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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Women's Naismith Trophy Watch List Released

POSTED: November 17, 2020 -- 10:57 a.m. CT

The 2021 Women's Naismith Trophy Watch List, announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, is headlined by Rhyne Howard of Kentucky, who was a 2020 finalist for the trophy, and the 2020 Naismith High School Girls Trophy winner, Paige Bueckers, now a freshman at UConn. Overall, the list of 50 women's players represents 11 national conferences with the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC having nine players each. UConn, which has won more Naismith Trophies (10) than any other school, leads the group with four players included, followed by Baylor, the 2019 NCAA Women's Basketball Champion, and Stanford with three candidates apiece.

"The competition for the 2021 Women's Naismith Trophy will intensify as more players enter the competition throughout the season, but these 50 candidates are the early contenders to watch," said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. "While last season was unlike any college basketball season we've experienced, we hope these athletes have the opportunity to compete through their entire schedule this season and showcase the full breadth of their abilities and talent."

The midseason 30 team will be announced in early February; players who do not make the watch list are still eligible to be selected for the midseason 30 team. Then, the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists on March 2, 2021, and four finalists will be named on March 19, 2021. The winner of the 2021 Naismith Trophy for Women's Player of the Year will be announced on April 3, 2021.

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2021 Women's Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List

Aliyah Boston Sophomore Forward South Carolina SEC
Sam Brunelle Sophomore Forward Notre Dame ACC
Paige Bueckers Freshman Guard UConn Big East
DiJonai Carrington Senior Guard Baylor Big 12
Jessika Carter Junior Forward / Center Mississippi State SEC
Charli Collier Junior Forward / Center Texas Big 12
Zia Cooke Sophomore Guard South Carolina SEC
Elissa Cunane Junior Center NC State ACC
Rennia Davis Senior Guard / Forward Tennessee SEC
Chelsea Dungee Senior Guard Arkansas SEC
Dana Evans Senior Guard Louisville ACC
Aleah Goodman Senior Guard Oregon State Pac-12
Vivian Gray Senior Guard Texas Tech Big 12
Arella Guirantes Senior Guard Rutgers Big Ten
Lauren Heard Senior Guard TCU Big 12
Lexi Held Junior Guard DePaul Big East
Naz Hillmon Junior Forward Michigan Big Ten
Rhyne Howard Junior Guard Kentucky SEC
Lexie Hull Junior Guard Stanford Pac-12
Rickea Jackson Sophomore Forward Mississippi State SEC
Ashley Joens Junior Guard / Forward Iowa State Big 12
Taylor Jones Sophomore Forward Oregon State Pac-12
Haley Jones Sophomore Guard Stanford Pac-12
N'Dea Jones Senior Forward Texas A&M SEC
Dorka Juhász Junior Forward Ohio State Big Ten
Ayoka Lee Sophomore Center Kansas State Big 12
Kiara Lewis Senior Guard Syracuse ACC
Natasha Mack Senior Forward Oklahoma State Big 12
Tiana Mangakahia Senior Guard Syracuse ACC
Aari McDonald Senior Guard Arizona Pac-12
Nancy Mulkey Senior Center Rice C-USA
Olivia Nelson-Ododa Junior Forward UConn Big East
Michaela Onyenwere Senior Forward UCLA Pac-12
Ashley Owusu Sophomore Guard Maryland Big Ten
Ali Patberg Senior Guard Indiana Big Ten
Chelsey Perry Senior Forward Tennessee-Martin Ohio Valley Conference
Lasha Petree Junior Guard Bradley Missouri Valley
Alissa Pili Sophomore Forward USC Pac-12
Lindsey Pulliam Senior Guard Northwestern Big Ten
Cate Reese Junior Forward Arizona Pac-12
DiDi Richards Senior Guard Baylor Big 12
Destiny Slocum Senior Guard Arkansas SEC
NaLyssa Smith Junior Guard Baylor Big 12
Taylor Soule Junior Forward Boston College ACC
Jill Townsend Senior Guard Gonzaga West Coast Conference
Maddi Utti Senior Forward Fresno State Mountain West
Hailey Van Lith Freshman Guard Louisville ACC
Evina Westbrook Junior Guard UConn Big East
Kiana Williams Senior Guard Stanford Pac-12
Christyn Williams Junior Guard UConn Big East

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