Candice Wiggins Honored As USA Basketball's 2007 Female Athlete Of The Year
Jan. 3, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford guard and three-time All-American Candice Wiggins, who was part of four separate USA Basketball teams in 2007 and helped those teams to three gold medals and a flawless 23-0 record, has been named USA Basketball's 2007 Female Athlete of the Year, USA Basketball announced today. Wiggins also becomes the first Stanford women's basketball player to ever earn the honor.
The 5'11' Wiggins was selected for four USA Basketball teams in 2007. On Sept. 7, 2007, she became one of just four current collegians named to the elite 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team. She was also selected as the lone alternate for the 2007 USA FIBA Americas Championship Team and traveled and trained with the team that finished 5-0 to win gold and qualify the U.S. for the 2008 Olympics in Chile, and participated in the USA Senior National Team's two exhibition games versus Australia in early September 2007. She started her rewarding summer as a member of the 2007 USA Women's U21World Championship Team that finished 8-0 and earned the gold medal in Moscow, Russia, and she was also a member of the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team that finished 5-0 and won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
All told, Wiggins spent more than two months training with or competing for USA teams in 2007 and those teams compiled a spectacular 23-0 record.In capturing the 2007 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year honor, Wiggins becomes eligible for the 2007 U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Female Athlete of the Year Award, which will be announced by the USOC on Jan. 8, 2007.
'Having the privilege of representing the United States and the opportunity to play with such a talented group of women is something for which I am very proud,' Wiggins said. 'It is truly humbling not only to be chosen by USA Basketball for this award, but also to have the honor of joining the long and distinguished line of basketball players who have earned this recognition.'
'The USA Basketball Executive Committee certainly chose this year's most deserving female athlete to receive this prestigious award,' said USA Basketball Executive Director Jim Tooley. 'Candice not only proved her dedication to the sport and to USA Basketball, but she helped the USA to impressive gold medals at both the U21 World Championship and Pan American Games. On top of that, she returned to compete for a roster spot on the 2007 USA Basketball FIBA Americas Championship Team. USA Basketball is fortunate to have such a dedicated and gifted athlete involved in our women's program and we celebrate her contributions and work ethic.'
'Candice Wiggins epitomizes what we would like from players that represent our country,' said three-time Olympian and 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's National Team head coach Anne Donovan. `Her involvement and the sacrifice of her time over the last year are truly unparalleled. She was a fantastic, positive addition to our training roster for the USA National Team in September. As an alternate to the team that competed in Chile, Candice proved to many why she is a top player in this country. Candice's skill, commitment and attitude make her one of our premier young players internationally.'
'Candice is an athlete that was born to play and represent the United States in the Olympics,' said Dawn Staley, 2007 USA Pan American Games Team head coach and Women's National Team assistant coach, who herself is a three-time Olympian. 'She has paid her dues, sacrificed a summer and a fall, and if you make these sacrifices in our game, good things happen to you. I wouldn't want to leave the United States without her.'
Wiggins started her golden summer by competing with 45 players during three days of trials in May in Colorado Springs, Colo. Earning a finalist nod for both the USA's U21 World Championship and Pan American Games teams, she later was selected for a roster spot on both squads.
At the FIBA U21 World Championship, held June 29-July 8, she started in seven of the team's eight games and averaged a team second best of 13.1 ppg., 2.4 rpg., 1.0 apg., 1.3 spg., while shooting a team leading 42.1 percent (16-38) from 3-point and a team best 91.7 percent from the foul line. She scored a team high 30 points in the USA's 90-88 win over Australia in preliminary play, and scored 27 points in the team's 86-61 semifinals win over Russia. She also aided the USA squad to three exhibition game victories versus France.
Wiggins' 105 points in the FIBA U21 World Championship were the second most ever scored by a USA player, while her 3-point field goal shooting of 42.1 percent and her 91.7 free throw percentage were the highest by a USA player in a FIBA U21 World Championship. Her 30 point performance versus Australia were the most points scored by a USA player in a FIBA U21 World Championship game and her 27 point showing versus Russia is the second highest. Additionally, her four made 3-point field goals versus Australia and Russia tied the USA single game record for most made 3-pointers.
At the July 20-24 Pan American Games, she started in all five games for Staley's squad and averaged 6.0 ppg., 1.2 rpg., and tied for the team lead in assists averaging 2.0 apg. In the USA's opening game at the Pan Ams, a 95-41 win over Colombia, she accounted for 10 points and three assists.
Training with the USA Senior National Team, in the team's two exhibition games versus Australia in September, she averaged 10.0 ppg., 1.0 rpg., 1.5 apg., while shooting a sizzling 70.0 percent from the field, 60.0 percent from 3-point and 75.0 percent from the foul line. She recorded 18 points in the USA's 96-64 victory over Australia on Sept. 16 in Trenton, N.J.
Thirteen games (as of Jan. 3) into her senior campaign at Stanford, Wiggins has led the Cardinal to a 12-1 record and No. 2 national ranking, while averaging team highs of 17.5 ppg., 2.9 apg. and 2.3 spg., while grabbing 4.3 rpg.
As a junior in 2006-07 at Stanford University she averaged a team best 16.9 ppg., while adding 4.1 apg., 3.3 apg.,and 1.5 spg. She helped lead Stanford to a 29-5 record, Pac-10 regular season and tournament crowns and the NCAA Tournament second round. She was listed on the 2007 Associated Press All-America second team; was a finalist for the 2007 Wade Trophy and Wooden Award; was named to the 2007 Kodak/WBCA and USBWA All-America teams and All-Pacific-10 Conference first team and MVP of the Pac 10 Tournament.
Wiggins finished the 2006-07 season ranked fifth among all NCAA Division I leaders for scoring average (21.8 ppg.) and 3-point field goal percentage (44.1) and was sixth for 3-pointers made per game (2.8). She ranked tied for third in single-game 3-point field goals made (eight vs. Southern California on March 4, 2007) and had the ninth-best 3-point field goal percentage game with 88.9 (8-9 3pt FGs) in the same game.Wiggins returned in 2007 to USA Basketball for the third time in four summers. Wiggins also helped USA teams earn gold medals at the 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship in Tunisia; the 2005 International Sports Invitational in San Diego, Calif.; the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Puerto Rico; and in 2003 her USA West Team finished 2-3 and collected the bronze medal at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.
In its 28th year, the USA Basketball Athlete of the Year has been earned by notable athletes such as Diana Taurasi (2006); Crystal Langhorne (2005); Dawn Staley (2004, 1994), Seimone Augustus (2003); Lisa Leslie (2002, 1993); Ayana Walker (2001); Teresa Edwards (2000, 1996, 1990, 1987); Natalie Williams (1999); Lisa Leslie (1998); Chamique Holdsclaw (1997); Sylvia Crawley (1995); Katrina McClain (1992, 1988); Ruthie Bolton (1991); Venus Lacey (1989); Jennifer Gillom (1985); Cheryl Miller (1986, 1984); Lynette Woodard (1983); Cindy Noble (1982 co-recipient); LaTaunya Pollard (1982 co-recipient); Denise Curry (1981); and Carol Blazejowski (1980).