University of Louisville senior forward Kylee Shook has been named by the Atlanta Tipoff Club as a finalist for Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year.

She is joined by Aliyah Boston (South Carolina), Aari McDonald (Arizona) and Didi Richards (Baylor).

“Each of these finalists enjoyed an incredible season, and all of them deserve to be a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Their tenacity embodies the spirit of this award, and although we won’t see them in postseason play, we believe it is important to still honor their accomplishments.”

About the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year finalists:

Kylee Shook, Louisville

·        Shook is the first Louisville player since 2009 to be named conference 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 for career blocks with 223, including 86 this season, and led the ACC in blocks per game (2.7), which ranked 17th in the nation.

·        The 6’4” Cardinal averaged 10.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

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 3.02 assist-to-turnover ratio was fourth best in the nation.

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.

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Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


imageNick Evans
Asst. Sports Information DirectorWomen’s Basketball, Women’s Lacrosse
University of Louisville Athletics