Mununga named to Katrina McClain Award watch list

Forward Bethy Mununga was named to the Katrina McClain Award watch list Thursday. She was the only player from the AAC to make the list. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

Ahead of the 2020 season, USF women’s basketball star Bethy Mununga has already made a splash.

Mununga was named to the Katrina McClain Award preseason watch list on Thursday.

The award is given to the best power forward in the country by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. 

Mununga is one of 20 players to make the watch list and the only player from the AAC.

She looks to build upon a promising first season at USF that saw her become one of the most dominant post players in the conference.

During her first season in Tampa, Mununga was one of the best forwards in the AAC and averaged 10.1 rebounds and 9.2 points per game. 

Her rebounds per game ranked second in the conference and her total rebounds (292) ranked 36th in the nation. She also reached double digits in rebounds in 17 games last season.

On top of her performance on the glass, Mununga was also one of USF’s most consistent offensive weapons. She shot 50% from the field and 71% from the free-throw line.

The highlight of Mununga’s first season in green and gold came in a loss against defending national champion Baylor, a game in which Mununga had 16 points, 12 rebounds and three steals.

Katrina McClain, the eponym of the award, is an icon in women’s basketball.

A great rebounder and scorer, McClain had a remarkable career that included multiple national player of the year awards while at Georgia, three Olympics, playing internationally in Europe and ultimately culminating in being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

If Mununga wins this distinguished award, first given in 2018, she would be in elite company. 

The two previous winners of the award were each top eight picks in their respective WNBA drafts. 

Ruthy Hebard, who won the award in 2018 and 2020 during her time at Oregon, was the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft, while 2019 WNBA Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier won the award last year.

The award will be announced April 9.