Gottlieb, Ogwumike named Naismith finalists
By the Pac-12 Conference
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced its finalists for its two prestigious national awards. CALIFORNIA's Lindsay Gottlieb is on the short list for the Naismith Women's College Coach of the Year award, while STANFORD's Chiney Ogwumike is a finalist for the Naismith Women's National Player of the Year award. Both honors will be announced during the NCAA Women's Final Four in New Orleans, April 7 and 9.
Second-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb joins Baylor's Kim Mulkey, Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw and Dayton's Jim Jabir on the list of finalists for the top coaches honor. Gottlieb was voted the Pac-12 Coach of the Year by the league's media members after leading the Golden Bears to a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title, the program's first ever. Cal goes into the NCAA Tournament with a 28-3 overall record and went 17-1 in league play, both bests in the 39 years of the program. California earned the No. 2 seed in the Spokane Regional, also a program best. The Bears begin tournament play on Saturday against Fresno State in Lubbock, Texas. Tip off is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. PT.
The four finalists were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's National Voting Academy, which based its criteria on the coaches' performances to this point in the 2013 women's college basketball season.
Chiney Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas) is having an outstanding season, leading the Cardinal to a share of the regular-season Pac-12 title and a Pac-12 Tournament crown. She was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year by both the league's coaches and media. She is averaging league highs of 22.4 points and 13.1 rebounds per game, which also rank sixth and fourth, respectively, in the country. Her 26 double-doubles are tied for the most in the NCAA. Ogwumike, who was named a league-record Pac-12 Player of the Week six times this season, is shooting 57.4 percent from the field, which ranks in the top-five in the country. The No. 1 seed in the Spokane Regional, Stanford begins its quest for a sixth-straight NCAA Final Four appearance this weekend when it hosts Tulsa on Sunday at 2:20 p.m. PT.
Ogwumike is joined by Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Baylor's Brittney Griner. Notable past Naismith Women's College Player of the Year winners include Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo and Maya Moore. The Naismith women's Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women's college basketball player of the year.
For the ninth consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice and help determine the 2013 Naismith Trophy winner. Beginning March 25 through April 6 fans can cast their vote by calling **VOTE (**8683).* Naismith Women's College Player of the Year Trophy presenting sponsor AT&T is making the voting open to customers of other wireless carriers, enabling even more fans to participate.
All games of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament will be televised on ESPN2. Game can also be viewed on espn3.com. For more information on the Naismith Award, visit www.naismithaward.com.