LOS ANGELES, CA – The John R. Wooden Award, widely known as the most coveted individual honor in men’s college basketball, today announced the creation of the John R. Wooden Women’s Award that will be presented annually to the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player beginning in the 2003-2004 season.
“There is an abundance of talent in women’s basketball, and these players deserve to be recognized for their efforts, just as the men,” said Mike Solum, Director of the Wooden Award. “Our goal is to become the premiere award that all women’s college basketball players strive to achieve.”
According to Solum, the Wooden Women’s Award has been a long time goal. The idea came to fruition due to the strong interest and financial support of Applied Materials, a sponsor for the men’s Wooden Award since 2000.
The Wooden Women’s Award Preseason All-American Team – a list of the 30 early frontrunners, based on previous individual performance and team records – will be announced in early August, along with the men’s preseason list. This list will include only returning players -transfers and freshmen are not eligible, though they will be evaluated and considered for the midseason top 20 list.
In March of 2004, the Wooden Award Committee will announce the official voting ballot, consisting of the top 15 players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
Over 250 voters, comprised of sports media members and women’s college basketball experts across the nation, will then cast their votes for the five-member All-American team and Wooden Award honor as the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player in the United States.
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan (’84), Larry Bird (’79), Tim Duncan (’97) and last year’s recipient, Jason Williams (’02). Tabulation for all voting is calculated by Deloitte & Touche.