Sabrina Ionescu of the University of Oregon, Kelsey Mitchell from Ohio State University, the University of Connecticut’s Katie Lou Samuelson and A’ja Wilson of the University of South Carolina are the four nominees for the Class of 2018 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 42 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 2018 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 25, 2018, 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.
Ionescu, a sophomore guard from Walnut Creek, Calif., is the 2018 Pac-12 Player of the Year after earning Freshman Player of the Year honors as a freshman and was named the 2018 Nancy Lieberman Award winner as the nation’s top point guard. She earned Pac-12 Tournament MVP honors after scoring 36 points versus Stanford to set a league championship game record. She holds the NCAA career record for triple-doubles with 10 so far in her first two seasons.
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Mitchell is a two-time Honda Sport Award nominee and was named the Big 10 Player of the Year for the last three seasons while also garnering four-time first-team All-Big Ten honors. A seven-time first-team All-American by all the national outlets, the senior guard ended her storied career as the second-leading scorer in NCAA history passing Jackie Stiles and finishing with 3,402 points. She was a Staley and Lieberman award finalist all four years of her career.
A finalist for the Wooden Award and Naismith trophy, Samuelson led UConn’s top-ranked offense and the guard led the Huskies to their 11th straight Final Four. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native is an Ann Meyers Drysdale Award finalist and was named the American Player of the Year for the second straight season. Samuelson is a two-time AP All-American first teamer.
Wilson is a three-time Honda Sport Award nominee and earned the Wade Award, Naismith, USBWA and AP Player of the Year honors. She was also the SEC Player of the Year for the third straight season. The senior forward from Hopkins, S.C., was a three-time unanimous first-team All-American and is South Carolina’s all-time leading scorer. She reached double-figures in all but one on her 33 games this season and her season ending 24 double-doubles were one away from Carolina’s 40-year old single-season record.
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sport Award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2018 Honda Cup award presented in June.
The CWSA, celebrating its 42nd year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for their superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs.