Nine from Pac-12 appear on Wooden women’s preseason top 30
SAN FRANCISCO - A nation’s-best nine Pac-12 women’s basketball student-athletes were named to the Women’s Preseason Top 30 Watch List, the John R. Wooden Award® presented by Wendy’s® announced today. The list is comprised of 30 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.
Five schools in the country had multiple candidates, including OREGON, OREGON STATE and STANFORD. 2019 John R. Wooden Award winner Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu headlines the list of 30. The Ducks have three candidates, tying for the most in the country.
Ionescu is joined by teammates senior Ruthy Hebard and junior Satou Sabally. The trio were on last year’s squad that advanced to the program’s first-ever NCAA Women’s Final Four. OSU is represented by senior Mikayla Pivec and redshirt junior Destiny Slocum, both of whom led the Beavs to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the sixth-straight year last season. The Cardinal have senior DiJonai Carrington and junior Kiana Williams listed as candidates. The duo were key in Stanford’s run to the NCAA Elite Eight last year, while helping the Cardinal post its second 30-win campaign in three years.
In addition, ARIZONA’s Aari McDonald, the nation’s top-returning scoring leader, and UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere were also named to the top-30 watch list. McDonald and the Wildcats won the WNIT last season as Arizona made the biggest turnaround of any team in the country, going from six wins in 2017-18 to 24 in 2018-19. The team’s leading scorer last year, Onyenwere led the Bruins to a fourth-straight NCAA Sweet 16.
The list is chosen by a polling of national women’s college basketball media members. The student-athletes on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2020 John R. Wooden Award Women’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Those not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award™ midseason list, late season list and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award.
Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 student-athletes when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early-round games. The Wooden Award All-American Team™ will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2020 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s during the ESPN College Basketball Awards on Friday, April 10, 2020.
The 2019-20 campaign tips off today. Five Pac-12 teams were ranked in the preseason, including Oregon, which received its first-ever No. 1 ranking. Stanford was ranked No. 3 in the preseason Associated Press poll, followed by No. 7 OSU, No. 11 UCLA and No. 20 ARIZONA STATE.
More than 100 Pac-12 women’s basketball games will be televised this season on Pac-12 Networks and ESPN Network, including all 108 league matchups. The season culminates at the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev., March 5-8, 2020. Visit pac-12.com for a full schedule. For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, visit woodenaward.com.