Award for top freshman basketball player will be named for Tamika Catchings

The United States Basketball Writers Association announced Thursday that it’s naming its national freshman of the year award after Catchings, the former Stevenson High School, University of Tennessee and WNBA star.

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The award for the top women’s college basketball player will be named after Tamika Catchings.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The nation’s top freshman women’s basketball player each season will win the Tamika Catchings Award starting this year.

The United States Basketball Writers Association announced Thursday during the Southeastern Conference women’s basketball Media Day event that it’s naming its national freshman of the year award after Catchings, the former Stevenson High School, University of Tennessee and WNBA star.

Catchings led Stevenson to an Illinois state championship in 1995. She was named Illinois Miss Basketball that year, the first underclassman to win the award. She won All-State and All-America honors in 1994 and 1995.

Catchings was the consensus national freshman of the year during the 1997-98 season when she helped Tennessee go 39-0 and win the national championship. She later played 16 seasons with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever and won gold medals with the U.S. Olympic team in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

She has a master’s degree in sports studies from Tennessee and has started the Catch The Stars Foundation, which promotes fitness, literacy and youth development in helping disadvantaged youths achieve their dreams.

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