Quartet of Upperclassmen Vie for 2012 Naismith Women's College Player of the Year Honors
Juniors Griner, Delle Donne and Diggins and Senior Ogwumike Face Off for Accolade
ATLANTA (March 15, 2012) – Experience has proven to be the best teacher, as four upperclassmen have been schooling the competition to become named finalists for the 2012 Naismith Trophy for Women’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Senior Nneka Ogwumike (Stanford), along with juniors Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame) and Brittney Griner (Baylor), will compete for the right to call themselves the best player in women’s college basketball.
The finalists were voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The academy based its criteria on player performances this season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States. The winner will be announced at the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) awards banquet on April 2 in Denver.
“These four finalists have shown that experience can be just as valuable a skill as passing or shooting,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “All of the finalists have enjoyed remarkable individual and team success and we wish them the best of luck the rest of the season.”
Beginning March 19, AT&T wireless customers – and sports fans on other wireless networks – will be able to text their votes for the player of their choice by texting VOTE to 34763. Fans will be eligible to cast their vote for the winner until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 31, 2012. For the eighth consecutive year, AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless carriers, enabling even more fans to participate. Other wireless carriers must opt-in for their subscribers to participate. Standard messaging rates apply.
“On behalf of AT&T, I want to congratulate these talented four women finalists, said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “They have proved that hard work and diligence lead to success. Although they are all qualified to be the Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, we encourage fans to vote for who they believe is the best of the best.”
ABOUT THE FINALISTS
Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Senior Forward:
Leading the Pac-12 in scoring, Ogwumike is also second in rebounding and free-throw percentage in the conference. She led the Cardinal to its third consecutive perfect season in conference play and a 30-1 overall record. The Cypress, Texas native has averaged 21.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game while shooting 54.1 percent from the field this season. Named the Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second time in her college career, Ogwumike helped the Cardinal win their 12th straight regular season Pac-12 title and extend their nation-best 79 game home winning streak and score a No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
Skylar Diggins, Junior Forward
The Big East Player of the Year helped the Irish to their first outright regular season conference title, leading No. 3 ranked Notre Dame to a 28-2 regular season record. Diggins, the 2009 Naismith High School Girl’s Player of the year, also was named the Big East preseason player of the year, averaged 17.4 points and 5.8 assists per game in the regular season and was the only Big East player ranked in the top five in points, assists and steals. She led the Irish to the Big East conference tournament finals before falling to Connecticut and gained a No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
Elena Delle Donne, Junior Guard/Forward
The nation’s leading scorer, Delle Donne is averaging nearly 30 points per game while leading the Delaware Blue Hens to 27-1 record for the Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship. A 42-point performance in a win against Hofstra in February, Delle Donne eclipsed the 2,000 point mark for her career. She claimed the 2008 Naismith High School Girl’s Player of the year as well. With a 59-43 win over Drexel in the CAA conference tournament, The Blue Hens secured an automatic berth to the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Brittney Griner, Junior Center:
Griner is sixth in the nation in scoring with 23.8 points per game and the junior center leads the country in blocked shots with 5.2 and is No. 2 in field goal percentage at 60.7 percent for top-ranked Baylor, which is a perfect 31-0 so far. She has recorded 14 double-doubles over 28 games and was one block shy of a triple-double against No. 2 ranked UConn. She led Baylor to a Big 12 regular season championship, a Big 12 tournament championship – where they beat opponents by an average of 23 points – and a No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament.
Other notable Naismith Trophy past winners include Cheryl Miller (USC), Candace Parker (Tennessee), Dawn Staley (Virginia) and last year’s winner, Maya Moore from UConn.
For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA’s Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.
The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.