Candice Wiggins Named Pac-10 Player of the Year

March 3, 2005

Walnut Creek, Calif. - Second-ranked Stanford picked up a slew of conference honors, as Candice Wiggins has been named 2004-05 Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Tara VanDerveer has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, commissioner Tom Hansen announced this morning.

Senior guard Kelley Suminski and sophomore center Brooke Smith, along with Wiggins, were selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team, while senior guard Susan King Borchardt was named honorable mention.

Wiggins is the first freshman Pac-10 women's basketball player to be named Player of the Year and just the eighth freshman ever to be named to the All-Pac-10 First Team. She becomes just the third women's player in Division I history to win both Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors from a conference in the same season, and is one of only nine Division I men's and women's players to earn such distinction.*

The lone freshman on the Midseason Wooden Award and Naismith Award lists, Wiggins leads the Cardinal and ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring with 17.3 points per game. She was honored twice this year as Pac-10 Player of the Week as Stanford went 17-1 in conference play to win the regular season title. Wiggins recorded a career-best 31 points at ASU and also tallied a career-high six assists and six steals (five of which resulted in breakaway layups) and then tacked on a 28-point performance at Arizona two days later, to earn her first Pac-10 Player of the Week nod. Against the Los Angeles schools on Jan. 20 and 22, she scored a combined 42 points in two games -- in only 48 minutes -- to earn her second weekly conference honor. Wiggins also leads Stanford with 73 steals this season -- which ranks No. 9 in school history for steals in a single season.

The Pac-10 Coach of the Year, VanDerveer is also a Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist.

VanDerveer, in her 19th season at Stanford, has led the Cardinal to a 26-2 overall record and 17-1 mark in Pac-10 play. Stanford has remained in the Top-10 of both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls throughout the season, climbing back to a season-high No. 2 ranking this week. Under her guidance, the Cardinal won its fifth-straight Pac-10 title this season and enters the Pac-10 Tournament this weekend as the back-to-back defending champions. She has led this year's team to 17-straight wins and an undefeated home record (13-0) for the first time since 1996-97 and is also a Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist.

VanDerveer, who was the 2003 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year honors, has accumulated an impressive 628-170 record in more than 25 years of collegiate coaching. In her 19th year as the head coach of the Stanford women's basketball program, she has amassed an amazing 476-119 (.800) record. During her tenure on The Farm, she has led the Cardinal to two NCAA Championships, five NCAA Final Four appearances, 12 Pacific-10 Conference titles and 16 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the Cardinal advanced to the Elite Eight for the eighth time in VanDerveer's career. The Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor is the seventh of her career.

Suminski is a two-time All-Conference selection and is ranked second in the league in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 47.1 (57-of-121) from beyond the arc. She has hit 57 three-pointers this season, bringing her career total to 198 treys, which is third-best in school history and the seventh-best mark in Pac-10 history.

Smith is a first-time All-Conference selection in her first year playing for Stanford. She ranks first in the league and sixth in the nation in field goal percentage, shooting 62.1 percent on 164-of-264. She is averaging 13.3 points per game and 1.11 blocks per game, seventh and fourth, respectively, in the league.

This is Borchardt's second All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention selection. The Cardinal's lone fifth-year senior, Borchardt missed the non-conference season with injury this year, but returned for the full Pac-10 schedule. She is averaging 8.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game this year.

Stanford will look to defend its back-to-back Pac-10 Tournament titles this weekend in San Jose. The Cardinal will play the winner of the California-Washington State contest on Saturday at 5 p.m.

*Note: The two other women's players were UC Santa Barbara's Erin Buescher in the Big West Conference in 1997-98 and Utah's Kim Smith of the Mountain West Conference in 2002-03. Old Dominion's Lucienne Berthieu was the Colonial Athletic Association's Co-Player of the Year in 1998-99, her first collegiate season. Berthieu was named Rookie of the Year, however, she was a sophomore. The five men's players to accomplish this feat were the Pac-10's Shareef Abdur-Rahim of California in 1995-96; Ohio's Gary Trent in the Mid-American Conference in 1992-93; Memphis State's Keith Lee in the Metro Conference in 1981-82; Louisiana Tech's Karl Malone in the Southland Conference in 1982-83; and Coastal Carolina College's Tony Dunkin in the Big South Conference in 1989-90. Two sophomores have been named Pac-10 Women's Basketball player of the Year: Oregon's Shaquala Williams in 1999-200 and Stanford's Nicole Powell in 2001-02.