2021 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Midseason Watch List

15 players named to midseason watch list for the second-annual Becky Hammon Award presented by Her Hoop Stats

Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also buy Her Hoop Stats gear, such as laptop stickers, mugs, and shirts!

Haven’t subscribed to the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter yet?

Hopewell, N.J. (Jan. 6, 2021)--We are proud to announce the 15 members of the midseason watch list for the 2021 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. This year’s midseason watch list includes representation from 14 schools and 10 conferences.

Below are the 15 members of the midseason watch list, listed in alphabetical order by school. Stats are through January 4, and only include games played against Division I opponents.

Lexi Fleming, Bowling Green, G, Fr.

19.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 3.0 SPG

Fleming, the lone freshman on the 15-player watch list, has led Bowling Green to a strong start with a well-rounded game. Fleming is the only freshman averaging 19.5 points and 3.0 steals this season. If she keeps that up, she would become the only freshman to do so since 2015-16 when our database begins.

Dyaisha Fair, Buffalo, G, So.

22.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.8 APG, 2.8 SPG

Dyaisha Fair is following up her own excellent freshman campaign with an even better encore season. Fair is averaging more points, rebounds, assists, and steals than last year. Additionally, she’s scoring at a more efficient clip (1.01 points per scoring attempt vs 0.94 last year). The MAC will be flush with guard talent for years to come.

Micaela Kelly, Central Mich., G, Sr.

23.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.7 SPG

Kelly, a semi-finalist for last season’s award, has dished out fewer assists than last year but has added a couple of points per game. Kelly has a lot of competition in the MAC, but her four years of experience may give her the edge to out-perform Fleming, Fair, and Ohio’s duo that will come later in this list.

IImar'I Thomas, Cincinnati, F, Sr.

27.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.1 BPG

IImar’I Thomas has started off the 2020-21 season on fire, scoring 23 or more points and five or more rebounds in each of her first seven games of the season, including three 30-plus point games. Thanks to her volume and efficient scoring, Thomas’ 3.2 offensive win shares is the second-highest in the NCAA this season.

Kierstan Bell, FGCU, G, So.

21.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 3.6 BPG

Bell has been instrumental for FGCU in her first season after transferring from Ohio State, helping to replace some of the 44.4 points per game that the Eagles lost to graduation this offseason. Bell is still just a sophomore, and it should frighten ASUN opponents that 21.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks per game might not even be her peak potential.

Jill Townsend, Gonzaga, G, Sr.

13.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.8 APG

Townsend has been a leader for the Zags, arguably the top mid-major program in the nation, with her low turnover rate (9.9%) and solid assist rate (22.1%) combined with her 13.5 points per game. With a noticeably easier schedule coming up with South Carolina and the South Dakota schools behind them, Townsend will have even more chances to bolster her stats going forward.

Macee Williams, IUPUI, F/C, Sr.

19.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 SPG

Williams, who leads the nation in win shares per 40 among players with 200 or more minutes played, is just shy of averaging 20 & 10 and is a major reason for IUPUI’s 8-1 start. Overall, her stats are very similar to what she recorded last season, but her defensive rebounding percentage has increased by just under 6%.

Blanca Millan, Maine, G, R-Sr.

23.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Millan has come back from an injury early in the 2019-20 season looking better than ever. The guard has scored 30-plus points in three of her seven games this season, which is good for the second most 30-point games in the nation. Millan is in the top 1% of win shares in Division I, and her win shares per 40 minutes of 0.46 is in the top 2%.

Anastasia Hayes, Middle Tenn. St., G, R-Jr.

28.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2.0 SPG

Hayes leads the nation in scoring, but she is more than just a scoring machine. The redshirt junior is averaging career-highs in rebounds, assists, and steals. She has an assist on 35% of her teammates’ baskets when she’s on the floor which ranks No. 37 in the nation. Her scoring prowess is even more impressive given her relatively low free-throw percentage and 3-point percentage.

Cece Hooks, Ohio, G, Sr.

25.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.3 SPG

Hooks, the first of two Ohio Bobcats to make the list, has put up career numbers early in her senior season. She leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and steals, and is second on the team in rebounds and blocks. Her defensive win shares could use a boost in conference play, but her offensive win shares more than make up for it.

Erica Johnson, Ohio, G, R-Jr.

23.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.2 APG

Johnson puts up very similar numbers to Hooks, with lots of scoring and solid rebounding for a guard. Johnson is more of a distributor, her 4.2 assists per game is in the top 5% nationally and her 11.3% turnover rate is firmly better than average. Much like Hooks, Johnson’s defensive win shares are below average, but her offense outweighs her defense.

Nancy Mulkey, Rice, C, Sr.

15.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.4 BPG

Mulkey makes a return to the watch list after making last season’s 25-player early-season watch list. Mulkey’s combination of volume scoring, efficient rebounding, and rim protection are elite, but this season her scoring efficiency has skyrocketed. Mulkey is scoring 1.31 points per scoring attempt this season, which is in the top 5% of Division I, compared to 1.14 each of the previous two seasons.

Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota, C, Sr.

19.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.4 BPG

Sjerven was Dawn Plitzuweit’s best-kept secret last season, hiding behind 2020’s eventual Becky Hammon Award winner, Ciara Duffy. Some wondered if her No. 1 rank in overall efficiency last year as measured by win shares per 40 minutes would remain elite with more playing time.  Instead, it has actually increased despite playing about six more minutes per game compared to last year.

Kionna Jeter, Towson, G, R-Sr.

25.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.3 SPG

Jeter was on our preseason watch list based on her 18.3 points per game last season, but adding more than seven points per game without sacrificing scoring efficiency is not something we could have foreseen. The 5-foot-8 guard with a remarkable biography may be playing her way onto WNBA Draft radars.

Chelsey Perry, UT Martin, F, Sr.

27.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Perry, the only finalist for the 2020 Becky Hammon Award who returned for the 2020-21 season, is putting up another stellar season. The UT Martin forward is third in the nation in scoring, with 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per contest to round out her game. Arguably the most impressive thing about Perry’s 27.0 scoring average is the fact that she has also increased her PPSA, from 1.17 to 1.21.

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 November, the 25 members of the preseason watch list were announced. 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. 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.

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, and social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.