The Atlanta Tipoff Club named Seton Hall senior Shadeen Samuels to the Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List on Wednesday.
This award recognizes the best player in women’s NCAA Div. I college basketball. Samuels is one of 50 Watch List candidates and joins DePaul’s Chante Stonewall as the only two Big East players nominated for the award. The Pac-12 Conference lead the way in nominees with 11 for the 2019-20 season.
“We’re so proud of the player and person Shadeen has become,” Seton Hall head coach Anthony Bozzella said. “These preseason awards and watch lists are a testament to her hard work and dedication to her craft over the years.”
The nominees will be cut to 30 in early February, and then narrowed down to ten national semifinalists on March 3, 2020. Four finalists will then be announced on March 20 before the winner of the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year is announced on April 4. Should Samuels or Stonewall win the award, they would be the first player from the Big East to win it since Maya Moore in 2011 when the University of Connecticut was still in the conference.
Samuels was nominated for the award off the back of a breakout junior season for the Pirates and a preseason that saw her win the 2019-20 Big East Preseason Player of the Year. She also won last year’s Big East scoring title as she averaged 20.2 points per game.
The 6-foot forward added 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game during Big East action. She shot 54.5 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from 3-point range, also connecting at a 76.7 percent clip from the free throw line. Samuels finished in the top-10 in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and minutes played for the Big East.
In addition to being named to the All-Big East First Team, she was also honored with the conference’s Most Improved Player award thanks to an 11.7 point per game spike in scoring, 2.1 rebounds per game improvement and 13.2 percent increase in free throw efficiency in conference play last year.
Earlier this fall, Samuels was named to the Cheryl Miller Award Watch List, which honors the nation’s top small forward.
Justin Sousa can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.