EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Belmont women's basketball senior Darby Maggard has been selected to the preseason watch list for the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced Tuesday.
The Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, named for the former UCLA standout and Olympian, honors the nation's top shooting guard. Only 20 players are named to the watch list before the season with Maggard's (Larwill, Ind.) name appearing alongside those from nation powerhouse programs like UConn, Notre Dame and Stanford.
"The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to honor the best in the game – both men and women," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. "The namesake of our women's Shooting Guard of the Year Award, Annie Meyers, dominated UCLA basketball surpassing records held by both men and women. Recognized as the only woman to sign a contract with an NBA team, she has been a shining example of skill and character and we are so pleased to have her participation in the Naismith Starting 5."
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 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 have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist at www.hoophallawards.com.
The winner of the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award will be revealed on an ESPN platform during the 2019 Women's Final Four in Tampa, Florida. Additional awards being presented and recognized at the WBCA Convention include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award, the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award, and the Lisa Leslie Center Award. Also being awarded is the Wade Trophy, the sport's oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award which is presented annually by the WBCA's community of coaches to the best player in college women's basketball.
Maggard, a point guard by trade in the Bruins' high-octane offense, was a finalist for the award a year ago as one of the top 10 players considered.
"For a player like Darby to be as prolific offensively as she is in addition to doing all the things she does to get other people involved, it's really a testament to her selflessness and how hard she's worked," said Belmont Head Women's Basketball Coach Bart Brooks. "She puts in more work than maybe any other kid I've ever coached. It's not an accident that she's on that list. It's really a result of all the behind-the-scenes work she does when no one's watching."
Maggard was also named Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year this week as Belmont was picked first in the OVC's preseason poll. She was the Preseason Player of the Year as chosen by OVC media members as well.
The 5-foot-5 All-America candidate enters her senior season as the NCAA's active leader in 3-point field goal percentage (43.9 percent) and free-throw percentage (92.2 percent). She ranks second among active players in career assists (543) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.77) and third in 3-pointers made (317). She is Belmont's NCAA Division I era leader in career assists, 3-pointers and 3-point percentage.
A three-time All-OVC First Team selection, Maggard was named OVC Tournament MVP last season after averaging 17.5 points per game. She hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left in regulation to send the championship game to overtime and help the Bruins to their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Last season, Victoria Vivians of Mississippi State was named the inaugural winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award.
The Belmont women open their regular-season slate on Wednesday, Nov. 7 with a trip to North Carolina State of the ACC. The Bruins' home opener is scheduled for the following Monday, Nov. 12 when they host Tulsa at the Curb Event Center.
2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Candidates
Chloe Jackson, Baylor
Darby Maggard, Belmont
Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn
Candice White, Fresno St.
Dionna White, Georgetown
Shakyla Hill, Grambling St.
Mikayla Ferenz, Idaho
Maci Morris, Kentucky
Asia Durr, Louisville
Allazia Blockton, Marquette
Destiny Pitts, Minnesota
Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame
Teniya Page, Penn St.
Jovana Nogic, Providence
Kitija Laksa, South Florida
Jessica Kovatch, St. Francis
Kiana Williams, Stanford
Kennedy Burke, UCLA
Aliyah Mazyck, USC
Amber Melgoza, Washington
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2018-19 season*
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. In 2012, Meyers Drysdale became one of the first annual naming honorees on the women's side of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) with the organization's National Women's Player of the Year. 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 Olympic Games in 1984, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.