2024 Naismith Award winners: Iowa's Caitlin Clark wins Player of the Year, Dawn Staley honored as top coach


The biggest names in women’s college basketball were honored Wednesday with the announcement of the Naismith Award winners. 

This year’s crop of nominated players included stars like Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, UConn’s Paige Bueckers and USC’s JuJu Watkins, among others. The announcement comes two days before the women’s Final Four takes place in Cleveland at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Here’s a closer look at all of this year’s winners.

Player of the Year: Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Clark earned the honor for the second consecutive season after having a season for the ages. The Des Moines, Iowa native led the nation in scoring with 32.0 points per game and powered the Hawkeyes to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a Big Ten Tournament title. Clark became the all-time leading scorer in all of NCAA Division I basketball this season as she passed former Washington star Kelsey Plum and Pete Maravich. She recently helped defeat No. 3 seed LSU to lead Iowa to its second consecutive Final Four appearance. 

Nominees:

  • Caitlin Clark, Iowa
  • Paige Bueckers, UConn
  • JuJu Watkins, USC
  • Cameron Brink, Stanford

Coach of the Year: Dawn Staley, South Carolina

Legendary coach Dawn Staley secured the Naismith Coach of the Year Award for the third consecutive season after she led South Carolina to another undefeated campaign. Staley has led the Gamecocks to the Final Four for the second straight season, and she also was named the SEC Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her career. The 2023-24 campaign also marks the third time in her tenure that she led the Gamecocks to the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Nominees:

  • Dawn Staley, South Carolina
  • Lisa Bluder, Iowa
  • Lindsay Gottlieb, USC
  • Tara VanDerveer, Stanford

Defensive Player of the Year: Cameron Brink, Stanford

Cameron Brink has become the first player in Stanford history to win the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Brink put together averages of 17.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks during the 2023-24 season. Her 3.6 blocks per contest led the nation, while her 11.9 rebounds per game were third in the country. Along with Chiney Ogwumike, she is one of just two players in Pac-12 history to be named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year on three separate occasions. Brink was also the first collegiate player to register 500 points, 300 rebounds and 100 blocks in consecutive seasons.

Nominees:

  • Cameron Brink, Stanford
  • Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina
  • Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame
  • Celeste Taylor, Ohio State





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