Blue, Quinn Selected As Wooden Award Pre-Season Candidates

Aug. 11, 2005

Los Angeles, Calif. - UCLA's Nikki Blue (Bakersfield, Calif./West HS) and Noelle Quinn (Los Angeles, Calif./Bishop Montgomery HS) were announced as two of the Top 30 pre-season candidates for the Women's Wooden Award. 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 coveted trophy. These top 30 candidates are comprised of returning players, although transfers, freshmen and other players who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for both the Midseason top 20 list and the National Ballot.

Blue was an AP and WBCA/Kodak All-American last season after leading UCLA in scoring (17.0 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg). She received first-team All-Pac-10 honors for the third consecutive year and was also named to the mid-season Naismith Award list and the pre-season Wade Trophy and Wooden Award All-America lists. In addition, she was selected to the Pac-10 All-Tournament team after a career-high 36-point performance in the quarterfinals against Arizona State. In Pac-10 play, Blue led the conference with a scoring average of 18.8 points and also posted averages of 6.7 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals. On the year, she recorded 10 20-point games, including two 30-point games, and had two double-doubles.

Quinn was in the middle of an All-American season until she suffered a knee injury on Jan. 16 that kept her out the rest of the year. Prior to her injury, she averaged a then-team-best 16.9 points and 7.1 rebounds and also had 3.25 steals. A mid-season Wooden Award and Naismith Award nominee, Quinn earned Pac-10 Player of the Week three times and had 15 double-figure scoring games, including seven 20-point games. She still earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors despite having played in less than half of the conference games. Quinn has recovered from her injury and averaged 20.5 points in four games on UCLA's summer tour of Australia in June.

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 Michael Jordan ('84), Larry Bird ('79), Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipient, Seimone Augustus ('05).

In mid-January, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 List, followed in March by the official voting 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 2006 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 8, 2006, and will be broadcast live on a national CBS telecast. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.

For the complete list of candidates, visit the Wooden Awards webpage.

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