The Wade Trophy is awarded annually to the best player in college women's basketball. Since 2001 it has been presented to the WBCA NCAA Division I Player of the Year.
The Wade Trophy was first awarded in 1978. It is the oldest and most prestigious national player of the year honor in college women's basketball. The Wade Trophy was established by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAPHERD), which was founded in 1885 as a committee to study and develop the rules of basketball for women, and was presented annually to the college women's basketball player who not only excelled above all others athletically, but also served as a positive role model both on and off the court. The Wade Trophy is named after the late, legendary Lily Margaret Wade, coach of three-time national champion Delta State University. AAPHERD subsequently became the National Association of Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS). Today it is called SHAPE America (the Society of Health and Physical Educators).
The WBCA entered into a Wade Coalition partnership with NAGWS during the 2000-01 season to manage and award the Wade Trophy. A committee composed of coaches, administrators and media from across the U.S. selected the recipient. The WBCA discontinued its own NCAA Division I Player of the Year award at that time and instead began presenting the Wade Trophy as part of the annual Coaches' All-America team announcement during the WBCA Convention.
The WBCA assumed full ownership of the Wade Trophy during the 2016-17 season. At that time, the WBCA's NCAA Division I Coaches' All-America Selection Committee began also selecting the Wade Tropy recipient as is the process in all other membership divisions (NCAA Division II, Division III, NAIA, two-year college and high school).
All academically eligible NCAA Division I players (sophomore, junior or senior) who are members of the WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches' All-America Team are candidates for The Wade Trophy. Since its inception, freshmen are not eligible for The Wade Trophy.
Criteria (in order of priority)
1. NCAA Division I basketball player (sophomore, junior or senior) who is a member of the NCAA Division I WBCA Coaches' All-America Team.
2. A player who embodies the "Spirit of Margaret Wade."
□ Excellence on the court (as defined above).
□ Academically eligible to compete as defined by the NCAA and the institution.
□ Adheres to the principles of sportsmanship and ethical conduct as outlined in NCAA Constitution 2.4.
There is not a formal nomination process for this award. The Wade Trophy Committee compiles a list of "Wade Watch" candidates based on the criteria above at the beginning of the basketball season. The committee may add more candidates to the list during the season.
The WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches' All-America Selection Committee chooses the recipient of the Wade Trophy. Selection is based on team statistics, improvement from year-to-year, and contribution to the team and the community. The winner is selected from the 10-member WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches' All-America Team.
2021 - NaLyssa Smith, Baylor University
2020 - Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
2019 - Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
2018 - A'ja Wilson, South Carolina
2017 - Kelsey Plum, Washington
2016 - Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
2015 - Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
2014 - Odyssey Sims, Baylor
2013 - Brittney Griner, Baylor
2012 - Brittney Griner, Baylor
2011 - Maya Moore, Connecticut
2010 - Maya Moore, Connecticut
2009 - Maya Moore, Connecticut
2008 - Candice Wiggins, Stanford
2007 - Candace Parker, Tennessee
2006 - Seimone Augustus, LSU
2005 - Seimone Augustus, LSU
2004 - Alana Beard, Duke
2003 - Diana Taurasi, Connecticut
2002 - Sue Bird, Connecticut
2001 - Jackie Stiles, Southwest Missouri State
2000 - Edwina Brown, Texas
1999 - Stephanie White-McCarty, Purdue
1998 - Ticha Penicheiro, Old Dominion
1997 - DeLisha Milton, Florida
1996 - Jennifer Rizzotti, Connecticut
1995 - Rebecca Lobo, Connecticut
1994 - Carol Ann Shudlick, Minnesota
1993 - Karen Jennings, Nebraska
1992 - Susan Robinson, Penn State
1991 - Daedra Charles, Tennessee
1990 - Jennifer Azzi, Stanford
1989 - Clarissa Davis, Texas
1988 - Teresa Weatherspoon, Louisiana Tech
1987 - Shelly Pennefather, Villanova
1986 - Kamie Ethridge, Texas
1985 - Cheryl Miller, USC
1984 - Janice Lawrence, Louisiana Tech
1983 - LaTaunya Pollard, Long Beach State
1982 - Pam Kelly, Louisiana Tech
1981 - Lynette Woodard, Kansas
1980 - Nancy Lieberman, Old Dominion
1979 - Nancy Lieberman, Old Dominion
1978 - Carol Blazejowski, Montclair State