Utah’s Gianna Kneepkens Named To 2023 Naismith Trophy Watch List

Nov 4, 2022, 3:41 PM
Utah Utes guard Gianna Kneepkens (5) celebrates after a 3-point shot as Utah and BYU women compete in a basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Utah women’s basketball guard Gianna Kneepkens as a member of the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Women’s watch list.

The list of 50 players was announced on Friday, November 4.

The sophomore star for the Utes was one of those honored on the preseason watch list.

“This is a big-time list to be on for Gianna, especially as a sophomore,” Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said of the recognition for Kneepkens. “We are all very excited to see what she achieves, but those that know her well know that this will just motivate her to work harder and keep focusing on our team’s goals.”

The watch list will be updated midseason with 30 players in February. 10 semifinalists will be announced from that list in March. The next Naismith Player of the Year will be revealed on March 29, 2023. Last year’s winner, Ailyah Boston of South Carolina, is also a member of the list for the upcoming season.

“We have selected an elite group of athletes for the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Women’s Naismith Trophy watch list this year, and we look forward to keeping an eye on these stellar players and adding additional excellent players as the season progresses,” Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club said in a statement.

“The athletes on the watch list are the best of the best in their sport, and likely will provide a season full of exciting moments on the court,” Jeff Hemschoot, Jersey Mike’s vice president of marketing added. “We are excited to watch these women compete as we get ready for another terrific season of women’s college basketball.”

Kneepkens is one of nine players representing the Pac-12 Conference. The Big Ten has the most players on the watch list with 10. The Pac-12 along with the ACC and SEC each have nine players on the list.

As a freshman for the Utes in 2021-22, Kneepkens earned First Team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Freshman honors. She was recognized as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for her outstanding debut in college basketball.

The Duluth, Minnesota native averaged 11.8 points per game on 44.6 percent shooting, including 38.4 percent on three-pointers. Kneepkens added 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 23.7 minutes per contest. She played in 33 games last season, including 25 starts.

Kneepkens helped Utah to a 21-12 record. She also led the Utes to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Utah opens its 2023-23 schedule at home against the Idaho Vandals on Monday, November 7 at 5:30 p.m. (MDT).

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