The Press Newspaper
Senior CLASS voting online
Florida State women’s basketball senior forward Natasha Howard (Waite) has been added to the 2014 “Wade Watch” list, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced on behalf of the Wade Trophy Coalition.
The 6-foot-3 Howard, daughter of a former University of Toledo basketball player, also has been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which fans can vote for online.
In addition, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Wednesday that Howard advanced to the women’s midseason Top 30 list for the Naismith Trophy given to the best overall player in college basketball.
The annual trophy is voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's board of selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The four finalists will be unveiled on March 21, and the winner will be announced on April 7 during the NCAA Women's Final Four in Nashville, Tenn.
Howard has dented the Florida State career record books with her best season so far as a senior. The Toledo native is third in career rebounds (948) and blocks (172), fourth in points (1,555), sixth in rebound average (8) and 11th in steals (182).
She is on pace to average the highest amount of points per game at FSU since Roneeka Hodges averaged 19.2 points in the 2004-05 season. Defensively, Howard is already seventh on the single-season blocks list at FSU with 62 this season.
In her senior year, Howard is averaging 18.2 points per game, nine rebounds and is shooting 59.6 percent from the field. She has a school-record 36 double-doubles in her career, including 10 this season, and recently cracked the ACC’s Top 25 list for career blocks.
Playing in one of the nation’s toughest conferences, Howard’s numbers have actually increased in ACC play. In 10 conference games, she is averaging 19.4 points and 9.6 boards, up from her 17.3 points and 8.6 rebounds in non-conference action.
This season, Howard has emerged as one of the most dominant players in the ACC. She joins only Hamby of Wake Forest as the two players in the conference ranking in the Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, steals and blocked shots.
Howard is coming off her 10th 20-point performance this season when she notched 26 points and 11 boards. Entering her final year, she had seven 20-point games in her first three seasons, and now has 17 for her career.
Howard owns one of the nation’s most impressive single-game performances this season. She recorded 28 points and 22 rebounds in an overtime loss to Duke on Jan. 23, just the third 20-20 game in school history and the first in the ACC since Jan. 20, 2008.
Howard’s senior year at Waite, the Lady Indians (24-3) fell 49-47 to first-time state champ Canton McKinley in the Division I title contest. She was named Ohio’s Ms. Basketball and in April at the McDonald's All American High School Basketball Game, she was named co-MVP.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 men’s candidates and 30 women’s candidates announced in October.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Premier Sports Management manages the award.
Howard was added with nine other student-athletes to the 25-player list of preseason Wade Watch hopefuls. The other additions include Tiffany Bias of Oklahoma State, Hallie Christofferson of Iowa State, Christina Foggie of Vanderbilt, Markeisha Gatling of N.C. State, Dearica Hamby of Wake Forest, Alexis Jones of Duke, Tricia Liston of Duke, Jewell Loyd of Notre Dame and Tiffany Mitchell of South Carolina.
The Wade Trophy Coalition presents The Wade Trophy to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA Division I women’s basketball player each year – one who not only excels athletically but also serves as a positive role model both on and off the court. The acclaimed Wade Watch list, from which The Wade Trophy recipient is chosen, consists of players selected on the basis of game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.
The Wade Watch list will be trimmed to 12 finalists in mid-March. The Wade Trophy Coalition will officially announce The Wade Trophy winner at the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show on April 7, which is part of the 2014 WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville.
The Wade Trophy, named after the late, legendary three-time national champion Delta State University head coach Lily Margaret Wade, debuted in 1978 as the first-ever women's national player of the year award in college basketball. The Wade Trophy Coalition was established in June 2000 when the WBCA partnered with The National Association of Girls and Women in Sport, now known as the Society of Health and Physical Educators, doing business as SHAPE America.
For the past 11 years the two have worked together to present The Wade Trophy player of the year award. A committee composed of coaches, administrators and media from across the U.S. selects the winner.
For more information on Florida State women's basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).