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2023 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Preseason Watch List
25 student-athletes representing 13 conferences named to watch list
Hopewell, N.J. (October 19, 2022) – We are proud to announce the 25 members of the preseason watch list for the 2023 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award presented by Her Hoop Stats. The Becky Hammon Award was first given out in 2020, with South Dakota’s Ciara Duffy being named the inaugural winner. FGCU’s Kierstan Bell won the award in 2021 and 2022.
Below are the 25 watch list members, listed in alphabetical order by school. This year’s preseason watch list includes representatives from 25 schools and 13 conferences. The Atlantic 10 and MAC lead all conferences with four watch list members, tying the previous record for most representatives on the preseason watch list (MVC 2021-22, MAC 2020-21). Sacramento State’s Isnelle Natabou marks the first-ever appearance by a Big Sky student-athlete. All stats only include games against Division I opponents unless otherwise noted.
Wells followed up her stellar freshman campaign with an equally impressive season in 2021-22, leading the Bruins in scoring and assists on the way to a 23-8 record and the 36th-ranked Her Hoop Stats rating in the country. Now in the MVC and the increased spotlight that comes with it, Wells has a chance to elevate her profile even more.
Fleming missed the entire 2021-22 season with a knee injury but delivered an elite freshman season in 2020-21. Fleming scored at all levels, including an above-average 49.4% from inside the arc as a 5-foot-5 guard.
Playing at Becky Hammon’s alma mater, Hofschild put together a remarkable junior season. Hofschild ranked eighth nationally in assists per game while turning the ball over on just 11.7% of possessions. That resulted in an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.87 which ranked 11th nationally. Hofschild was one of just two players in the NCAA last season to average over 6.0 assists per game on fewer than 2.5 turnovers while also scoring double-digit points.
Hsu showed she can be a deadly high-volume three-point shooter last season, averaging 3.4 makes per game which ranked third in the country among players with at least 20 games played. Hsu also improved her free-throw percentage by 12 points, raising it from a troubling 61.5% up to a solid 73.5% over the Ivy League’s year off due to COVID-19.
At 5-foot-3, Morehouse is among the most impressive scorers inside the arc of the past decade in Division I. Her 54.1% two-point percentage last season ranked in the top 9% among qualified players and 54th among players that attempted at least 225 shots inside the arc. The players ahead of her are almost entirely made up of the nation’s most elite forwards and taller backcourt players like Caitlin Clark.
The Utah transfer joins a reloading Gonzaga team that could surprise some people this season. Maxwell saw a diminished role last season in Utah, but her freshman and sophomore seasons show her potential when she plays significant minutes. As a freshman, Maxwell shot a blistering 47.2% from behind the arc on 5.7 attempts per game.
Spruill is capable of posting a 50/40/90 (2P/3P/FT) season, something that has only been done four times since 2009-10 on at least 100 attempts from each. Last season, Spruill was one of just two players to record a 45/55/85 season on at least 50 attempts each.
Breen ranked in the top 2% of all Division I players in both points and rebounds per game last season and was one of just four players to average 17 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists per game last season. The other three players were drafted or made a WNBA training camp roster in 2022.
As good as her stats were last season, Scott had a slightly down season compared to 2020-21. Even with slightly fewer points, rebounds, and assists, Scott still posted one of just five lines in the country averaging 19 points, six rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game last season.
Walstad improved last season as a scorer and a rebounder, and also nearly doubled her assist totals while cutting turnovers down to just two per game. Walstad also has played a role in Milwaukee’s historic free-throw shooting success, shooting in the vicinity of 90% each of the past two seasons while Milwaukee shot an incredible 83.8% as a team in 2020-21.
Young is arguably the second-most efficient volume scorer in the country, trailing only Iowa’s Monika Czinano as the only two players to average 20.0 points per game on at least 1.30 points per scoring attempt (PPSA). Young also adds strong rebounding and better-than-average shot-blocking and foul rates to her profile, ranking in the top 25% nationally in both.
McGruder produces on many fronts, but her two-point scoring efficiency is among the best in the nation. Her 65.9% from inside the arc ranked ninth in the country last season, and her 1.30 PPSA ranked 21st.
Gill is a shot-blocking anomaly, as our Calvin Wetzel has documented in great detail. At 5-foot-11, as a freshman, Gill was one of the nation’s leading shot-blockers last season but does so practically by controlling those blocks to start fast-break possessions. Aside from her shot blocking, Gill is an elite defensive rebounder and secures 25.4% of opponents’ missed shots when on the floor. That ranked in the top 1% of the nation last season.
Davis ranked in the top 75 of both offensive and defensive rebounding rates last season, and her 20.2% total rebounding rate ranked 26th in the nation.
After the Ivy League’s year off due to COVID-19, Padilla came back better than ever, setting career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. She is also one of the most durable players in the country, ranking 14th in the country with 37.6 minutes played per game.
Fowler is a remarkably consistent player, posting very similar stats in each of her first three seasons. Her scoring output has declined slightly since her freshman season, but her scoring efficiency and passing prowess have both been creeping up each season and Fowler now ranks in the top 5% of PPSA and the top 7% in assist rate.
DeWees is a strong all-around player, but she separates herself in her ability to generate steals. Her 3.3 steals per game ranked fifth in the country last season. DeWees is also a great offensive rebounder for a player of her height (5-foot-9), ranking in the top 3% for offensive rebounds per game with 2.9.
Budnik ranked 12th in the country in blocks per game last season after ranking eighth nationally as just a freshman. Budnik is one of just seven players in Division I to average at least 2.5 blocks per game in each of the past two seasons.
In her first year after transferring from Iowa Western Community College, Natabou was one of 11 players in the country to average at least 14 points and 11 rebounds in at least 20 games. Out of those 11 players, she was by far the most efficient scorer, averaging 1.34 PPSA. The closest player was at 1.23 PPSA.
The reigning A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Flowers put on an incredible defensive season in her hometown of St. Louis. Flowers’ 3.5 blocks per game ranked second in the country. Since 2009-10, only two other players have recorded a season of double-digit points and rebounds with 3.5 or more blocks and fewer than two turnovers: Natasha Mack (twice) and Ruth Hamblin.
Krimili more or less matched her scoring output and efficiency from 2020-21, but she added to her assist average while cutting down on turnovers to bring her assist-to-turnover ratio above 1.00.
Selland missed the first five games of last season with an injury and played limited minutes in her first several games back before taking another couple of games off. Once Selland was back for good, the Jackrabbits closed out the season on a 25-3 run, including burning through the WNIT on their way to a title. Even in limited minutes, Selland emerged as a three-point threat and raised her three-point shooting percentage from 32.8% to 46.5%.
Lockett saw a dip in her scoring efficiency last season but was still one of the most productive players in the MAC on her way to being named to the All-MAC First Team. Lockett was one of six players in the country to average at least 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and fewer than three turnovers.
After two seasons at Temple College, a junior college, Jacobs broke onto the scene ranking 14th in the nation in points per game and in the top 2% in steals per game.
Jenkins joins UTSA after two seasons at USC. Jenkins is a very efficient scorer inside the arc and at the free-throw stripe and has shown flashes of success from behind the arc in very limited volume. There will be plenty of opportunities for her to increase production this season.
Award Eligibility & Schedule
To be eligible for this award, players must compete in one of the 26 conferences deemed to be “mid-major.” The following conferences are considered high-major for the purposes of this award and thus ineligible: ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. In January, 15 players will be named to the midseason watch list. The 10 semifinalists will be announced in February, with five finalists being announced in early March. The winner will be announced in late March. The list is fluid and players may play their way on or off the list over the course of the season.
About Becky Hammon
Hammon was a three-time All-American during her career at Colorado State and led the Rams to the Sweet 16 in 1999, the program’s only appearance to date. She was signed by the New York Liberty in 1999 and traded to the San Antonio Stars in 2007, where she played the rest of her career. Hammon retired in 2014 as a six-time All-Star and a two-time All-WNBA First Team honoree. In 2016 she was named one of the top 20 players in WNBA history and was recently named to the W25.
Hammon became the second female coach in NBA history when she began coaching for the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Additionally, Hammon is the only woman to be a head coach in the NBA Summer League as well as the only woman to be a member of an NBA All-Star coaching staff. Currently, Hammon is the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces and won the 2022 WNBA Championship in her first season.
About Her Hoop Stats
Her Hoop Stats was founded in 2017 to unlock better insight about women's basketball at all levels. We began as a statistics site focused on providing consistent, reliable, and easy-to-access data about women's basketball for both mobile and desktop environments. Her Hoop Stats has expanded to become a leading independent voice in the women's game providing content through our newsletter, podcast network, YouTube channel, and social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).