ATLANTA (March 14, 2018) – Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon, Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State, Katie Lou Samuelson of Connecticut and A’ja Wilson of South Carolina are the four finalists for the 2018 Wade Trophy, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today. The prestigious award is presented by the WBCA each year to the best player in college women’s basketball.
The winner will be announced during ESPN’s telecast of the NCAA Women’s Final Four National Semifinal Games on Friday, March 29, in Columbus, Ohio.
Ionescu, a 5-foot-11 sophomore guard, is the Pac-12 Player of the Year and leads the Pac-12 in points per game, assists per game and three-pointers made. She is second in the league in three-point percentage and fourth in the NCAA in assists per game. Ionescu was also named the Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player after averaging 21 points, five rebounds and 6.7 assists per game throughout the tournament.
Mitchell was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for the third time, was a first team All-Big Ten selection for the fourth season, and was the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player. The 5-foot-8 senior guard was second in the conference and third in the NCAA in scoring at 24.5 points per game.
Samuelson was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second-straight year. The 6-foot-3 junior guard/forward led the top-ranked Huskies’ offense with 18.3 points per game. Her 46.2 three-point field goal percentage leads the conference and ranks fourth in the nation.
Wilson, the three-time SEC Player of the Year, powered South Carolina to its fourth-consecutive SEC Tournament title and earned tournament MVP honors as well. The 6-foot-5 junior forward leads the conference and ranks eighth in the nation in points per game at 22.6. She was named the 2018 USA TODAY Sports Player of the Year and espnW Preseason National Player of the Year.
The Wade Trophy — now in its 41st 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.