Delaware Women's Basketball Standout Elena Delle Donne Earns Coveted Honda Player of the Year Award
LOS ANGELES -- University of Delaware All-American women’s basketball standout Elena Delle Donne added another prestigious award to her impressive collection Friday as she was selected to receive the Honda Award as the top collegiate athlete in her sport.
Delle Donne, who earlier this week was the No. 2 overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky, now becomes a finalist the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2013 Honda Cup. The Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards will present the Honda Cup live on ESPNU TV, June 24, at the USC Galen Center Founder’s Room in Los Angeles.
Delle Donne becomes just the fourth student-athlete in University of Delaware history to earn his or her sport’s national Player of the Year award and the first since 1999 when John Grant was named the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Player of the Year. Delaware’s Audie Kujala was named the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Softball Player of the Year in 1977 and Kevin Mench was selected as the Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball Magazine in 1998.
Delle Donne is the 12th Colonial Athletic Association student-athlete to receieve the prestigious honor and the first to receive the Honda Award since Old Dominion's Tiffany Snow (Field Hockey) in 2002. Delaware's all-star is just the CAA's third women's basketball player to earn the honor as Old Dominion's Nancy Lieberman (1979, 80) and Ann Donovan (1983) were also awarded the honor for women's hoops.
"I am honored to be receiving this award,” said Delle Donne, who last summer received the Honda Inspiration Award in Los Angeles. “I want to thank all of the people who had a part in selecting me as the recipient. It is truly humbling to be chosen as the premier player in women's college basketball this year. I feel blessed to be a part of the Collegiate Women's Sports Awards family, an organization that was established over 37 years ago. I am extremely grateful to be receiving an award that stands for excellence in sports and highlights women's accomplishments.”
Delle Donne, a native of Wilmington, Del. (Ursuline Academy), ranked second in the nation with 26.0 points per game and scored 30 or more points in eight games this past season. She helped lead the Blue Hens to a 32-4 overall record and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance for the first time in school history. A four-time All-American and three-time Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year, she holds the CAA career records for points, field goals, free throws, and blocked shots, and her 3,039 career points placed her fifth all-time in NCAA history. She also owns 10 University of Delaware career records as well as numerous season and single game standards.
"We are all very proud of Elena on her selection as the Honda Award winner as the top women’s basketball player in the country,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, who led the Blue Hens to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year in 2013 and for the fourth time in her tenure. “This prestigious honor is something I know Elena will cherish for the rest of her life. The award culminates an incredible year for Elena and brings national attention to our women’s basketball program here at the University of Delaware.”
The CWSA presents the Honda Sports Award annually to top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. With this honor, Delle Donne, a senior majoring in human services, becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2013 Honda Cup. She was also a two-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for women’s basketball, a two-time CAA Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and the CAA overall Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2012.
Delle Donne was chosen for the Honda Sports Award by a vote among the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Finalists included Skyler Diggins (Notre Dame), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), and Brittney Griner (Baylor), the 2012 Honda Cup winner.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions. Previous Honda Cup winners include Griner, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Lisa Fernandez, Misty May-Treanor, Maya Moore, and Candace Parker.