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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Florida State junior forward Natasha Howard (Waite) was named to the Naismith Award Early Season Watch List, announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Howard, a 6-3 forward from Toledo, Ohio, is among 50 candidates vying for the Naismith Women’s Basketball College Player of the Year award. The Naismith women’s Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball player of the year.

Howard adds the Naismith honor to a host of other preseason accolades, including a selection to the Wooden Award Preseason Watch List and the preseason All-ACC teams selected by the coaches and the media.

Howard led the ACC in double-doubles (12) a year ago and averaged a league-best 9.4 boards per contest in 16 conference games. She was named to the 2011-12 All-ACC Third Team and was one of my members of the ACC All-Defensive squad. 

Howard started all 31 games for the Seminoles in 2011-12, averaging 12.2 ppg, while leading the Garnet and Gold in rebounds (9.1), steals (46) and blocks (39).

In the 2012-13 season opener, Howard scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while being limited to 17 minutes because of foul trouble.

The 50-player Naismith watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012‐2013 college basketball season.

In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors will compile a mid‐season team of the top 30 players in the nation. In March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.

The Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 8, 2013, in New Orleans, La.

Howard was also named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 List on Friday as the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced the early front-runners for one of college basketball’s most prestigious honors.

The list is chosen by a preseason pool of national college women’s basketball media members. Howard is one of six ACC players on the list, joining Duke’s Elizabeth Williams and Chelsea Gray, Maryland’s Laurin Mincy and Alyssa Thomas and Georgia Tech’s Tyaunna Marshall.

Howard captured preseason All-ACC honors from both the Blue Ribbon Panel of media members and the conference’s coaches in October. The 6-3 Toledo native led the ACC in double-doubles (12) a year ago and averaged a league-best 9.4 boards per contest in 16 conference games. She was named to the 2011-12 All-ACC Third Team and was one of five members of the ACC All-Defensive squad. 

Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the Preseason Top 30. These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for January’s midseason list and the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.  The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.

After leading the Seminoles to a pair of dominant victories last week, Howard captured ACC Player of the Week honors on Monday, the league office announced. CollegeSportsMadness.com also picked Howard for its ACC Player of the Week award. 

Howard averaged 20.5 points and 10 rebounds in a 2-0 week for the Seminoles. The Toledo, Ohio, native earned her first double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 98-67 win over rival Florida on Thursday. She followed that performance with her sixth career 20-point game, scoring 23 points while grabbing nine boards in a 76-44 win over Stetson on Sunday.

Howard shot 59.1 percent from the floor for the week and had three steals in each game. This is Howard’s first career ACC Player of the Week honor. She also earned ACC Rookie Week honors during the 2010-11 season.

The last Seminole to grab ACC Player of Week honors prior to Howard was Jacinta Monroe on Feb. 22, 2010.

This season, Howard has led Florida State to an undefeated 3-0 start with all wins coming by at least 30 points. She is averaging 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per contest, while shooting 64.3 percent from the field.

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