Baylor Athletics Press Release:
WACO, Texas – Baylor junior DiDi Richards was listed among four finalists for the 2020 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Monday.
Richards, a junior from Cypress, Texas, is the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year with two-straight seasons to her credit on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. She was joined on the list of finalists by Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, Aari McDonald of Arizona and Kylee Shook of Louisville. All four players were named Defensive Player of the Year for their respective conference.
Richards has a reputation for being one of the nation’s top on-ball defenders, and she leads the charge for Baylor, which ranked No. 1 in the country in field goal percentage defense for four-consecutive seasons.
She averaged 1.7 steals per contest while adding 25 blocked shots from the guard position. Richards averaged a career-best 8.2 points per game while leading the Big 12 in assists (171), assists per game (5.7) and assists-to-turnover ratio (2.94). In addition, her assists-to-turnover ratio ranked fourth in the nation, and she ranked in the top 15 in both assists and assists per game.
The finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s board of selectors, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, who based their selections on outstanding on-court defensive performances during the 2019-20 regular college basketball season. The winners are scheduled to be announced on April 1, and each winner will be honored with a ceremony at a later date.
Richards is the first finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year for Baylor. Brittney Griner was the three-time recipient of the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year for the Lady Bears from 2011-2013.
About the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year finalists:
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina
- Boston was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year this season.
- The 6’5” forward started her college career with the first college debut triple-double in Division I history, and she continued that trend by setting her program freshman records for double-doubles, blocked shots and offensive rebounds.
- She led the Gamecocks in rebounding with 9.4 rpg and blocked shots with 86 this season, and she ranked second on her team in scoring with 12.5 ppg.
Aari McDonald, Arizona
- The 2020 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, the first Arizona player to take home the honor since 2011, also earned a spot on the All-Pac 12 team as well as the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.
- The junior guard led her conference averaging 20.6 points and 2.5 steals per game.
- McDonald had 596 points, 105 assists and 68 steals for Arizona this season.
DiDi Richards, Baylor
- Named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team and the All-Big 12 Second Team, Richards also earned the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Year honor, making her win the ninth for Baylor.
- The 6’1” guard averaged 8.2 ppg and 4.9 rpg with 170 assists and 52 steals for the season.
- Her 2.94 assist-to-turnover ratio was fourth best in the nation.
Kylee Shook, Louisville
- Shook is the first Louisville player since 2009 to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and she was also included on the All-ACC Defensive team and First-Team All-ACC.
- The senior forward set the school record in blocks with 223, including 86 this season, and led the ACC in blocks per game (2.8), which ranked 11th in the nation.
- The 6’4” Cardinal averaged 10.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with 724 in her career.