Graves a Finalist for Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year


EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves has been named one of four finalists for the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith women’s coach of the year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Thursday morning.

The John R. Wooden Pac-12 coach of the year for the second straight season, Graves is a finalist for national coach of the year along with Adia Barnes (Arizona), Joe McKeown (Northwestern) and Dawn Staley (South Carolina). Graves has not won the Naismith women’s coach of the year award before and would be the first Oregon coach ever to take home the honor.

Graves led the Ducks to a 31-2 overall record and a 17-1 mark in conference play while winning the Pac-12 regular-season title for the third year in a row. Oregon dominated in the Pac-12 Tournament to complete the conference sweep for the second time in the last three years, before the promising year was ended abruptly when the NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Oregon ended 2019-20 at No. 2 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches’ polls, marking the highest end-of-season ranking in program history. The Ducks closed the season with 19 straight wins to mark the second-longest win streak in program history, outscoring opponents by 25.5 points per game during that stretch.

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Oregon finished the season an astounding 12-1 against top-25 teams, setting a new program record for wins over ranked opponents, while going 7-1 against top-10 teams and 3-0 against teams ranked in the top five. Since December 1, the Ducks were a perfect 10-0 against teams that were in the final top-16 reveal released by the NCAA selection committee.

The Ducks also enjoyed a historic season at home, where they were undefeated at 15-0 while setting a new program record for consecutive home wins in a season. It is the first undefeated season at home since 1985-86 for Oregon, which is 49-2 at Matthew Knight Arena over the last three years.

Statistically, Oregon closed 2019-20 as the nation’s top team in scoring offense (86.0 PPG), field-goal percentage (50.9), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.91) while also ranking in the top five in scoring margin (2nd, 28.1), assists per game (3rd, 21.1) and turnovers per game (4th, 11.1).

Beginning on March 20, fans will be able to support their favorite finalist by visiting until April 1, to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. The 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year is scheduled to be announced on April 3, and the winner will be honored at a later date.