Jan. 11, 2011
-Los Angeles, CALIF.- Gonzaga University women's basketball senior point guard Courtney Vandersloot has been named one of the top 20 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, the nation's most coveted college basketball honor.
The John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 lost was announced today by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 20 student-athletes who will compete for this season's player of the year award and the midseason list is based on individual excellence and team record during the first half of the season.
Vandersloot, who was the inaugural Bulldog to make the list in 2009-10, now becomes the first two-time midseason honoree and is one of an unprecedented nine players from the 2010 Wooden Award ballot to return to the midseason list in 2011.
The Kent, Wash., native leads the nation in assists per contest at 9.4, fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.18 and 11th in double-doubles with eight. She is also averaging 17.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game. Gonzaga is off to a 13-4 start, which includes winnings its opening West Coast Conference game of the season this past Saturday.
Connecticut's Maya Moore, the 2009 Wooden Award winner and a 2008 and 2010 Wooden Award All American, is looking to become only the second four-time Wooden Award All America, after Courtney Paris of Oklahoma accomplished the feat from 2006-09. This season, Moore is averaging 23.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogqumike, the reigning Pacific-10 Player of the Year, helped her team snap the Huskies 90 games winning streak; on the season she averages 17.2 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds.
The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round during the NCAA Tournament, making it unique among college postseason awards. Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are eligible for this midseason list but did not appear on the preseason Top 30. All players nationally who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 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 Women's Advisory Board had an especially difficult task in preparing this year's midseason list, with several members commenting that they could find six or seven additional players who were deserving beyond the 20 selected. Competition for one of the 20 spots on the Wooden Award Ballot is expected to be especially tough this year.
Stanford and North Carolina were the only two schools with two players chosen to the list. The Cardinal is represented by Ogwumike and senior forward Kayla Pedersen, while Jessica Breland and Italee Lucas, the Tar Heels' senior leaders, are two of the four ACC players selected.
The ACC had the highest number of players chosen, with four. Other conferences with multiple players represented include the Big East (3), Pac-10 (3), Big 12 (3), SEC (2), and Big 10 (2). The Atlantic 10, CAA, and West Coast Conferences each had one selection.
The 35th annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, a special tribute to Coach Wooden and Wooden Award founder Duke Llewellyn, and the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, given to Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, will take place April 8, 2011.
Courtesy of GU Sports Information