Kentucky women’s basketball junior guard Jennifer O’Neill has been named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s first Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week of the season for games ending the week of Sunday, Dec. 8, it was announced Tuesday. The award comes a day after O’Neill was named espnW National Player of the Week, College Sports Madness National Women’s Basketball Player of the Week and Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. The USBWA's weekly honor will be handed out each Tuesday through Feb. 25 this season.
O’Neill poured in a school-record 43 points in a thrilling 4OT, 133-130, win at No. 9 Baylor Friday night in AT&T Stadium. She scored 33 of her career-best 43 in the second half and overtime periods to help UK win its ninth straight game. The Bronx, N.Y., native broke former UK All-American Valerie Still’s school record for points in a single game (42) that was set on Dec. 19, 1982 vs. Charleston. O’Neill was a key figure in the game that set an NCAA record for combined points in a single game (263).
O’Neill finished 14-of-31 from the field and 13-of-19 from the free-throw line, which were all career highs. Her 31 field goal attempts were a school record. The 13 free throws made tie for fourth all time, while the 19 attempts are a school record. Additionally, she dished out a season-high tying six assists. In the first overtime session, O’Neill scored nine of UK’s 14 points, with seven of those points coming at the free-throw line (7-of-10). The 5-foot-6 guard was one of three Wildcats to log 45-plus minutes for the game, as she saw a career-high 46 minutes of action.
With O’Neill’s scoring outburst, she now leads the team in scoring for the season at 14.7 points per game, while ranking second in assists at 3.3 per game. Overall, she is shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from 3-point range.
Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. At the 2012 Women's NCAA Final Four in Denver, the organization announced going forward that the national and weekly player award has been named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale. At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA. The winner of the 2014 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWA's annual awards presentation in Nashville, site of the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
The No. 5/6 Wildcats head to the Windy City on Thursday, Dec. 12, to take on DePaul (4-2) at 7 p.m. ET in the McGrath-Phillips Arena. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 with Tiffany Green and LaChina Robinson calling the action. Tickets are available on www.depaulbluedemons.com.