Oct. 5, 2010
LOS ANGELES, Calif. --- Gonzaga University women's basketball senior Courtney Vandersloot was named to the preseason Women's John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30. The list is comprised of 30 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are early frontrunners for the college basketball's most prestigious honor.
Vandersloot becomes the second Bulldogs in school history to be nominated for the award in back-to-back seasons as she also made the list in 2009. Former Zag Heather Bowman is the only other player to make the prestigious list twice; earning the nod in 2008 and 2009.
The West Coast Conference Player of the Year for the past two seasons, Vandersloot ended her junior campaign as the nation's assist leader at 9.4 per game, and fourth in steals at 3.6 and 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.2. The Kent, Wash., native was named Associated Press and State Farm Coaches' All-America Honorable Mention. She was a Nancy Lieberman Award Finalist, a Wade Trophy Award Finalist and the WCC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Vandersloot became the WCC and Gonzaga career assists leader in 2009-10 (751) and the Bulldog career steals leader (252). Vandersloot helped lead Gonzaga to its first-ever NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearance.
The 5-9 point guard was also named to the preseason "Wade Watch" list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year, Sporting News Preseason All-America first team and to Lindy's Preseason All-America third team.
Connecticut's Maya Moore, the 2009 Wooden Award winner and a 2008 and 2010 Wooden All American, returns to lead her team as a senior. She is looking to become only the second four-time Wooden All American pick after averaging 18.9 points and 8.3 rebounds a year ago for the undefeated Huskies. Ogwumike, the 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year, averaged 18.5 ppg and 9.9 rpg a year ago for Stanford.
Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the preseason list. These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for December's Midseason list and 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 All American Team, consisting of the nation's top five players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament.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, will take place the weekend of April 8-10, 2011.
Six schools, all perennial top programs at the national level, had two players chosen to the Preseason List: Connecticut (Moore, Tiffany Hayes); North Carolina (Jessica Breland, Italee Lucas); Ohio State (Jantel Lavender, Samantha Prahalis-both Wooden Award ballot picks in 2010); Stanford (Ogwumike, Kayla Pedersen); and Tennessee (Angie Bjorklund, Shekenna Stricklen).
The ACC and Big East each had five players named to the preseason Top 30. The Big 12, Big 10, Pac-10 and SEC each had three selections, followed by the Atlantic 10 and CAA with two, and the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and West Coast with one. Only three sophomores made the list: Baylor's Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame.
About the John R. Wooden AwardCreated 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) and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09). Ohio State's Evan Turner and Connecticut's Tina Charles won the Award in 2010.
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 on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.
2010-11 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 List, Women
Danielle Adams 6-1 Sr. F/C Texas A&M Big 12
Kachine Alexander 5-9 Sr. G Iowa Big Ten
Angie Bjorklund 6-0 Sr. G/F Tennessee SEC
Jessica Breland 6-3 Sr. F North Carolina ACC
Elena Delle Donne 6-5 So. G/F Delaware CAA
Skylar Diggins 5-9 So. G Notre Dame Big East
Jasmine Dixon 6-0 Jr. F UCLA Pac 10
Victoria Dunlap 6-1 Sr. F Kentucky SEC
Dawn Evans 5-7 Sr. G James Madison CAA
Brittney Griner 6-8 So. C Baylor Big 12
Amber Harris 6-5 Sr. F Xavier Atlantic 10
Tiffany Hayes 5-10 Jr. G Connecticut Big East
Shenise Johnson 5-11 Jr. G Miami ACC
Jantel Lavender 6-4 Sr. C Ohio State Big Ten
Italee Lucas 5-8 Sr. G North Carolina ACC
Maya Moore*# 6-0 Sr. F Connecticut Big East
Deirdre Naughton 5-10 Sr. G DePaul Big East
Nnemkadi Ogwumike* 6-2 Jr. F Stanford Pac 10
Kayla Pedersen 6-4 Jr. F Stanford Pac 10
Ta'Shia Phillips 6-6 Sr. C Xavier Atlantic 10
Samantha Prahalis 5-7 Jr. G Ohio State Big Ten
Lauren Prochaska 5-11 Sr. G/F Bowling Green Mid-American
Chastity Reed 6-1 Sr. F Arkansas Little-Rock Sun Belt
Danielle Robinson 5-9 Sr. G Oklahoma Big 12
Sugar Rodgers 5-11 So. G Georgetown Big East
Shekinna Stricklen 6-2 Jr. G/F Tennessee SEC
Helena Sverrisdottir 6-1 Sr. G/F TCU Mountain West
Carolyn Swords 6-6 Sr. C Boston College ACC
Jasmine Thomas 5-9 Sr. G Duke ACC
Courtney Vandersloot 5-8 Sr. G Gonzaga West Coast
(Based on a preseason poll. Players listed alphabetically.)
*indicates player chosen to the 2010 Wooden All American Team
#indicates player was 2009 Wooden Award winner