Ducks' Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard among position award winners
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Oregon sophomores Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard were among five players honored Friday as the best players in the nation at their position in a handful of new awards from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Ionescu, who tallied six triple-doubles this season and already owns the NCAA career mark with 10, was the Nancy Lieberman point guard of the year, while the 6-foot-4 Hebard, who averaged 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds, was named the Katrina McClain power forward of the year. The duo led second-seeded Oregon to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season before losing to Notre Dame in the Spokane Regional final.
Victoria Vivians, who led Mississippi State to its second straight Final Four, was named the Ann Meyers Drysdale shooting guard of the year. The 6-1 senior leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 19.6 points. Vivians is shooting 48.5 percent from the field this season after hitting 37.1 percent as a junior.
UConn senior Gabby Williams, who has played in four Final Fours, is the Cheryl Miller small forward of the year. One of the most impactful players on both offense and defense, Williams averages 11.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals, while shooting 61 percent from the field.
South Carolina's A'ja Wilson, the consensus national player of the year, is the Lisa Leslie center of the year. The 6-5 senior, who was the espnW player of the year, ranked seventh in the nation in scoring (22.6 PPG), 11th in rebounding (11.8 RPG) and fifth in blocks (3.2 BPG). Wilson is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the April 12 WNBA draft.
Ionescu, Williams and Wilson were also espnW first-team All-Americans.
In collaboration with ESPN, the Naismith Hall of Fame and WBCA established four inaugural women's college basketball awards during the 2017-18 season to go along with the Nancy Lieberman point guard honor, which has been awarded annually since 2000.
The inaugural winners of the five positional player of the year awards were announced Friday during ESPN2's telecast of the national semifinal games.