Oregon’s Ionescu, Arizona’s McDonald named Finalists for WBCA Wade Trophy
SAN FRANCISCO - 2019 winner OREGON’s Sabrina Ionescu and ARIZONA’s Aari McDonald are two of four finalists for the WBCA’s Wade Trophy, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today. In its 43rd year, the Wade Trophy is presented to the top-collegiate women’s basketball player each year. The WBCA will announce the winner of the 2020 Wade Trophy on April 2.
Ionescu (Walnut Creek, Calif.) became the first Duck to win the prestigious Wade Trophy last season and the second from the Pac-12 in three years. She has already been tabbed the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), Associated Press and ESPN.com national player of the year. She is one of five from Pac-12 institutions to win the honor. No one from the Conference has ever won the award twice.
Ionescu’s history-making career included becoming the first player in NCAA history, men’s or women’s, with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Ionescu matched her NCAA single-season record with eight triple-doubles to extend her all-time record for both women and men to 26, more than double the next player (BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, 12). This season she averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and a nation-leading 9.1 assists per game this season, Ionescu is a three-time USBWA All-American and three-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, garnering All-Pac-12 honors every year, one of only 17 players in league history to earn the all-league status four times. She led the Ducks to a 31-2 record and a Pac-12 regular-season and tournament crown as the Ducks were projected to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Ionescu was also named a finalist for the prestigious James E. Sullivan Award, presented to the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete.
McDonald (Fresno, Calif.) is looking to become the first Wildcat to ever win the Wade Trophy. She is a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award the Wooden Award and the Naismith Hall of Fame/WBCA Ann Meyers Drysdale award. She was voted the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-Pac-12 team for the second time in her career. Scoring in double figures in 66-consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation, she led the Pac-12 and ranked 10th in the country in scoring (20.6 ppg), and was the league’s steals leader (2.3 spg), as well. Helping Arizona to a WNIT title last year and the team’s best Pac-12 finished (4th) since 2011, the Wildcats were projected to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005.
Previous winners of the Wade Trophy from Pac-12 institutions include USC’s Cheryl Miller (1985), Stanford’s Jennifer Azzi (1990), Stanford’s Candice Wiggins (2008) and Washington’s Kelsey Plum (2017).
Joining the duo as finalists for 2020 are Louisville’s Dana Evans and South Carolina’s Tyasha Harris.
For more information, visit the WBCA website at wbca.org.