With a little more than a month left in the regular season, the women’s basketball player of the year race is wide open.
Here’s a look at five potential candidates in alphabetical order, though there are certainly others out there:
KAYLA MCBRIDE: Notre Dame’s senior guard left a strong impression in the fall at the USA basketball national team training camp. She has continued to impress this season in leading the Irish to an undefeated record so far. McBride is averaging 17 points, 5.6 rebounds and nearly 4 assists a game.
CHINEY OGWUMIKE: Stanford’s senior forward has been putting up video game-like numbers this season in guiding the Cardinal to a 21-1 record. She’s averaging 27 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the field.
ODYSSEY SIMS: Baylor’s senior guard has really stepped up her play this season after the graduation of Brittney Griner. She’s leading the nation in scoring, averaging 30 points and nearly five assists while shooting 42 percent from behind the 3-point line and 82 percent from the free throw line. Sims has scored more than 40 points four times this season with opponents keying on her every game.
"People who think that Odyssey Sims is in Brittney Griner’s shadow don’t understand the value of Odyssey Sims," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "Pound for pound, she is considered by many to be the best to ever play the game."
BREANNA STEWART: UConn’s sophomore forward won outstanding player of the Final Four last April and hasn’t looked back in leading the top-ranked Huskies to an undefeated mark this season. She’s averaging 19.3 points, 7.9 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 81 percent from the foul line. At 6-foot-4 she’s nearly impossible to guard.
ALYSSA THOMAS: Maryland’s senior forward has been a triple-double machine this season racking up three of them. She’s two short of the NCAA record set by Nicole Powell of Stanford in 2002. The Terrapins star is averaging 18.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4 assists.
"She’s just such a special player for us," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "There really isn’t much that she can’t do. She’s had to play virtually every position for us. Just a really great player and even better person."