Caitlin Clark headlined the list of four Naismith Player of the Year finalists released Tuesday, but one notable name was missing.
Iowa’s star junior is joined as a finalist by South Carolina senior Aliyah Boston, as well as Virginia Tech senior Elizabeth Kitley and Villanova senior Maddy Siegrist. Boston, who won the award last season, has led the Gamecocks to an undefeated record, while Siegrist leads the NCAA in scoring with 29.1 points per game.
Yet while all of these players have shined for their teams, the absence of LSU sophomore Angel Reese from their company was no less glaring.
🚨 ATTENTION🚨: Introducing the @jerseymikes Naismith Women's College Player of the Year Finalists🏀Click the 🔗 to see the list: https://t.co/3b7enTpAXE pic.twitter.com/Y4CxVqiiJj— Naismith Awards (@NaismithTrophy) March 21, 2023
🚨 ATTENTION🚨: Introducing the @jerseymikes Naismith Women's College Player of the Year Finalists🏀Click the 🔗 to see the list: https://t.co/3b7enTpAXE pic.twitter.com/Y4CxVqiiJj
Reese averages 23.8 points per game (fifth in Division I) and 15.7 rebounds per game (second in Division I) as a veritable double-double machine, with 27 in the regular season. She broke Sylvia Fowles’ program record for consecutive double-doubles in her first season at LSU after transferring from Maryland.
While Reese did make the list of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith award, she did not make the cut as a finalist. Neither did she make the list of semifinalists for the John R. Wooden Award, though LSU later revealed the sophomore is ineligible for that award as she does not meet all of the criteria.
Among the four finalists, Clark averages 8.6 assists per game, which puts her first in the NCAA in that category. She also ranks first in 3-pointers per game (3.38) and triple-doubles (four this season) and third in points per game (26.8). The Iowa guard is the only player in the country to average more than 20 points, five assists and five rebounds per game.
Boston likely is Clark’s greatest competition across the Player of the Year races. The South Carolina center is ranked in the top five in the country in both offensive and defensive player rating. Even in what would be considered a down year by her high standards, Boston is averaging 13.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Out of Villanova, Siegrist has not scored less than 21 points in any game this season. In seven games, she has scored 35 points or more, and she scored a career-high 50 in a February game against Seton Hall.
For Virginia Tech, Kitley won the ACC Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season. The 6-6 center is averaging 18.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the Hokies, and she also became the program’s all-time leading scorer.