Deirdre Naughton Named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30
LOS ANGELES - Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, John R. Wooden Award Chairman and founder, announced the 2009-10 preseason candidates for the Women's Wooden Award today. The list is comprised of 31 student athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
The list contains 31 players, not the traditional 30, because the playing status of North Carolina's Jessica Breland is uncertain due to a possible medical redshirt year. Transfers, freshmen and 2009 medical redshirts are not eligible for the preseason list. These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for December's midseason list and the official ballot released in March.
The breadth of talent across the country is shown by the record number of NCAA Division I conferences (12) highlighted on the list. The Big 10 conference has five candidates, followed by the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-10 with four apiece, the SEC (3), West Coast (2), America East (1), Atlantic 10 (1), CAA (1), Mountain West (1) and Sun Belt (1).
2009 John R. Wooden Award winner Maya Moore returns for her junior season with the Huskies. She led Connecticut to an undefeated season and the NCAA title in 2009, averaging 21.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.3 blocks. The 6-0 forward was the Big East Player of the Year and an Academic All-American. She recorded 20-plus points 15 times and registered 16 double-doubles as a sophomore. In addition, six more 2009 National Ballot honorees were named as 2009-10 preseason candidates, including Jayne Appel (Stanford), Alysha Clark (Middle Tennessee), Jantel Lavender (Ohio State), Ta'Shia Phillips (Xavier), Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State), and Monica Wright (Virginia).
Connecticut (Moore, Tina Charles), Ohio State (Lavender, Samantha Prahalis), Stanford (Appel, Jeanette Pohlen) and Gonzaga (Heather Bowman, Courtney Vandersloot) are the only schools with two preseason candidates. Prahalis was the only sophomore chosen; the rest of the nominees are juniors or seniors.
DePaul senior guard Deirdre Naughton made her debut on the preseason list after being named to the preseason Wade Watch list last month. Naughton enters her senior campaign with 1,399 career points, while she has registered double figures in 76 of her 91 career games (83.5 percent). The second-team all BIG EAST Conference performer Naughton averaged 4.4 assists per game and had a team-best 54 3-pointers as a junior.
In late December, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of approximately 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Women's Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round during the NCAA Tournament.
The 34th annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, and the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, will take place the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.
About the John R. Wooden Award