NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Belmont women’s basketball prepares to kick off its 2017-18 campaign this weekend, the Bruins are continuing to garner national attention for their unrivaled success on the hardwood. Junior Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) is the latest player to receive recognition as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the guard as one of 20 candidates listed on the 2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award preseason watch list.
The accolade honors the top shooting guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball, an area in which Maggard has earned the respect from teams around the country. Last year she led the nation in three-point field goal percentage, producing a mark of .487 from long distance. In addition to shooting lights out beyond the arc, the Larwill, Ind. native dished 188 assists while averaging 32 minutes and 14.5 points per game. Maggard also helped the team finish the 2016-17 campaign ranking in the top 15 nationally in seven statistical categories.
“Darby is a great three-point shooter, that’s for sure,” head coach Bart Brooks said. “She’s way more than a shooter though – she’s a complete basketball player. I don’t know if there’s a player in the country that has worked harder at their game than Darby. She’s a great passer, she sees the floor incredibly well, and she’s an instinctual player. But the thing that’s starting to separate Darby is her leadership and the stuff that she’s doing to help her teammates be better. She embodies everything this award is about, she’s a very special player and we’re thrilled that she’s on our team.”
The Selection Committee for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Drysdale and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist when the time comes.
The winner of the 2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award will be announced at an inaugural awards ceremony hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, and ESPN at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio.
About Ann Meyers Drysdale: Ann Meyers Drysdale’s career escalated women’s basketball to a new level. She was the first high school player to make the United States national team and the first woman to receive a full four-year athletic scholarship to UCLA. Her high-octane approach translated into wins and awards and she finished her impressive career at UCLA owning 12 of 13 school records including becoming the first player to record a quadruple double in UCLA history. A supremely talented all-around player with natural basketball ability and instincts, Meyers Drysdale was the first player, male or female, named to an All-America team in four straight seasons and was named Player of the Year during her senior year. While still at UCLA, she started on the first women’s Olympic team in 1976. After an All-America career, she became the first player drafted into the Women’s Basketball League and made history by becoming the first female player to tryout with an NBA team, the Indiana Pacers, with whom she signed a free agent contract. Meyers Drysdale pushed the envelope in women’s basketball, bringing a feel and sense for the game that few players ever exhibited. Since retiring from professional play, she has had a very successful career as an NBA and WNBA executive, as well as a color commentator for the NBA, WNBA and the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
For more information on the 2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, visit www.hoophallawards.com.
2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Candidates
|Katie Lou Samuelson||Connecticut|
|Victoria Vivians||Mississippi State|
|Arike Ogunbowale||Notre Dame|
|Jaycee Bradley||South Dakota|
|Kitija Laksa||South Florida|
|Akina Wellere||St. John’s|
|Dannie Williams||Texas A&M|
|Tynice Martin||West Virginia|