ATLANTA – Sophomore duo Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson were named finalists for the 2017 Naismith Trophy, presented to the most outstanding women’s college basketball player, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Friday.
Collier and Samuelson are joined by Kelsey Plum (Washington) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina) on the list of four finalists.
This year, fans have a say in the overall voting process. Fans should visit www.naismithtrophy.com/vote between March 20-31 to cast their ballot for one of these four Naismith Award finalists. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 31 and fans are limited to one vote per day. The fan vote will account for five percent of the total vote.
The American Athletic Conference Co-Players of the Year, Collier and Samuelson both currently average over 20 points per game. Samuelson leads the team with 21.0 points per game, followed by Collierin second with 20.2.
Currently second in the nation and first on the team in field-goal percentage (68.9), Collier leads the team in rebounding (8.9) and blocks (63). Her current field goal percentage would be the fourth-highest single-season total in school history. In the regular season finale against USF, Collier registered a career-high 39 points, which marked the fifth-highest single-game scoring total in school history. The O’Fallon, Mo. native was dubbed the American’s Player of the Week on four occasions this year.
Samuelson was crowned the Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 American Athletic Conference tournament after she scored a career-high 40 points in 28 minutes in the final against USF, becoming only the third Husky all-time to score 40+ points in a game. She shot a flawless 10-10 from three-point range in the final, establishing a new NCAA record for most three-pointers made in a game without a miss. Her 110 three-point field goals made this year is the third-highest single-season total in school history. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native joined UConn’s 1,000 point club this year as only a sophomore.
Six different Huskies have been awarded the Naismith Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year Trophy and those six have brought home the accolade a total of 10 times. Former Husky standout Breanna Stewart won the award the last three consecutive seasons.
The No. 1 seed in the Bridgeport region, the Huskies will open 2017 NCAA tournament play on Saturday, March 18 at Gampel Pavilion when they take on America East Champion Albany. Tip-off is slated for 11 a.m.