naismith watch list for UCLA. Senior Japreece Dean joins junior teammate Michaela Onyenwere as one of the top student-athletes to watch. Dean had the second-most free throws made on the team last year, while dishing out the most assists, while Onyenwere led the team in scoring, en route to helping UCLA advance to the Sweet 16.
Arizona’s Aari McDonald is the nation’s top-returning scorer after averaging 24.1 points per game, while leading the Wildcats to the biggest turnaround of any team in the country and a WNIT crown.
The midseason 30 team will be announced in early February, and then the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists on March 3, 2020. Following those results, four finalists will be named on March 20, 2020, and the winner of the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced on April 4, 2020.
The 2019-20 season tipped off on Tuesday with a full slate of games scheduled for this weekend. Five Pac-12 teams were ranked in the preseason, including Oregon, which received its first-ever No. 1 ranking. Stanford was ranked No. 3 in the preseason Associated Press poll, followed by No. 7 OSU, No. 11 UCLA and No. 20 ARIZONA STATE.
More than 100 Pac-12 women’s basketball games will be televised this season on Pac-12 Networks and ESPN Network, including all 108 league matchups. The season culminates at the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev., March 5-8, 2020. Visit pac-12.com for a full schedule. For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, visit naismithtrophy.com.