Ann Meyers Drysdale, the first four-time All-American while playing at UCLA from 1975-78, will have her name attached to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’ annual player of the year award starting this season, the group announced (linked here).
Meyers played so long ago at UCLA that the Bruins’ national title in 1978 was awarded by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), started in 1971 to oversee all of women’s college sports. That’s pre-Title IX.
“I am quite thrilled and excited to become part of this,” said Meyers Drysdale in a release. “It’s nice to be considered along with the other names being talked about for these awards. It is nice to be regarded as one who has helped grow the women’s game.”
“I know some of these young winners probably never heard of me. But it’s nice to link women’s notables from the past with the stars of the present day.”
Meyers Drysdale works these days as the vice president of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and NBA’s Phoenix Suns. She was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
This year’s winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award will be announced on Tuesday, the day of the NCAA women’s title game in Denver.
“Honoring Annie is the first of an initiative begun this year to start putting names of some of the greats of the women’s games on annual awards in almost the same manner on the men’s side that now offers the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy and Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award,” said Mel Greenberg, the women’s representative on the USBWA board of directors.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association formed in 1956 and has named a women’s All-America team since the 1996-97 season, and a national player of the year since 1987-88. Previous winners were USC’s Lisa Leslie in 1994 and current Sparks star Candace Parker of Tennessee (2007 and 2008). The award was not given until after Cheryl Miller’s time at USC (1983-86).
Baylor’s Brittney Griner is considered the favorite to win among the 10 candidates name to the All-American team, which includes Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike.