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Girls' Basketball Athlete of the Year
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Girls Basketball Athlete of the Year

 

2000

Alison Thomason
Pickens County High School, Jasper, Georgia

The 5-feet-11 Thomason led Pickens County to the Women's Final Four in Georgia. She was the winner of the Naismith Award as the state's top female athlete as a junior and senior. As a junior, she averaged 25.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, added 59 blocks and 66 steals, ans shot 59.2 per cent from the field and 71.1 per cent from the free-throw line. She was the subject of a cover story in Sports Illustrated for Women magazine as a senior. She also maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and graduated in the top 15 per cent of her class. "Athletes like Alison Thomason are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best athletes not only in the state of Georgia, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."

 

2001

Shyra Ely
Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana

"Athletes like Shyra Ely are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best basketball players not only in the state of Indiana, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."  The 6-foot-2 Ely, who will attend the University of Tennessee, was one of the nation's most decorated players after scoring 2,004 points and pulling down 1,128 rebounds in her career, averaging 16.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She was named Indiana's Miss Basketball and was the winner of the girls Naismith Award, was selected as the Gatorade High School Player of the Year, and was named Player of the Year by USA Today.  

 

2002

Ann Strother
Highlands Ranch High School, Highlands Ranch, Colorado   

"Athletes like Ann Strother are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best basketball players not only in the state of Colorado, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her." Strother, who earned a scholarship to NCAA champion UConn, was selected for every leading national award, including the Gatorade High School Player of the Year, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year, and the James Naismith Award as the nation's top player. In the inaugural McDonald's Women's All-American game, Strother scored 21 points and was named the game's co-Most Valuable Player. This year, she will be a starter on the U.S. Junior National Team as it competes in the World Championships, the only high scool player ever to do so. In her high school career, Strother led Highlands Ranch to three consecutive Class 5A state titles, averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game in her career. She also graduated with a 3.36 grade-point average and was a member of the National and Spanish Honor Societies. Sports Illustrated magazine also recognized Strother's distinguished career with a mention in its "Faces in the Crowd" section this year.

 

2003

Brittany Hunter
Brookhaven High School. Columbus, Ohio

"Brittany Hunter's achievements in the classroom and on the basketball floor define the term student-athlete," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor her with this award." Hunter, a 6'3" center, was named Ohio's Miss Basketball after leading Brookhaven to the state's Division I Final Four in a season where she averaged 23.4 points and 17.6 rebounds a game. A 4.2-GPA student, Hunter first made a name for herself after following up an outstanding junior season with an appearance at the 2002 USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival. On one of the largest stages for a prep girl's basketball player Hunter shined as the best of 48 players in attendance. After averaging over 11 points and eight rebounds, and shooting nearly 60-percent from the field, on just 18 minutes a game the recruiters were beginning to stand in line.  When Hunter followed up her efforts at the Development Festival with an even stronger senior season at Brookhaven, she found herself with choosing between the likes of Connecticut, Tennessee, Duke, Texas and Harvard. In the end, the 4.2-GPA student selected Duke University as the next step in a remarkable academic and basketball career.

 

2004

Candace Parker
Naperville High School, Naperville, Illinois

Parker, a 6-3 center, has been thought by many to be the best player in the nation for the past three years. She will become a Tennessee Volunteer as a collegian, after finishing high school as a three-time Illinois Miss Basketball with 2,758 career points. Parker overcame an off-season knee injury to lead her squad to its second straight Class AA state title, averaging 24.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

 

2005

Abby Waner
Thunder Ridge High School, Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Also a Duke University recruit, the 5-foot-11 shooting guard was voted the Gatorade National Player of the Year after leading ThunderRidge High to a record third consecutive Class 5A state title, a 26-2 record and the No. 8 ranking in the final USA Today Super 25. The four-year starter averaged 32.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 5.7 steals per game as a senior and scored 61 points - 30 in the first quarter - and added 17 steals in her final regular-season home game. Also an outstanding student with a 3.95 GPA and a 27 on the ACT, she averaged 12 points and 3.8 assists for the gold-medal USA Junior World Team in 2004.  

 

2006

Tina Charles
Christ the King High School, Queens, New York

Charles led Christ the King to a second consecutive unbeaten season, the Royals going 30-0 and finishing No. 1 in the USA Today Super 25. The 6-foot-4 forward averaged 26.5 points, 14.8 rebounds and 5.2 blocked shots per game and was named Gatorade National Player of the Year, Womens Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year, USA Today Player of the Year, New York State's Miss Basketball and a McDonald's All-American. Her 49 points against Brooklyn Bishop Ford Central Catholic High this year is a school record, as are her 1,224 career rebounds. She will attend the University of Connecticut.

 

2007

Maya Moore
Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, Georgia

Moore ended her career with Miss Georgia Basketball honors after leading Collins Hill to a 125-3 record and three Class 5A state titles in her four-year career. Her team won its final 53 games with her on the court and ended this season ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Super 25. As a senior, the 6-foot forward averaged 27 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks and became only the third girls player to capture the Naismith Award twice. She also was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, the WBCA Player of the Year and the USA Today National Player of the Year, and averaged 10 points, six rebounds and four steals to help lead the USA Basketball Women's Under-18 National Team to the gold medal in the 2006 FIBA Americas Championship. She will attend the University of Connecticut.

 

2008

Elena DelleDonne
Ursuline Academy, Wilmington, Delaware

The 6-foot-5 DelleDonne is the third girl to become a three-time Player of the Year selection by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association after leading Ursuline Academy to its fourth state title in her five years as a varsity player. Despite missing 10 games this season due to mononucleosis, DelleDonne averaged 29 points and 11 rebounds in leading the Raiders to a 19-6 record and the No. 17 spot in the USA Today Super 25. As a sophomore, she set a national record by making 80 consecutive free throws, and her 2,818 career points are most by any Delaware player of either gender. The State Farm/Women's Basketball Coaches Association High School Player of the Year, DelleDonne is the third consecutive University of Connecticut commitment to earn Senior Athlete of the Year honors, joining Maya Moore of Suwanee, Ga. Collins Hill High (2007) and Tina Charles of Middle Village, N.Y. Christ the King High (2006) on the Huskies' roster next season.

 

2009

Skylar Diggins
Washington High School, South Bend, Indiana

The 5-foot-10 guard won the state's scoring title, averaging 29.0 points per game, and also averaged 6.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.4 steals and 2.2 blocks to lead the Panthers to a 26-1 record and the Class 4A state championship game, where they fell 71-69 to the nation's top-ranked team, Indianapolis Ben Davis High. The Gatorade National Player of the Year led Washington to the state title game all four years of her high school career and the 2007 crown. She scored 2,790 points - the third highest total in state history - averaged 25.9 points per game in her career and led all scorers with 18 points in the McDonald's All-America high school basketball game, adding five rebounds and three steals. Diggins also started all five games for the U.S. Under-18 team that won the FIBA Americas gold medal in 2008, averaging 10.8 points in 23.2 minutes per game. Also an outstanding student with a 3.91 grade-point average, she will attend the University of Notre Dame.

 

2010

Chiney Ogwumike
Cypress-Fairbanks High School, Cypress, Texas

The 6-foot-3 forward was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year after leading the Bobcats to a 36-1 record, the 5A state title and a No. 6 ranking from USA Today and a No. 7 ranking from ESPN RISE. Also the USA Today Player of the Year and the No. 1 recruit according to ESPNU and Blue Star Basketball, Ogwumike racked up 31 points and 18 rebounds in Cy-Fair’s 65-41 state championship game victory over Fort Bend Hightower High. The Naismith National High School Girls Player of the Year, Ogwumike played in the McDonald’s All-American Game (14 points, 6-of-8 shooting, three rebounds) and averaged 22.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.1 blocks per game this season after averaging 21.4 points and 12.6 rebounds as a junior. Also a standout volleyball player, Ogwumike ranks No. 3 in her class academically and is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. She will attend Stanford University, where her sister, Nneka, is a sophomore center.

 

2011

Elizabeth Williams
Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia  

The 6-foot-3 forward was named the girls Morgan Wootten Player of the Year by McDonald’s, and she sparkled in the McDonald’s All-American Game. The Duke University signee scored a game-record 23 points in just 19 minutes, shooting 10-of-18 from the field, and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. She added two blocks as she led the East squad to a 78-66 victory over the West, earning Most Valuable Player honors. She also was named a Parade All-American and a First Team All-American by USA Today. Williams concluded her high school career with a 19-point, 19-rebound, nine-block title-game performance, and led Princess Anne to a 31-1 record, a 24-game winning streak to close the season and a second consecutive Group 3A state title. That performance also earned her a nomination for NHSCA Athlete of the Month honors. Williams averaged 18.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocks as a senior, and in her career, she scored 1,628 points and grabbed 1,205 rebounds. She was a member of the USA Basketball Women’s Under-17 National Team that won a world title last summer, averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, while shooting 61.8 percent from the field.

 

2012

Breanna Stewart
Cicero-North Syracuse High School, Cicero, New York

The 6-foot-4 forward’s record-breaking performance helped the Northstars become the first New York State Public High Athletic Association titlist since 2001 to win the AA New York State Federation Tournament of Champions. Stewart had a triple double– 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 blocks – in the AA Public championship game, then racked up 22 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks as Cicero-North Syracuse (23-3), ranked No.10 in the final POWERADE FAB 50, routed reigning 14-timePublic Schools Athletic League champion New York Murry Bergtraum High, 60-28 in the championship game. She also had42 points and 22 rebounds in an 80-55 semifinal victory over Brooklyn Nazareth High, hitting 15 of 20 shots from the field.Her 64 points and 38 rebounds were both tournament records,and she averaged 26.4 points, 14.2 rebounds, 4.1 blocks, 3.2steals and 3.1 assists as a senior. The University of Connecticut signee was named the girls Morgan Wootten Player of the Year by McDonald’s, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, the All-USA Today Player of the Year and the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. Last summer, Stewart averaged team highs of 11.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while playing just19.9 minutes as the USA won the FIBA Under-19 world championship in Puerto Montt, Chile. She was the second youngest team member. She also was the only high school player to represent her country in the Pan-American Games last fall in Guadalajara,Mexico. She also played on two other gold medal-winning teams: the Under-16 national team (FIBA Americas, 2009) and the Under-17 national team (FIBA World Championships, 2010).

 

2013

Saniya Chong
Ossining High School, Ossining, New York  

Saniya Chong, who has accepted a scholarship to play college basketball at national powerhouse UConn, had an incredible season leading her school to its first-ever New York State Public Schools state championship during the 2012-13 season. Chong set a New York State single-season record with 928 points for an average of 34.4 points per game. Chong also averaged 9.1 assists per game.

 

2014

Tyra Buss
Mount Carmel HS, Mt. Carmel, Illinois

The only thing higher than Tyra Buss’ scoring average was her grade point average at Mt. Carmel. Buss, who maintained a 5.0 GPA on a scale of 5, became Illinois’ all-time leading scorer in girls’ high school basketball during her three-year career. She averaged 45.8 points per game as a senior while shooting 55.4% from the floor on her way to 4,897 career points, which is the second highest in the history of girls’ high school basketball in the United States. The 5-7 guard also averaged 6.7 steals per game as a senior with 5.5 rebounds per contest and 3.6 assists. Buss, who was Gatorade’s Illinois Player of the Year and a Parade All-American, will attend Indiana University. Buss is the second Illinois girls’ basketball player to be honored by the NHSCA. Current WNBA player Candace Parker (Naperville High School) of the LA Sparks was the 2004 honoree.

 

2015 

Katie Lou Samuelson
Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, California

Katie Lou Samuelson capped-off an incredible high school career with a season that her coach Kevin Kiernan called “the greatest offensive performance he has ever seen.”  Samuelson, who will attend the University of Connecticut, averaged just under 30 points a game, which broke her own school season scoring average record.  She also set new marks for most points in a game (42, against Palisades) and most 3-pointers made in a season (117).

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