The John R. Wooden Award announced the Women’s Preseason Top 30 today. The list is comprised of 30 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor. The list is chosen by a preseason poll of national women’s college basketball media members.
Defending NCAA champion Connecticut boasts three players on the preseason Top 30 list: Moriah Jefferson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, and Breanna Stewart, who finished third in the voting as a sophomore a year ago after averaging 19.4 ppg and 8.1 rebounds. Three more teams put a pair of players on the list, 14th-ranked California (Brittany Boyd, Rashanda Gray); No. 1 South Carolina (Aleighsa Welch, Tiffany Mitchell); and No. 4 Tennessee, (Bashaara Graves, Isabelle Harrison).
Other players of note nationally on the Top 30 list include Duke’s Elizabeth Williams, a three-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year pick; Stanford point guard Amber Orrange, who led the Cardinal to a win over UConn last week; and a trio of players who won the three-on-three world championship last summer: Louisville senior Sara Hammond, Notre Dame junior Jewell Loyd; and Mitchell.
Players not chosen to the preseason list are eligible for both the midseason list and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.
The power conferences lead the way this preseason. The ACC led all leagues with six selections, followed by the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC with five apiece. The American Athletic Conference followed with four selections, the Big 12 three, and two more conferences had one pick, the MAC and Big East. Nearly half of the players chosen, 14 out of 30, are seniors.
The 39th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which in 2015 will go to San Diego State Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Fisher. The event will take place the weekend of April 10-12, 2015.
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 or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09 and ‘11). Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike won the 2014 Wooden Award.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.
Follow the candidates and get the latest news throughout the season by going to the Wooden Award facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/WoodenAward or twitter feed @WoodenAward. For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact the Wooden Award staff at 213-630-5231 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Rachel Banham||Minnesota||Big Ten||5-9||Sr.||G|
|Crystal Bradford||Central Michigan||MAC||6-0||Sr.||G|
|Lexie Brown||Maryland||Big Ten||5-9||So.||G|
|Nina Davis||Baylor||Big 12||5-11||So.||F|
|Kaela Davis||Georgia Tech||ACC||6-2||So.||G|
|Nneka Enemkpali||Texas||Big 12||6-1||Sr.||F|
|Allisha Gray||North Carolina||ACC||6-0||So.||G|
|Dearica Hamby||Wake Forest||ACC||6-3||Sr.||F|
|Bria Holmes||West Virginia||Big 12||6-1||Jr.||G|
|Brittany Hrynko||DePaul||Big East||5-8||Sr.||G|
|Moriah Jefferson||UConn||The American||5-7||Jr.||G|
|Samantha Logic||Iowa||Big Ten||5-9||Sr.||G|
|Jewell Loyd||Notre Dame||ACC||5-10||Jr.||G|
|Tiffany Mitchell||South Carolina||SEC||5-9||Jr.||G|
|Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis||UConn||The American||5-11||Sr.||F|
|Aerial Powers||Michigan State||Big Ten||6-0||So.||F|
|Breanna Stewart*||UConn||The American||6-4||Jr.||F|
|Rachel Theriot||Nebraska||Big Ten||6-0||Jr.||G|
|Courtney Walker||Texas A&M||SEC||5-8||Jr.||G|
|Aleighsa Welch||South Carolina||SEC||6-0||Sr.||F|
|Courtney Williams||USF||The American||5-8||Jr.||G|
* 2014 Wooden All American