Stanford's Big Three Of Appel, Ogwumike, Pedersen Named Finalists For John R. Wooden Award
March 16, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's 'Big Three' of center Jayne Appel and forwards Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen were named among 22 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, the award's committee announced Tuesday.
With the three finalists, Stanford is one of only two schools, along with Connecticut, to land three names on the list.
The 34th annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winner, and the presentation of the Legends of Coaching Award to Florida's Billy Donovan, will take place on April 9, 2010.
Ogwumike, Stanford's 14th Pac-10 Player of the Year and the Pac-10 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, leads the Pac-10 with 18.3 points per game and a 63.5-percent shooting percentage and is second with 9.4 rebounds per game heading into this weekend's NCAA Tournament.
She was also named to the All-Pac-10 Team, and at the Pac-10 Tournament averaged 19.3 points and 10.0 rebounds over Stanford's three-game sweep to the crown.
Appel rebounded from offseason knee surgery to earn All-Pac-10 Team honors after averaging 13.8 points and 9.2 rebounds a game and shooting 54.3 percent in 2009-10. The Pleasant Hill, Calif. native shares the team lead with Ogwumike with 13 double-doubles, and this season has cemented her status as one of the top players in Stanford history.
Over the course of the season, Appel has broken both the Stanford and Pac-10 all-time rebounding records, and currently stands at 1,228 heading into the NCAA Tournament. Appel also became only the third player in school history to reach both the 2,000-point and 1,000-rebound career marks.
Pedersen has once again enjoyed a fine year for the Cardinal, putting up career-best numbers in 2009-10 with 16.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game as well as a 39.7-percent three-point shooting rate. All of those figures currently stand fourth in the Pac-10.
The Fountain Hills, Ariz. native made the switch to the wing for the Cardinal this year, and has excelled as her scoring and outside shooting numbers have jumped to career bests. Yet at the same time, Pedersen's rebounding numbers have also risen, showing that the strength of her all-around game has made her one of the most versatile players in the country and a serious matchup nightmare for opposing coaches. Those attributes, along with her career-best numbers, led to Pedersen earning a place on both the All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 All-Tournament Teams.
The Big Three will lead Stanford (31-1) into NCAA Tournament play and what they hope will be a third straight Final Four this Saturday night, March 20, as the Cardinal hosts No. 16 seed UC Riverside in a 7:30 p.m. first-round contest.