United States Basketball Writers Association March 31, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Player, coach and freshman of the year named

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has named three standouts as its women's individual award winners this season.


Duke senior Alana Beard (Shreveport, La.) was the named the USBWA National Player of the Year. Houston coach Joe Curl is the National Coach of the Year and Texas forward Tiffany Jackson (Duncanville, Texas) is the National Freshman of the Year.

Beard led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring and finished the season with 19.2 points per game to go with 5.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.4 steals. Beard also connected on exactly 50 percent of her field goal attempts this year. The 30-4 Blue Devils, ranked No. 1 in the final regular-season Associated Press Top 25, came within one game of making their third straight Final Four appearance, losing to Minnesota in the regional finals.

In his sixth season at Houston, Joe Curl led the Cougars to a school-record 28 wins and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. UH won the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles and had won 13 straight games before losing to UCSB. In their first NCAA appearance in 12 seasons, the Coogs defeated Wisconsin-Green Bay for their first-ever NCAA Tournament win. Just five years ago, in Curl's first season at UH, the Cougars were 5-22.

At 6-3, Tiffany Jackson led Texas in scoring with 13.0 points per game to go along with 7.5 rebounds. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year led Texas to a 30-5 record and the third round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to LSU, which has advanced to the Final Four out of the West Regional.

The United States Basketball Writers Association, which will release its 2003-04 Women's All-America Team later this week, was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. The USBWA has awarded a women's player of the year since 1988 and a coach of the year since 1990. The organization's freshman of the year award was initiated last season (2003).

USBWA Players of the Year USBWA Coaches of the Year
2004 Alana Beard, Duke
2003 Diana Taurasi, Connecticut
2002 Sue Bird, Connecticut
2001 Ruth Riley, Notre Dame
2000 Tamika Catchings, Tennessee
1999 Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
1998 Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
1997 Kate Starbird, Stanford
1996 Saudia Roundtree, Georgia
1995 Rebecca Lobo, Connecticut
1994 Lisa Leslie, USC
1993 Sheryl Swoopes, Texas Tech
1992 Dawn Staley, Virginia
1991 Dawn Staley, Virginia
1990 Jennifer Azzi, Stanford
1989 Clarissa Davis, Texas
1988 Sue Wicks, Rutgers
2004 Joe Curl, Houston
2003 Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
2002 Brenda Oldfield, Minnesota
2001 Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame
2000 Andy Landers, Georgia
1999 Carolyn Peck, Purdue
1998 Pat Summitt, Tennessee
1997 Wendy Lary, Old Dominion
1996 Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech
1995 Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
1994 Ceal Barry, Colorado
1993 Jim Foster, Vanderbilt
1992 Christine Weller, Maryland
1991 Debbie Ryan, Virginia
1990 Tara VanDerveer, Stanford
USBWA Freshmen of the Year: 2004 Tiffany Jackson, Texas; 2003 Seimone Augustus, LSU.