Guru's USBWA Talk: Delle Donne and Hayes Among Key Candidates
By Mel Greenberg
At one point back in time Connecticut’s Tiffany Hayes and Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne would be sharing the UConn roster as senior classmates on the No. 3 Huskies.
Instead they’re in a competition of sorts for the United States Basketball Writers’ Association (USBWA) new national player of the week.
Down the road they might even cross paths in the NCAA tournament if one mock bracket scenario plays out, though much needs to occur first before that would become a reality.
Meanwhile, the USBWA pool of candidates – the winner is announced early Tuesday afternoon – is derived from the list of 31 conference players of the week awards.
Delle Donne, who ultimately decided to attend Delaware and forego her UConn scholarship back in 2008, has already gained one USBWA award this season. This week she picked up another honor from the Colonial Athletic Association after averaging 32.0 points, including a 41-point effort against Hofstra, and 12.0 rebounds.
While Connecticut is way up the Associated Press poll list, Delle Donne has moved the Blue Hens into the rankings for the first time this season and Delaware is making strides up the ladder having jumped from 15th to 12th this week.
Hayes, who won the Big East award, became the first UConn player to score an overall total of 68 points in consecutive games and averaged 34.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in Huskies wins over Syracuse and South Florida.
Meanwhile Stanford’s Chiney Oguwmike whose older sister Nneka on the Cardinal has already won a USBWA award is knocking on the door again this week after picking up her third straight honor from the PAC-12, this time for her one-game 27-point, 18-rebound performance in a 74-71 overtime win against California.
Brittney Griner of top-ranked Baylor, also a USBWA honoree this season, picked up her fourth weekly Big 12 award from a media panel after averaging 23.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and six blocks in two conference wins by the Bears.
Temple’s Shey Peddy picked up two honors as Big Five player of the week in Philadelphia and as Atlantic 10 conference player of the week with an average of 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in two wins by the Owls, who have an important showdown at St. Joseph’s Wednesday night.
Speaking of Philadelphia, Vanderbilt’s Christina Foggie, who is from the Philly burbs in Mount Laurel, N.J., was honored by the Southeastern Conference for her 34 points in the Commodores upset of nationally-ranked Georgia.
In the America East, New Hampshire’s Morgan Frame averaged 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in two wins to move closer in the standings to front-running Boston University.
Fairfield’s Taryn Johnson averaged 15.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in two wins to pick up the weekly award in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The Ivy League honored Janna Graf for averaging 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in leading Yale to two wins.
Virginia Tech’s Monet Tellier scored 31 points in the Hokies’ upset at Maryland to gained the nod from the Blue Ribbon committee that selects the honorees each week in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Ki-Ki Moore of Fresno State averaged 23.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.7 steals in two wins to gain the Western Athletic Conference’s weekly kudo.
Conference-USA honored Memphis’ Jasmine Lee for averaging 20.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in a pair of wins.
Megan Herbert of Central Arkansas is the Southland player of the week after averaging 29.0 points in a pair of wins.
In the Mountain West, San Diego State’s Courtney Clements averaged 20.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in a pair of wins by the Aztecs.
The Missouri Valley Conference cited Rachel Hackbarth of Drake after averaging 22.5 points and 11 rebounds. She leads the MVC in both categories.
Though the following is not in the USBWA mix, this is as good a place as any to announce that University of Sciences freshman Brianne Traub averaged 20.3 points and 6.7 rebounds to pick up another rookie honor from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference in Division II.
Again, much quality to choose from in making the pick. Look for a Guru tweet at @womhoopsguru early Tuesday afternoon once the USBWA sends the winner around.