2016 USBWA National Freshman of the Year Candidate Watch – January 5, 2016

If Sophie Cunningham continues her style of play for the rest of the season, it will be tough for any other player to pass her as the Freshman of the Year. (Source: Timothy Nwachukwu Mizzou Athletics) (Header Photo: All credit to Missouri Athletics)
If Sophie Cunningham continues her style of play for the rest of the season, it will be tough for any other player to pass her as the Freshman of the Year. (Source: Timothy Nwachukwu Mizzou Athletics)

The USBWA National Freshman of the Year is a prestigious award for one select NCAA Women’s Basketball player each year.

Here at College Court Report, we are following the award closely, and will be releasing a bi-monthly watch list for the award.

In our first watch list,  our #1 candidate currently is Missouri Tigers guard Sophie Cunningham. There are five other standout freshman women’s basketball players, nipping at her heels,  that are on our candidate watch list. These women are all players who are more than deserving of the USBWA National Freshman of the Year as well.

Click here to see our first official candidate watch list…. 

 F   Sophie Cunningham —  Missouri

Current Stats:        15.7ppg   5.7rpg   59.5 FG%   48.9  3pt%    88.4 FT%

This dynamic guard has been lining it up for the Tigers since the start of the season. She set a new school record at Missouri in only her fourth career basketball game.  She scored 42 points in a single game in a 94-81 win over Wake Forest on November 22, 2015. It is the most points scored in a game since Renee Kelly’s 41 points in 1986 vs Oklahoma.  Cunningham also scored  double-digit points in 10 out Missouri’s 13 games so far this season. She complied a total of 1,328 points, 379 rebounds, and 187 steals in just 87 career games in high school. Cunningham is a former 1st Team 5A All-State in 2012, 2013, and 2014 during her high school career.

G  Jessica Kovatch— Saint Francis (PA)

Current Stats:  22.4ppg   3.3rpg  45.3 FG%   41.4  3pt%    82.5 FT%

This Philipsburg, N.J. native guard has already contributed significantly the Red Flash offense; through the first 13 games this season she has 25.1% of Saint Francis (PA) total points scored.  Outside of her strong scoring start she has also helped her teammates offensively by recording 21 assists; she only has 4 games this season where she hasn’t recorded an assist.  She was a dynamic high school player where she recorded over 1000 points (1,176) by her junior season. She also received the honor of the 2014 West Jersey Player of the Year.

 F   Kristine Anigwe — California

Current Stats:    22.2ppg   9.4rpg   62.7 FG%    76.3  FT%

Averaging nearly a double-double a game for the Golden Bears, forward Kristine Anigwe can do it all for California. Offensively, she has contributed for 27.9% of their total points scored and has already passed the 100 rebounds mark (112 so far) this season. Defensively, she has recorded 14 blocks and 14 steals, since she can use her 6-4 frame to her advantage on her opponent or match-up. She has already received a weekly honor as the Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week  (received on 12/14/15).

F   Borislava Hristova — Washington State

Current Stats:        17.6ppg   3.8rpg   49.0 FG%   32.1  3pt%    87.1 FT%

Most international players take time to learn the style and pace of college basketball but not in this case with Washington State’s 6-0 forward Borislava Hristova. Hristova, a Bulgaria native, has been one of the best international players this season in the nation.  She has been the focal point for the Cougars in several different categories: scored 25.9%  of WSU’s total points, contributed 11.5% of the team’s assists, and leads the team in Free Throw%  at 87.1%.  Prior to coming to Washington State, she was a member of Bulgaria’s U18 National Team where she received MVP honors during the 2014 U18 European Championship. She received the honor as the #1 international collegiate prospect according to the sports outlet NetScouts Basketball International.

G   Shayna Mehta— Brown

Current Stats:         13.1ppg  3.7 rpg  47.1 FG%  51.1  3PT%

Through 10 games  freshman guard Shayna Mehta has been one of the best players in the Ivy League conference. Prior coming to Brown, she was a two-time North Coast Section Bay Counties League Player of the Year and led International HS to its first ever NCS Championship during her junior season. The Bears are currently (6-0) at home, so if you live in the area near Brown University you have to go check out the Bears’s women’s basketball team, they currently are (11-2) this season.

Honorable Mention:   G Destinee Walker— UNC Chapel Hill

Meet each player in our official first USBWA National Freshman of the Year Candidate Watch photo slideshow below! Tune back on January 17, 2016 for the next edition!

– Maverick

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