Teammates Moriah Jefferson and Breanna Stewart from the University of Connecticut, the University of Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner and A’ja Wilson from the University of South Carolina are the four nominees for the Honda Sport Award for basketball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 40 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2016 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on June 27, 2016, in the Founders’ Room at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California in downtown Los, Angeles.
The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The Honda Sport award winner for basketball will be announced next week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Jefferson, a senior guard from Glenn Heights, Texas, is the two-time Nancy Lieberman Award winner and is a finalist for the Dawn Staley Award. The 2016 WBCA Defensive Player of the Year, she was also named the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Defensive Player of the Year and was an Associated Press (AP), USBWA, WBCA and Senior CLASS Award first-team All-American. She is averaging 12.6 points in 30.5 minutes per game and led the team in assists (192) and steals (93).
A senior guard from North Syracuse, N.Y., Stewart was once again the consensus Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American. The three-time AAC Player of the Year also earned the Senior CLASS award. She is the first player in NCAA history to earn three Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors and set the UConn career record for most blocked shots. Stewart is a two-time winner of the Honda Sport Award for women’s basketball and the Honda Top Three honors.
Turner is a sophomore forward hailing from Pearland, Texas and a two-time AP, WBCA, and USBWA All-American. Named to the Sports Illustrated All-America first-team this season, she was also a player of the year finalist and was named the ACC Player and Defensive Player of the Year. She was just one of just two players in the nation to rank among the top 13 in both field-goal percentage and blocked shots.
Wilson, a sophomore forward from Hopkins, S.C., is a consensus first-team All-American and was a player of the year finalist for each of the top awards. She is a two-time SEC All-First-Team honoree and was named the 2016 SEC Player and Defensive Player of the Year as well as the 2016 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. She set a USC season record with 103 blocked shots on the season.
Stewart was the 2014 and 2015 Honda award winner for the sport of basketball. Basketball has produced the most Honda Cup winners with 15 student-athletes in the sport winning the prestigious honor. Most recently Brittney Griner of Baylor earned the honor in 2012 preceded by Connecticut's Maya Moore who had back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011.
The CWSA, celebrating its 40th year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.