COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland women’s basketball sophomore Alyssa Thomas is one of 15 women’s finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club Wednesday. The National Ballot, consisting of these top players, will be mailed to Wooden Award voters this week, and voting begins March 12th. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the ballot is made up of 15 student-athletes who are the final contenders for women’s college basketball’s most prestigious honor.
All players have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA, an important component of the Award insisted upon by Coach Wooden. The Wooden Award All American Teams will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. Voters have until Monday, March 19 at Noon PDT to return their ballots, allowing them to take into consideration performance during the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which makes the Wooden Award unique among college postseason awards.
The other 14 named to the list are: Elena Delle Donne, Delaware; Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame; Brittney Griner, Baylor; Tiffany Hayes, Connecticut; Shenise Johnson, Miami; A’dia Mathies, Kentucky; Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford; Nnemkadi Oguwumike, Stanford; Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State; Odyssey Sims, Baylor; Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee; Elizabeth Williams, Duke; Riquna Williams, Miami’ Julie Wojta, Green Bay.
Upperclassmen dominate the list, but this year one freshman, Duke’s Elizabeth Williams, and three sophomores were selected: Thomas, Chiney Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims.
Thomas became just the second sophomore ever to be named ACC Player of the Year last week. Over the weekend, she led the Terrapins to the program’s 10th ACC title with a career-high 29 points in the championship game. She was named Tournament MVP. She is just the seventh player, and only underclassman, ever to be named ACC Player of the Year and Tournament MVP in the same season.
The 36th annual Wooden Award Gala, will take place on Friday, April 6, 2012, and will honor winners, All Americans, and the Legends of Coaching honoree Geno Auriemma of Connecticut. The Women’s John R. Wooden Award winner will be announced at the Gala event. The Terrapins will host the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds next weekend. Games are 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on March 17 and 7 p.m. on March 19.