ST. LOUIS - University of Connecticut women's basketball standouts Breanna Stewart (North Syracuse, N.Y.), Moriah Jefferson (Glenn Heights, Texas) and Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook, Ill.) have been named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Women's National Player of the Year Midseason Watch List by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on Monday.
Stewart has churned out a team-best 19.3 points per game average and ranks in the top-10 in the American Athletic Conference in rebounding (8.3), field goal percentage (58.1), assists per game (4.1), free throw percentage (81.8), three-point field goal percentage (44.9) and blocks per game (3.4). She currently stands third on the Huskies' all-time scoring list with 2,288 points and at No. 3 all-time in total blocks (346). On Dec. 9, she became the only player in NCAA history to reach the 300-block, 300-assist plateau. The North Syracuse native also checks at sixth all-time with 997 rebounds. In the Huskies' last outing against SMU, Stewart was just shy of a quadruple double with 15 points, 12 rebounds, nine blocks and seven assists in only 26 minutes of action.
Jefferson, who is averaging 13.4 points in 31.2 minutes per game this season, continues to be one of UConn's most consistent scoring options. In total, she leads the team in assists (94) and steals (46) and is one of seven Huskies shooting over 50.0 percent from the floor (56.9). Jefferson's 5.5 assists per game stands second in The American while she tops the league with 2.7 steals per outing. In her final game in her home state, the Texas native had a game-high 19 points along with six assists and six steals against the Mustangs. She became only the third Husky to clear 500 career assists and 300 career steals, joining former national players of the year Maya Moore (2008, 2009, 2010) and Jennifer Rizzotti (1996).
Although she has been sidelined for the past two games, Tuck remains the second-leading scorer for the Huskies with 14.9 points per game, which checks in seventh in conference. The redshirt-junior has been impressive this season, reaching double figures in 12 games, including a season-high 22 points and career-best 12 rebounds against USF on Jan. 10. Tuck cemented her place in UConn history after becoming the 41st Husky to join the 1,000-point club after dropping 17 points against Maryland on Dec. 28. She is fifth in the conference in field goal percentage (53.8) and sixth with 3.5 assist per game.
Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. At the Women's NCAA Final Four in Denver, 2012, the organization announced going forward that the national and weekly player award has been named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale. At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA. The award will be presented at the College Basketball Awards gala in Oklahoma City on April 11, 2016, at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Access Sports, a non-profit organization committed to supporting various charitable causes, will serve as host for the gala. Funds from the gala are used to support youth basketball programs in Oklahoma that allow disadvantaged youth the opportunity to participate in leagues and training.
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