Here's the release:
St. Louis (USBWA) - The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected 20 outstanding players for its first Midseason Watch List for the Women's National Player of the Year. Members of the association's board of directors chose the players to be included on the list as contenders for the trophy, which will be presented to the national player of the year in Denver at the USBWA's Women's College Basketball Awards Breakfast on April 3.
Three Notre Dame teammates headline the list, which also has a pair of real sister teammates at Stanford and two stars each from Baylor, Connecticut, Miami and Ohio State. The Irish trio are Skylar Diggins, Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters, who are joined by Nneka Ogwumike and her younger sister Chiney at Stanford; Buckeyes standouts Tayler Hill and Samantha Prahalis; Hurricanes backcourt stars Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams; Huskies teammates Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (the lone freshman on the list); and the Bears inside-outside combo of Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims.
Five National Players of the Week from this season are featured as well: Brittney Griner from Baylor, Elena Delle Donne from Delaware, Nneka Ogwumike from Stanford, Sugar Rodgers from Georgetown, and A'dia Mathies from Kentucky. Last season's women's winner as the National Freshman of the Year, Odyssey Sims of Baylor is also among the players to watch down the stretch.
Overall, the list by class and dominated from the top includes seven seniors, seven juniors, five sophomores and one freshman appearing. The Big East boasts seven players while the Atlantic Coast Conference has four on the list to lead all conferences, while a total of 13 schools in eight conferences are represented.
Following is the complete watch list:
2012 WOMEN'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR MIDSEASON WATCH LIST
G/F Elena Delle Donne, Delaware (6-5, Jr., Wilmington, Del.)
G Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame (5-9, Sr., South Bend, Ind.)
G Chelsea Gray, Duke (5-11, So., Stockton, Calif.)
C Brittney Griner, Baylor (6-8, Jr., Houston, Texas)
G Bria Hartley, Connecticut (5-7, So., North Babylon, N.Y.)
G Tayler Hill, Ohio State (5-10, Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.)
G Shenise Johnson, Miami (5-11, Sr., Henrietta, N.Y.)
G A'dia Mathies, Kentucky (5-9, Jr., Oakland, Calif.)
F Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut (6-0, Fr., Anaheim Hills, Calif.)
G Natalie Novosel, Notre Dame (5-11, Sr., Lexington, Ky.)
F Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford (6-3, So., Cypress, Texas)
F Nneka Ogwumike, Stanford (6-2, Sr., Cypress, Texas)
F Devereaux Peters, Notre Dame (6-2, Sr., Chicago, Ill.)
G Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State (5-7, Jr., Commack, N.Y.)
F Niveen Rasheed, Princeton (6-0, Jr., Danville, Calif.)
G Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown (5-11, Jr., Suffolk, Va.)
G Khadijah Rushdan, Rutgers (5-9, Sr., Wilmington, Del.)
G Odyssey Sims, Baylor (5-9, So., Irving, Texas)
F Alyssa Thomas, Maryland (6-2, So., Harrisburg, Pa.)
G Riquna Williams, Miami (5-7, Sr., Pahokee, Fla.)
By conference: Big East (7); ACC (4); Big Ten (2); Big 12 (2); Pac-12 (2); CAA (1); Ivy (1); SEC (1).
By class: Seniors (7); Juniors (7); Sophomores (5); Freshmen (1).
While these standout players are the leading contenders to be named to the USBWA's All-America Team and as finalists for the Women's National Player of the Year award, all Division I players remain eligible for postseason honors from the USBWA. The association will announce its 2012 All-America Team in mid-March. At that time, finalists will also be chosen for the player of the year. Once finalists are announced, the entire USBWA membership will vote for the winner of the National Player of the Year.
Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a Women's National Player of the Year. In each of the last three seasons, a Connecticut Player has won the award. Maya Moore took home the honor in 2009 and '11, while Tina Charles was the player of the year in 2010.