Nov. 6, 2008
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Gonzaga University women's basketball junior Heather Bowman became the inaugural Bulldog player to be named to the preseason Women's Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy as the 30 student-athletes for 2008-09 were announced by Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, Wooden Award Chairman and founder Wednesday.
The list is composed of 30 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
"This is just incredible," said head coach Kelly Graves after hearing the news about Bowman. "I am just so happy for her. She deserves it. She is a great player but also just an awesome person. It is nice that Heather was recognized and that the women's basketball community knows what a talented player she is.
"It is also great for our university, our program and for the Spokane community."
Bowman was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year and earned All-WCC honors for the second-straight season a year ago. She finished her sophomore season averaging 20.1 points per game, 12th highest in NCAA, 8.3 rebounds per game and shot 52.9 percent from the field. Bowman, who helped lead the Bulldogs to a 25-9 overall record and a 13-1 mark in WCC, registered 10 double-doubles as a sophomore, including five in WCC play. She was named WCC Player of the Week four times and was the Player of the Month for November, January and February.
In mid-January, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of approximately 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Women's Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round during the NCAA Tournament.
The 33rd annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, and the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award to Rick Barnes from The University of Texas, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club in April, 2009.
Two of the candidates selected to this year's preseason list were honored in 2007-08 as members of the 2008 Women's Wooden Award All-American Team, including three-time All-American Courtney Paris of Oklahoma and Connecticut's Maya Moore. In addition, five other 2008-09 preseason nominees were named to the women's Wooden Award National Ballot last year, including Tina Charles (Connecticut), Angel McCoughtry (Louisville), Epiphanny Prince (Rutgers), Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State) and Kristi Toliver (Maryland).
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 January's Midseason list and the official voting ballot released in March.
"I am pleased to see so many players returning from last season's ballot," said Llewellyn. "I am sure Courtney Paris hopes it will be her year. Certainly to be named an All-American four times would be a tremendous honor in itself and with all the amazing talent across the country, this is going to be a memorable season."
The breadth of talent across the country is shown by the number of NCAA Division I schools (25) and conferences (10) highlighted on the list. The Big East boasts eight candidates, followed by the ACC (5), Big 12 (4), Pac-10 (3), SEC (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Big Ten (2), Conference USA (1), Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1) and the West Coast Conference (1).
Connecticut leads the way as the only program with three players on the preseason list: (Moore, Charles and Renee Montgomery), followed by Maryland (Toliver and Marissa Coleman), California (Devanei Hampton, Ashley Walker) and Rutgers (Prince, Kia Vaughn) with two. In total, 17 seniors, 10 juniors and three sophomores were selected to the Preseason Top 30 List.
About the John R. Wooden Award
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 cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), and last year's recipients, Kevin Durant of Texas and Candace Parker of Tennessee ('07 and '08).
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 as well as sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the awards 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.
The Race for the Wooden Award is on! Follow the candidates and get the latest news throughout the season by logging on to www.WOODENAWARD.com. For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact the Wooden Award staff via phone at 213-630-5231 or email at email@example.com.
2008-09 John R. Wooden Award
Preseason Top 30 List - Women's Category
Women's All-American Team - Top 30 Candidates
(Based on a preseason poll. Players listed alphabetically.)
Jessica Adair, 6-4, C/F, Sr., George Washington
Jayne Appel,6-4, F/C, Jr., Stanford
Chante Black, 6-5, F/C, Sr., Duke
DeWanna Bonner, 6-4, G, Sr., Auburn
Heather Bowman, 6-2, F, Jr., Gonzaga
Tina Charles, 6-4, C, Jr., Connecticut
Marissa Coleman, 6-1, G/F, Sr., Maryland
Allyssa DeHaan, 6-9, C, Jr., Michigan State
Krystal Ellis, 5-9, G, Sr., Marquette
Rachele Fitz, 6-0, F, Jr., Marist
Devanei Hampton, 6-3, F/C, Sr., California
Ashley Houts, 5-6, G, Jr., Georgia
Jareica Hughes, 5-3, G, Jr., UTEP
Jantel Lavender, 6-4, C, So., Ohio State
Shalee Lehning, 5-9, G, Sr., Kansas State
Rashanda McCants, 6-1, G/F, Sr., North Carolina
Angel McCoughtry, 6-1, F, Sr., Louisville
Renee Montgomery, 5-7, G, Sr., Connecticut
Maya Moore *, 6-0, F, So., Connecticut
Courtney Paris * ^ ~, 6-4, C, Sr., Oklahoma
Ta'Shia Phillips, 6-6, C, So., Xavier
Epiphanny Prince, 5-9, G, Jr., Rutgers
Andrea Riley, 5-5, G, Jr., Oklahoma State
Takia Starks, 5-8, G, Sr., Texas A&M
Kristi Toliver, 5-7, G, Sr., Maryland
Kia Vaughn, 6-4, C, Sr., Rutgers
Ashley Walker, 6-1, F, Sr., California
Christina Wirth, 6-1, F, Sr., Vanderbilt
Monica Wright, 5-11, G, Jr., Virginia
Shavonte Zellous, 5-11, G, Sr., Pittsburgh
* Indicates player was a 2007-2008 John R. Wooden Award All-American.
^ Indicates player was a 2006-2007 John R. Wooden Award All-American.
~ Indicates player was a 2005-2006 John R. Wooden Award All-American.