Five From Pac-10 Named Naismith Women's Preseason Candidates
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today its list of top women's basketball preseason candidates for the Naismith Award. Among the list of 50 were five players from the Pac-10, including three from STANFORD, and one each from ARIZONA and UCLA.
The Cardinal's three selections are tied for the most with North Carolina and Tennessee. Leading the charge for Stanford, who enters the season ranked third in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, are JR F Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas), SR F Kayla Pedersen (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) and SR G Jeanette Pohlen (Brea, Calif.). All three were All-Pac-10 picks last season, with Ogwumike winning 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year honors and earning All-American nods. The trio look to lead the Cardinal to a fourth-straight trip to the NCAA Final Four.
The Wildcats leader is SR F Ify Ibekwe (Carson, Calif.) who has been the only player in the Pac-10 to average a double-double the last two seasons, leading the Conference in rebounding the last two years, as well. Ibekwe is a two-time All-Pac-10 honoree, earning the honor last year after averaging 14.0 ppg and 11.4 rpg.
JR F Jasmine Dixon (Long Beach, Calif.) made an immediate impact on the Bruins squad after becoming eligible to play last December, due to NCAA transfer rules. She led the team in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg), helping UCLA to a second-place finish in the Pac-10 standings, the team's highest since 1999. UCLA enters the 2010-11 campaign ranked 16th and 15th in the nation by the AP and coaches, respectively.
All five preseason candidates were also voted to the Preseason All-Pac-10 team, which was selected by the media covering the Conference and announced earlier today.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2010-11 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T* will be awarded on April 4, 2011 at the NCAA Women's Final Four in Indianapolis.
Since 2005, presenting sponsor AT&T has set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining the trophy winner. Through the power and ease of text messaging** fan voting will account for 25 percent of all of the final results - more than any other national college basketball award.
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.