CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia has nominated Zoe Morse (East Lansing, Mich.) and Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, it was announced on Tuesday (July 14).
Morse and Willoughby are part of a record 605 female college athletes nominated for the award.
Rooted in Title IX, the NCAA Woman of the Year Award was established in 1991 to recognize graduating female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
The nominees represent all three NCAA divisions, including 259 nominees from Division I, 126 from Division II and 220 from Division III. Nominees competed in 24 sports, with multisport student-athletes accounting for 128 of the nominees.
Morse was an All-Region selection by the United Soccer Coaches in her senior campaign after starting all 22 games for the Cavaliers and helping Virginia to a No. 1 ranking for most of the season and a 17-2-3 record for the year. A defensive standout, she helped the Cavaliers post 14 shutouts – including seven straight shutouts against ACC competition – and played a team-leading 1,923 minutes. She was named to the ACC Championship All-Tournament team after helping the Cavaliers advance to the finals. A team captain for the second straight season, Morse was named a CoSIDA Academic All-Region selection and a Scholar All-Region selection by the United Soccer Coaches. She was drafted with the 19th pick of the National Women’s Soccer League Draft in January by the Chicago Red Stars. Morse was named an ACC Post-Graduate scholarship winner this season and was also named to the All-ACC Academic Team for the third time in her career.
Willoughby, an honorable mention WBCA All-American, finished the season as the ACC scoring leader at 19.2 points per game, making her just the second player in program history to pace the conference in scoring. She also ranked 10th in the ACC in rebounding at 7.5 per game and was named All-ACC First Team in votes by the Blue Ribbon Panel and the league’s head coaches. The first-round WNBA draft pick is a member of the New York Liberty. The third-team CoSIDA Academic All-American was the first player in program history to be the recipient of the 2019-20 Kay Yow Award as the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Willoughby was also named to the 2019-20 All-ACC Academic Team, making her Virginia’s first four-time recipient of that honor. She was also the second player in program history to receive an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, joining Cathy Grimes who did so in 1985.
Member schools are encouraged to honor their top graduating female college athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year Award. Schools can recognize two nominees if at least one is a woman of color or international student-athlete.
Conference offices will select up to two nominees each from their pool of member school nominees. All nominees who compete in a sport not sponsored by their school’s primary conference, as well as associate conference nominees and independent nominees, will be considered by a selection committee. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.
From the Top 30, the Woman of the Year selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division and announce nine finalists. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then will choose the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year, who will be named this fall.