Tuesday , July 5 2022

Aliyah Boston, Haley Jones, Caitlin Clark among women’s Wooden Award finalists

Two South Carolina players and a pair from Stanford headline the 15-player national ballot for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the top women’s college basketball player in the country.

The No. 1 Gamecocks’ Aliyah Boston, largely considered the favorite for national player of the year, and Destanni Henderson made the cut of the final 15 candidates, as did reigning Final Four Most Outstanding Player Haley Jones and Cameron Brink for defending national champion Stanford, which is ranked No. 2.

Iowa sophomore Caitlin Clark, also in the conversation for national player of the year, is a Wooden finalist, as is DePaul‘s Aneesah Morrow, who has compiled 23 consecutive double-doubles and is the only freshman to appear on the list.

Presumptive top-two 2022 WNBA draft picks NaLyssa Smith (Baylor) — winner of the 2021 Wade Trophy — and Rhyne Howard (Kentucky) are among the finalists.

Of the four Power 5 conferences that have named their respective players of the year, three of those athletes made the list: Clark (Big Ten), Jones (Pac-12) and Boston (SEC). ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech) was not named a Wooden finalist.

Khayla Pointer from LSU is a finalist after not being on the late-season top-20 list.

Paige Bueckers, the 2021 Wooden Award winner, has not been featured as a candidate in the past few iterations of the award’s watch list. Bueckers missed 19 games for UConn while recovering from a tibial plateau fracture and a meniscus tear in her left knee before returning in the Huskies’ penultimate regular-season game.

A 10-player Wooden All-America team will be announced after the Elite Eight. The top vote-getters will be invited to the Wooden Award presentation in Los Angeles in April.

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