Jan. 24, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mel Greenberg
Forward scores 19.5 ppg in pair of Big East wins
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ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Villanova forward Mary Gedaka as its Women's National Freshman of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 22. The USBWA's weekly honor will be handed out each Tuesday through mid-February.

As the Big East freshman of the week, Gedaka earned consideration as a nominee for the weekly award, which was chosen by Mel Greenberg, the USBWA coordinator for women’s basketball, from a list of Division I conference freshmen of the week.

Gedaka, a 6-1 forward from Mullica Hill, N.J., averaged 14.7 points overall in three games and 19.5 points in a pair of Big East road wins at Butler and Xavier. She also averaged 8.7 rebounds for the week. In the win at Butler, in which Villanova rallied from a 22-point deficit in the third quarter to prevail in overtime, Gedaka scored 20 points, including four in the extra session, and grabbed 10 rebounds for her first double double. She had 18 points, off 9-for-14 shooting, and eight rebounds in the Xavier game. Her mother Lisa (nee Angelotti) is one of six former Villanova women whose numbers are retired and she was the Big East Player of the Year in 1988.

Since the 2003-04 season, the USBWA has named a Women's National Freshman of the Year. This is the third season USBWA has honored a national freshman of the week. At the 2012 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Denver, the organization announced going forward that the national and weekly player award has been named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale and another famous name in women’s basketball is being deliberated for the freshman award. At the conclusion of the regular season, the freshman winner will be voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA. The winner of the 2017 Women’s National Freshman of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWA’s annual awards event in Dallas, site of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Several other women’s awards may also be announced later this season associated with more famous names in women’s basketball history. Also in 2012 in Denver, it was also announced there that former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who was the female recipient of the Most Courageous Award for her battle against early onset dementia, Alzheimer type, would have that award named in her honor. Coach Summitt ultimately succumbed to that battle this past June.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

2016-17 Women's National Freshmen of the Week
Week ending Dec. 11: Tori McCoy, Ohio State (Big Ten Conference)
Week ending Dec. 18: Ana Ferariu, Drexel (Colonial Athletic Association)
Week ending Dec. 25: Stella Johnson, Rider (Metro Atlantic Athletic Association)
Week ending Jan. 1: Nancy Mulkey, Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference)
Week ending Jan. 8: Chanelle Molina, Washington State (Pac-12 Conference)
Week ending Jan. 15: Justine Gaziano, Brown (Ivy League)
Week ending Jan. 22: Mary Gedaka, Villanova (Big East Conference)
Week ending Jan. 29: Kysre Gondrezick, Michigan (Big Ten Conference)
Week ending Feb. 5: Bella Alarie, Princeton (Ivy League)
Week ending Feb. 12: Joyner Holmes, Texas (Big 12 Conference)
Week ending Feb. 19: Minyon Moore, USC (Pac-12 Conference)