ATLANTA (March 23, 2017) – Napheesa Collier of Connecticut, Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State, Kelsey Plum of Washington and A’ja Wilson of South Carolina are the four finalists for the 2017 Wade Trophy, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today. The prestigious award, regarded as "The Heisman of Women's Basketball," is presented annually to the NCAA Division I Player of the Year by the WBCA.
The winner will be announced Saturday, April 1, in Dallas.
Collier, a 6-foot-1 sophomore forward, is the American Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year and ranks second nationally in field-goal percentage. She has scored the fourth-most points of any UConn sophomore in program history and has registered at least 20 points in 18 games this season.
Mitchell was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and was a unanimous first team All-Big Ten selection. The 5-foot-8 junior guard led the conference in scoring at 23.0 points per game and became the fastest player in NCAA history to record 2,000 career points.
Plum, in the final regular-season game of her illustrious career, poured in a Pac-12 record 57 points to pass Jackie Stiles and become the all-time leading scorer in women’s college basketball history with 3,431 career points. Plum, a 5-foot-8 senior guard and the espnW and Pac-12 Player of the Year, became just the third player in NCAA history to reach 1,000 points in a single season.
Wilson, the two-time SEC Player of the Year, powered South Carolina to its fourth-straight SEC regular-season championship and third-consecutive SEC Tournament title and earned tournament MVP honors as well. The 6-foot-5 junior forward is ranked among the nation’s top 20 in field goal percentage and blocked shots, and is already South Carolina’s all-time blocked shots leader.
The Wade Trophy — now in its 40th year — is the oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award in college women’s basketball. It is named in honor of the late, legendary Delta State University head coach Lily Margaret Wade, who won three consecutive national championships with the Lady Statesmen. First awarded in 1978 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), now known as SHAPE America, the The Wade Trophy has been presented to the WBCA NCAA Division I National Player of the Year since 2001.
Carol Blazejowski of Montclair State was the first recipient of the Wade Trophy. Two-time winners include Nancy Leiberman (1979, 1980) of Old Dominion, Seimone Augustus (2005, 2006) of LSU, Brittney Griner (2012, 2013) of Baylor, and Breanna Stewart (2015, 2016) of Connecticut. Maya Moore (2009, 2010, 2011) of Connecticut is the only three-time recipient.
About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to the organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport. Visit www.WBCA.org for more details about the Association.