May 31, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced today the three finalists for the inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The initial list of 25 nominees was announced April 12. This award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
The three finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, listed in alphabetical order, are:
Finch led the Arizona Wildcats to a runner-up finish in the Pac-10 Conference and a runner-up finish at the NCAA Women's College World Series. For her efforts, she was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and placed on the All-College World Series team.
In the circle, Finch compiled a record of 34-6 with a 0.94 ERA and 366 strikeouts. Offensively, she ranked second at Arizonain home runs (16) and RBI (56). Her dual-role efforts earned her a third First-Team All-American honor.
One of the most prolific hitters in the history of college softball, Nuveman led the nation in batting average (.529) and, with 20 home runs, was just one home run shy of the national crown this season. She led the UCLA Bruins to the 2002 Pac-10 title and a berth in the NCAA Women's College World Series.
She concluded her career at UCLA with NCAA career records for home runs (90) and slugging percentage (.945). She became just the second player in conference history to earn three Pac-10 Player of the Year awards,and she also collected four First-Team All-America honors.
In 2002, Natasha Watley became the first Bruin player to record two 100+ hit seasons in a career. She posted a .485 batting average with 112 hits, scored 65 runs and swiped 39 bases. In the opening game of the Women's College World Series, she went 4-for-5 and was eventually named to the All-College World Series Team.
For the third consecutive year, Watley was recognized as a First-Team All-Pac-10, All-Region and All-America selection.
The winner of the 2002 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced June 7th, and will be recognized and presented with the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year trophy during the ASA National Council Meeting in Reno, Nevada, in November.
A replica of the award will be placed in a permanent display in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, along with photos of the winner. An additional replica of the award will be presented to the player?s academic institution.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of Softball in the United Statesand a member of the United States Olympic Committee. As the National Governing Body, the ASA is responsible for identifying, selecting and training male and female athletes to compete in World Championship, Pan American and Olympic competitions.