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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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Nancy Mulkey Named to Naismith Defensive Player of Year Watch List

Posted: January 26, 2021 -- 9:47 a.m. CT

Rice senior center Nancy Mulkey is among 15 players recognized across the NCAA for the Naismith Women's Defensive Player of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Tuesday.

Mulkey, the two-time defending Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, currently ranks ninth in the NCAA in blocked shots per game (3.09) this season and is 11th in total blocked shots (34).

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Mulkey anchors a Rice defense that is surrendering a league-low 56.7 points per contest and is holding opponents to 33 percent shooting (11th in NCAA).

Mulkey's 267 career blocks rank third among all active Division I players while she also ranks fourth in career blocked shot average (2.90). Mulkey has blocked at least one shot in every game this season and has six games with three or more rejections. In addition, Mulkey is averaging a team-best 7.8 rebounds per game.

2020-21 Naismith Women's Defensive Player of the Year Watch List

Aliyah Boston South Carolina Sophomore Forward SEC
Veronica Burton Northwestern Junior Guard Big Ten
Kate Cain Nebraska Senior Center Big Ten
Charli Collier Texas Junior Forward / Center Big 12
Elissa Cunane NC State Junior Center ACC
Arella Guirantes Rutgers Senior Guard Big Ten
Sara Hamson BYU Senior Center WCC
N'dea Jones Texas A&M Senior Forward SEC
Natasha Mack Oklahoma State Senior Forward Big 12
Aari McDonald Arizona Senior Guard Pac-12
Nancy Mulkey Rice Senior Center C-USA
Olivia Nelson-Ododa UConn Junior Forward Big East
Chasity Patterson Kentucky Senior Guard SEC
DiDi Richards Baylor Senior Guard Big 12
Sage Stobbart UC Davis Junior Post Big West

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