CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – For the second consecutive year, Virginia forward Sam Brunelle has been named to the Katrina McClain Award Watch List, as was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) on Thursday (Oct. 19). The award, which is in its seventh year, recognizes the top power forward in NCAA Division I women’s basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
Last season, Brunelle averaged 11.0 points per game, shot 40 percent from 3-point range and 91.2 percent from the free throw line. Brunelle started in 21 games for the Cavaliers in 2022-23 before her season was cut short due to injury. She scored in double figures in 14 games, helped the Hoos start 12-0 and achieve the program’s first top-25 ranking – in the USA Today Coaches Poll – since 2010. Brunelle joined UVA in 2022 as a graduate transfer from Notre Dame.
“We’re proud to recognize these incredible student-athletes who have shown many skills that made Katrina McClain the standout she was and have proven themselves the best at their position,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. “As we launch our fan voting component tomorrow, we encourage fans to vote alongside Katrina and our distinguished selection committee.”
Fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting, presented by Dell Technologies, in each of the three rounds starting Friday, Oct. 20. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2024 Katrina McClain Award will be narrowed to 10, and then in late February to just five. In March, the five finalists will be presented to McClain and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee, where a winner will be selected.
The winner of the 2024 Katrina McClain Award will be presented on a to be determined date, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five. Additional awards being presented include the Nancy Lieberman Award (point guard), Ann Meyers Drysdale Award (shooting guard), Cheryl Miller Award (small forward) and the Lisa Leslie Award (center), in addition to the men’s Starting Five.
2024 Katrina McClain Award Candidates *
- Angel Reese, Jr., LSU
- Aaliyah Edwards, Sr., UConn
- Quay Miller, Gr., Colorado
- Lauren Gustin, Sr., BYU
- Alissa Pili, Sr., Utah
- Erynn Barnum, Gr., Mississippi St.
- Esmery Martinez, Gr., Arizona
- Maddy Westbeld, Sr., Notre Dame
- Olivia Cochran, Sr., Louisville
- Mimi Collins, Gr., NC State
- Emma Ronsiek, Sr., Creighton
- Dre’Una Edwards, Gr., Baylor
- Aaliyah Moore, Jr., Texas
- Addie Budnik, Sr., Richmond
- Sam Brunelle, Gr., Virginia
- Sania Feagin, Jr., South Carolina
- DeYona Gaston, Sr., Texas
- Darianna Littlepage-Buggs, So., Baylor
- Janiah Barker, So., Texas A&M
- Aicha Coulibaly, Sr., Texas A&M
*Players can play their way onto and off the list at any point in the 2023-24 season
Previous winners of the Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year Award are Maddy Siegrist, Villanova (2023), NaLyssa Smith, Baylor (2021-22), Ruthy Hebard, Oregon (2018, 2020), and Napheesa Collier, UConn (2019).
For more information on the 2024 Katrina McClain Award and the latest updates, visit hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #McClainAward on Twitter and Instagram.
About Katrina McClain-Pittman
Katrina McClain-Pittman was a prolific rebounder and terrific scorer in a career that spanned three Olympic Games and three continents. Before she earned her stripes for USA Basketball, McClain-Pittman starred at the University of Georgia, where she was a two-time Kodak All-American and the WBCA National Player of the Year her senior season. She left Georgia as the school’s second all-time leading scorer and rebounder, averaging a double-double her final two seasons in Athens. The Lady Bulldogs reached the 1985 NCAA Final Four and national championship game with McClain-Pittman controlling the paint and Teresa Edwards running the offense. The two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year finished her international career with two Olympic gold medals and one bronze, three FIBA World Championships medals, and five medals at the Goodwill Games, Pan Am Games, and World University Games. In all, McClain-Pittman appeared on eleven USA Basketball rosters, becoming one of the most decorated athletes in USA Basketball history. She has been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, the Georgia State Hall of Fame, the National High School Hall of Fame, and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.