Riley named Naismith award finalist
Special to the Observer
Junior Ruth Riley, a 1999 third-team Associated Press All-America selection and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year a year ago, has been named one of 10 finalists for the 1999-2000 Naismith College Women's Basketball Player of the Year Award.
The award, which is presented by the Atlanta Tip-off Club and will be announced in March 2000, is the most prestigious honor in college basketball.
The candidates were selected by a vote of the Board of Selectors comprised of leading college basketball coaches, journalists and basketball analysts.
Riley led the Irish in scoring and rebounding in her sophomore season as she averaged 16.6 points and 8.4 rebounds. Her 68.3 field goal percentage, a Notre Dame single-season record, ranked her first nationally, as she became the first Irish player to lead the all Division I players in a statistical category.
After just two seasons, Riley is already Notre Dame's career blocked shots leader with 172. Her 101 during the 1998-99 campaign also set an Irish single-season mark.
The only unanimous first-team all-Big East selection in '99, she also was named a District I Kodak honorable mention selection.
Riley was a member of the '99 World University Games Team which captured the silver medal at this year's World University Games competition. She was the third-leading scorer with 10.3 ppg and second-leading rebounder with 5.3 rpg on the 12-member squad. It marked the second stint for Riley as a member of one of the USA Women's Basketball teams. Following her freshman season, she played on the 1998 USA Women's Select squad.
The nine other finalists along with Riley are: Svetlana Abromsimova (Connecticut), Edwina Brown (Texas), Tamika Catchings (Tennessee), Tamicha Jackson (Lousiana Tech), Maylana Martin (UCLA), Kelly Miller (Georgia), Lynn Pride (Kansas), Semeka Randall (Tennessee) and Nikki Teasley (North Carolina).
The women's Naismith was first presented in 1983 and winners have included Ann Donovan (Old Dominion), Cheryl Miller (USC), Clarissa Davis (Texas), Dawn Staley (Virginia) and Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee).
All Sports Stories for Thursday, September 9, 1999