Jan. 24, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
Notre Dame junior forward Brianna Turner took a step towards becoming the second Notre Dame recipient of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award on Tuesday as she was named to the midseason watch list for the honor that is annually presented to the USBWA’s Player of the Year.
The lone previous Irish recipient was another great post player in Ruth Riley as the center claimed the accolade in 2001. Turner is one of only four ACC players selected to the 28-member Drysdale Award watch list from a conference that has eight teams ranked in Tuesday’s USA TODAY top 25 coaches poll.
A first-team preseason All-American, Turner has continued to impact games on both ends of the court in 2016-17, leading the ACC in both field goal percentage and blocked shots. Her 58.9% mark from the field ranks 18th nationally while her 129 made field goals stand 38th in the nation. With a career field goal percentage of 61.4%, Turner ranks behind only Riley (63.2%) in Notre Dame history while standing fourth in ACC lore. Her efforts have helped Notre Dame rank fifth in the nation, and first in the ACC, in team field goal percentage at 49.1%.
Turner stands 19th in the nation with her 48 blocked shots on the season and 30th with 2.29 blocked shots per game. Her 225 career blocked shots are exceeded at Notre Dame only by Riley (370) and the 227 of Devereaux Peters. Turner is 13th in ACC history with her 225 career blocks. She stands third nationally among all active members of her junior class and 10th overall.
Averaging 14.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season, Turner has already amassed 1,228 career points scored to rank 24th in school history. Her last outing was perhaps her best of 2016-17 as she scored 24 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked six shots on Sunday afternoon in a 77-55 Irish win on the road at North Carolina.
Ranked No. 8 in Monday’s AP poll at 18-3 on the year and 6-1 in ACC play, the Irish return home to Purcell Pavilion for a crucial league game on Thursday night against No. 14 Duke. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and ACC Network Extra will stream the game live online.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.