Aug. 28, 2009

NCAA Release

LOS ANGELES - Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, John R. Wooden Award Chairman and founder, announced the 2009-10 preseason candidates for the Women's Wooden Award today. The list is comprised of 31 student athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.

2009 John R. Wooden Award winner Maya Moore returns for her junior season with the Huskies. She led Connecticut to an undefeated season and the NCAA title in 2009, averaging 21.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.3 blocks. The 6-0 forward was the Big East Player of the Year and an Academic All-American. She recorded 20-plus points 15 times and registered 16 double-doubles as a sophomore. In addition, six more 2009 National Ballot honorees were named as 2009-10 preseason candidates, including Jayne Appel (Stanford), Alysha Clark (Middle Tennessee), Jantel Lavender (Ohio State), Ta`Shia Phillips (Xavier), Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State), and Monica Wright (Virginia).

The list contains 31 players, not the traditional 30, because the playing status of North Carolina's Jessica Breland is uncertain due to a possible medical redshirt year. Transfers, freshmen and 2009 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 ballot released in March.

The breadth of talent across the country is shown by the record number of NCAA Division I conferences (12) highlighted on the list. The Big 10 conference has five candidates, followed by the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-10 with four apiece, the SEC (3), West Coast (2), America East (1), Atlantic 10 (1), CAA (1), Mountain West (1) and Sun Belt (1).

Connecticut (Moore, Tina Charles), Ohio State (Lavender, Samantha Prahalis), Stanford (Appel, Jeanette Pohlen) and Gonzaga (Heather Bowman, Courtney Vandersloot) are the only schools with two preseason candidates. Prahalis was the only sophomore chosen; the rest of the nominees are juniors or seniors.

In late December, 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 34th 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, will take place the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.

Name

Height

Class

Position

University

Conference

Jayne Appel

6-4

Sr.

F/C

Stanford

Pac-10

Erica Beverly

6-0

Sr.

F

Hartford

America East

Angie Bjorklund

6-0

Jr.

G/F

Tennessee

SEC

Heather Bowman

6-2

Sr.

F

Gonzaga

West Coast

Jessica Breland*

6-3

Sr.

F

North Carolina

ACC

Tina Charles

6-4

Sr.

C

Connecticut

Big East

Alysha Clark

5-10

Sr.

F

Middle Tennessee

Sun Belt

Allyssa DeHaan

6-9

Sr.

C

Michigan State

Big Ten

Tyra Grant

5-11

Sr.

G

Penn State

Big Ten

Alexis Gray-Lawson

5-8

Sr.

G

California

Pac-10

Allison Hightower

5-10

Sr.

G

Louisiana State

SEC

Ashley Houts

5-6

Sr.

G

Georgia

SEC

Ify Ibekwe

6-1

Jr.

F

Arizona

Pac-10

Jantel Lavender

6-4

Jr.

C

Ohio State

Big Ten

Gabriela Marginean

6-1

Sr.

F

Drexel

CAA

Danielle McCray

5-11

Sr.

G/F

Kansas

Big 12

Nicole Michael

6-2

Sr.

F

Syracuse

Big East

Jacinta Monroe

6-4

Sr.

F/C

Florida State

ACC

Maya Moore #$

6-0

Jr.

F

Connecticut

Big East

Jené Morris

5-9

Sr.

G

San Diego State

Mountain West

Dierdre Naughton

5-10

Sr.

G

DePaul

Big East

Ta`Shia Phillips

6-6

Jr.

C

Xavier

Atlantic 10

Jeanette Pohlen

6-0

Jr.

G

Stanford

Pac-10

Samantha Prahalis

5-7

So.

G

Ohio State

Big Ten

Andrea Riley

5-5

Sr.

G

Oklahoma State

Big 12

Danielle Robinson

5-9

Jr.

G

Oklahoma

Big 12

Jenna Smith

6-3

Sr.

C

Illinois

Big Ten

Ashley Sweat

6-2

Sr.

F

Kansas State

Big 12

Carolyn Swords

6-6

Jr.

C

Boston College

ACC

Courtney Vandersloot

5-8

Jr.

G

Gonzaga

West Coast

Monica Wright

5-11

Sr.

G

Virginia

ACC

*Possible 2010 medical redshirt # 2009 Wooden Award winner $ 2008 Wooden Award All-American

About the John R. Wooden Award

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. The women's category was added in 2004. The Award 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), Alana Beard (`06) and Blake Griffin (`09). Candace Parker won the Women's Wooden Award in 2007 and 2008.

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 a day-long basketball tournament. The tournament brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All-Americans in a setting that exemplifies the spirit of competition.

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 at 213-630-5206 or email at woodenaward@laac.net.