Ariel Atkins nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year award

Stephen Wagner

Former Texas women’s basketball standout Ariel Atkins has been nominated for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year award, Texas Athletics announced in a press release.

The NCAA Woman of the Year program honors graduating female college athletes’ athletic excellence, academic achievements, community service and leadership from all three divisions.

In the 28th year of the Woman of the Year award program, Atkins is one of the 581 nominees from all three divisions of women’s sports in the NCAA.

Ariel is the second Texas women’s basketball player in three years to be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award after Imani McGee-Stafford was nominated in 2016.  

During her time with the Longhorns, Atkins made herself well known throughout the Big 12 as an elite two-way player, becoming a knock-down shooter from the 3-point line and a hounding defensive menace. In her senior year, Atkins ranked second in the Big 12 in both steals per game and 3-point percentage, earning All-Big 12 Conference honors in addition to her Academic All-Big 12 honors.

This marked the third time in Atkins’ career she was named to the All-Big 12 Conference team, and the fourth time she was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team.

After starting all 35 games of her senior season, Atkins led the team in scoring (14.9 points per game) and steals (2.5 per game.)  

An impressive senior campaign completed her historic career at Texas, where Atkins ranks No. 20 in all-time scoring with 1,497 points. Atkins started 100 of her 121 career games for the Longhorns, putting up double figures in 81 matchups.

While at Texas, Atkins made her mark on the Longhorn community. Ariel was named a Senior Class Award Second-Team All American in addition to being nominated to the Allstate Good Works Team and being heavily involved in the Neighborhood Longhorns program.

Atkins also participated in the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere program, and was recognized by the Big 12’s Champions for Life program.  

Following the Longhorns’ heartbreaking loss to UCLA in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament, Atkins was selected by the Washington Mystics with the seventh pick of the 2018 WNBA Draft, making her the third-highest drafted player in Texas women’s basketball history.