Blue, Quinn Selected To Naismith Trophy Mid-Season List

Feb. 17, 2006

UCLA guards Nikki Blue (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Noelle Quinn (Los Angeles, Calif.) are amongst 30 players selected as mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the men's and women's players of the year.

The Top 30 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season. The list was narrowed down from the pre-season list of 50 candidates who were announced at the beginning of the season.

Pac-10 assist leader Blue was a Wade Trophy and Wooden Award pre-season selection. This season, she is averaging 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.38 assists and 2.08 steals per game. Her assist average ranks 25th nationally. Blue has climbed up the UCLA record books in many categories, ranking sixth in career points (1,716), third in assists (542) and steals (308), 14th in rebounds (588), fourth in three-point field goals made (102) and second in free throws made (448). She also ranks third on the Pac-10 career charts in steals and 18th in scoring. A three-time first-team All-Pac-10 performer, she earned honorable mention All-America honors by AP and the WBCA in 2004-05 after a season in which she averaged 16.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 3.4 steals per game.

Quinn is one of the hottest players in the country right now, averaging 23.5 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 56.1% from the field in her last eight games. She ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring (18.3), fourth in rebounding (7.6) and assists (3.96), ninth in blocked shots (0.75) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.70). Quinn is tied for the Pac-10 lead with 11 20-point games this season, and she leads the UCLA team with six double-doubles. She has earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors three times this year, including twice in the last three weeks, and has tied the Pac-10 record for most career Player of the Week honors with eight. Quinn, a pre-season Wooden Award candidate, was also honored as a first-team Academic All-District 8 selection after posting a 3.26 GPA in Sociology and is now eligible for Academic All-America honors.

UCLA is one of only six teams with two or more players on the Top 30 list. The others are LSU, Maryland, Duke, North Carolina and UConn.

Cingular Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, will again give fans an influential voice in selecting this year's winner. Fan voting, through the power and ease of text messaging, will account for 25% of the selection process once the four finalists are announced. This program sets the standard for integrating fans into the voting process and providing them with more input than with any other major collegiate sports award

'The Naismith Trophy is special not only because it represents the best player in the country, but because it also allows college basketball fans an unprecedented voice in determining the winner,' said David Garver, Executive Director of High Growth Segments and Sponsorships at Cingular Wireless. 'This is a very talented group of nominees, and Cingular is excited to once again present the award and help recognize the most outstanding players in college basketball.'

These players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March when four finalists for the Naismith Trophy are announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors.

The mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless, listed in alphabetical order, are as follows:

Seimone Augustus, LSU; Nikki Blue, UCLA; Monique Currie, Duke; Jessica Davenport, Ohio State; Jessica Dickson, South Florida; Shay Doron, Maryland; Megan Duffy, Notre Dame; Candice Dupree, Temple; Sylvia Fowles, LSU; Katie Gearlds, Purdue; Erin Grant, Texas Tech; Lindsey Harding, Duke; Charde Houston, UConn; Tasha Humphrey, Georgia; Tiffany Jackson, Texas; Tamara James, Miami; Crystal Langhorne, Maryland; Erlana Larkins, North Carolina; Ivory Latta, North Carolina; Courtney Paris, Oklahoma; Candace Parker, Tennessee; Cappie Pondexter, Rutgers; Noelle Quinn, UCLA; Liz Shimek, Michigan State; Khara Smith, DePaul; Kim Smith, Utah; Ann Strother, UConn; Barbara Turner, UConn; Candice Wiggins, Stanford; Sophia Young, Baylor.

Other student-athletes receiving votes included Marissa Coleman (Maryland), LaToya Davis (Texas Tech), Chrissy Givens (Middle Tenn.), Brooke Smith (Stanford)and Lisa Willis (UCLA).

Last year's Naismith Trophy recipient was LSU guard Seimone Augustus. Other notable women's college player of the year winners include Cheryl Miller, Rebecca Lobo, Sheryl Swoopes, Chamique Holdsclaw and Dawn Staley.

For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.

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