Leger-Walker Named to Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award Watch Lists
LOS ANGELES – Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker has once again made history for the Washington State women's basketball program, as the guard from New Zealand becomes the first player in program history to be named to both John. R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy watch lists.
It's the second and third watch lists that Leger-Walker has been added to in the preseason. She was also selected to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list, which goes to the top shooting guard in the nation. The guard from New Zealand was also named Preseason All-Pac-12 by both the coaches and media.
The Wooden Award, presented by Wendy's, announced the Women's Preseason Top 50 Watch List on ESPN.com earlier Tuesday, Nov. 9. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the most prestigious honors in college basketball, the Wooden Award All American Team and Most Outstanding Player Award.
The Naismith Trophy, presented by Jersey Mike's, has been given to the top women's college basketball player in the nation since 1983. Each year the club's board publishes the "Naismith Watch" list that is made up of the top 50 players to watch in men's and women's college basketball. The organization also releases a list of 30 mid-season Naismith candidates. At the end of the season the Naismith Trophy is awarded to the player of the year in men's and women's college basketball. A national voting academy of leading basketball coaches, administrators and journalists narrows the group down to four finalists based on player performance throughout the season. The final four Naismith finalists will make up the ballot and the player of the year is voted on by the group.
Last season, the New Zealand native took the Pac-12 by storm, as she was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week a program-record seven times. Leger-Walker is the Pac-12's top returning scorer after averaging a WSU freshman record 18.8 points per game a season ago. The guard scored 20-or-more points in 12 of 24 games played last season, while she also led the Cougars in steals per game at 2.5. Leger-Walker became the 22nd player in Pac-12 history to be selected to both the All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Freshman team honors and she was named to the USBWA All-American Honorable Mention squad.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Women's Player of the Year presented by Wendy's. Players 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 that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players 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 2022 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy's following the NCAA Tournament in April.
Washington State kicks off the 2021-22 season this evening, Nov. 9, as the Cougars host San Jose State. Tip-off from Beasley Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. PT. Fans are encouraged to come to the game early, as there will be a pregame recognition to honor last season's NCAA Tournament team.
For more information on the Washington State women's basketball team, follow @WSUCougarsWBB on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.