The Naismith Award is a prestigious award given to the top high school and college basketball players in addition to coaches in the nation. The Naismith Women’s Player of the Year Award was first given to Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan in 1983. The Naismith Watch list starts off with 50 players to watch and gets narrowed down to four finalists. The question that has been up for debate is who will win the Women’s College Player of the Year? This year’s finalists are the 2022 Player of the Year and Defense Player of the Year winner, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley, and Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist. Here is Beyond Women’s Sports take on who should win the 2023 Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year.
🚨 ATTENTION🚨: Introducing the @jerseymikes Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year Finalists🏀— Naismith Awards (@NaismithTrophy) March 21, 2023
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Aislyn’s pick — Aliyah Boston
I believe that Aliyah Boston should win this award because not only has she had many individual accolades, but she helped her team through an undefeated season, becoming SEC regular season and tournament champions and becoming the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. On a team full of depth, Boston is still able to put up high numbers and perform extremely well on both sides of the ball. Her awards so far this season include her second consecutive SEC Player of the Year title, her fourth consecutive SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and named First-Team AP All-American.
Boston is the only player in the country ranked in the top five of both offensive and defensive player ratings; she leads the SEC in both. She scored a season-high of 26 points against UConn and has had 21 double-doubles this season alone, which is sixth in the nation. Her coach Dawn Staley says Boston deserves this award because “there’s not anyone in the country that produces on both sides of the basketball.” Although Boston does not lead her team in scoring, she still puts up big numbers and leads the team in scoring and rebounding.
LaDarius’ pick — Caitlin Clark
Iowa Hawkeyes junior guard Caitlin Clark has been one of the top women’s college basketball players this season. Clark dominated the Big Ten, leading the conference in both points (26.8) and assists (8.6) per game. Clark led her team to the Big Ten Championship title, scoring 30 points, 17 assists, and ten rebounds. In all, she has four triple-doubles to her name, the most this season.
When it comes to fellow Naismith finalists, only Villanova guard Siegrist averaged more points per game (29.8). Clark is looking to become the second player in Hawkeyes history to win the Naismith Award. In 2019, forward/center Megan Gustafson won the award. All things considered, Clark’s dominance throughout this season warrants the top honor in all of women’s college basketball.
Penny’s pick — Maddy Siegrist
Maddy Siegrist, the 6’2 forward, has been unstoppable this season. Fresh from a loss on Friday against the underdogs, Miami Hurricanes was unfortunate; however, she still dominated and managed to help her team get the lead a few times during the fourth quarter. Even though it wasn’t the outcome Villanova wanted, Siegrist finished with 31 points, 5 steals, and 2 assists and played 40 minutes. Unfortunately, she played her heart out and her season was cut short. Siegrist made history recently this season by breaking Kelsey Plum’s for the most consecutive 20+ point games in a single season (36). She has countless awards this season, especially the BIG EAST Player of the Year and Scholar of the Year awards.
She can be versatile in her game and score inside-outside plus from the arc. Maddy does it all and it has been phenomenal in the NCAA Tournament. In February against Seton Hall, she scored 50 points. So therefore, my vote is Siegrist for the Naismith Player of the Year award. Will Siegrist enter the 2023 WNBA Draft? If so, her versatility will be a great addition to any team.
The 2023 Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year winner will be announced on March 29th.
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