LARAMIE – Recently graduated University of Wyoming women’s basketball player Clara Tapia was chosen by the Mountain West Tuesday to be one of two student-athletes to represent the league in contention for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. Tapia is joined by Utah State soccer goalie Grace McGuire.

An NCAA-record pool of 585 women were nominated for the award, and that number has been narrowed to 149.

Tapia, a guard from Barcelona, Spain, helped guide the Cowgirls to their first ever Mountain West Tournament championship game appearance. UW won 25 games last season, tied for the second-most in school history. The Cowgirls advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament for the second time in program history.

Tapia has been on teams that have won at least 20 games in every season she was on the team, and won 13 conference games in her three seasons. That mark ties a school record. 

Tapia started all 34 games for the Cowgirls in 2018-19. She averaged 3.9 points, 3.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 26.9 minutes per game. She finished second in the MW and 23rd in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.5, and finished the season with an even or positive ratio in 32 of 34 games. She finished her career fifth in school history with 394 assists. 

Off the court, Tapia earned her second-consecutive CoSIDA Academic All-America honor. She made the second-team. She is the only UW women’s basketball player with two such honors in school history. Additionally, she was a finalist for the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri award as Wyoming's top undergraduate student. Tapia carried a 4.0 grade point average in molecular biology and chemistry.

Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their careers.

The initial field of nominees competed in 23 different sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 262 from Division I. The Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.

The selection committee will determine the top three honorees from each division from the top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.

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