Four On Naismith Trophy Women's Watch List

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.— STANFORD and USC each placed two preseason candidates on the 2011-12 Naismith Women's early-season watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday. The watch list includes the top wom-en's college basketball players from 35 schools around the country and was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors. The criteria for being selected is based on player performances from the previous year and expecta-tions for the 2012 college basketball season. The 2012 Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the NCAA Women's Final Four in Denver.

The Cardinal and Trojans are two of eight teams with two players on the list. Sisters Chiney Ogwumike and Nnemkadi Ogwumike represented Stanford, while Jacki Gemelos and Briana Gilbreath were selected from USC. An All-American senior forward, Nnemkadi Ogwumike is one of 15 players returning from last year's early watch list.

The Ogwumikes and Gilbreath were all-conference picks last year and were voted to the media's preseason All-Pac-12 team prior to the start of the 2011-12 season. Chiney Ogwumike was the Conference's Freshman of the Year last year and Gemelos was an honorable mention all-league selection last year.

Stanford is ranked fifth in the nation and is 4-1 on the season so far. The Cardinal is the 11-time defending Pac-12 regular-season champion and has made four-consecutive trips to the NCAA Final Four. USC posted its first 20-win season last year since the 2004-05 campaign and advanced to the championship game of the WNIT. The Trojans are 2-3 heading into this week's game at Gonzaga.

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.

For more information on the award, visit www.naismithawards.com.

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