Jackson a preseason Wade Trophy National Player of the Year Award candidate
ATLANTA -- A national awards committee consisting of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball administrators announced its 25-player preseason list for The State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year on Wednesday, and for the second year in a row, University of Texas All-American forward Tiffany Jackson is among the preseason candidates.
The candidates were selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability. The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 28th year and named after the late, legendary three-time national champion Delta State University coach, Lily Margaret Wade, debuted in 1978 as the first-ever women's national player of the year award in college basketball. This most prestigious award, regarded as the "Heisman of Women's Basketball", is organized by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), in conjunction with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS).
The 2006 State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be announced during the WBCA National Convention held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in Boston, Mass., from March 31-April 4, 2006.
This is the second preseason National Player of the Year candidate honor for Jackson. Earlier in August, she was selected as a preseason favorite for the Naismith National Player of the Year Award - again, for the second consecutive year.
Jackson, who led 22-9 Texas to the 2005 NCAA Tournament second round, finished last year as the Longhorns' top scorer (18.3 ppg), rebounder (8.7), shot blocker (60, 1.94 bpg) and steals leader (103, 3.32). She also had the best field goal shooting percentage among all starters (.560, 224-400) and was third in UT assists with 55 (1.8 apg). Jackson finished the year with 10 double-doubles (double-figure scoring and rebounding), with five of them in the last 10 games. In Texas' two NCAA Tournament games, Jackson collected 43 points (21.5 ppg), 19 rebounds (9.5 rpg), three blocks and nine steals while shooting 14-for-27 (.519) from the floor. She had a game-high 30 points and added 10 boards and four steals in UT's final game, as the No. 3 seeded Longhorns were upended by No. 6 seed Georgia, 70-68, March 21 at Reunion Arena in Dallas.
"The 2005-2006 State Farm Wade Trophy preseason list is an example of the top-notch athletes that contribute to making each collegiate basketball game an exciting new experience," said Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto, Chair of the State Farm Wade Trophy Committee and Athletic Director at DePaul University. "These 25 student-athletes represent the most outstanding players on and off the court and we look forward to another outstanding year of women's basketball."
This year's preseason candidate list has a number of participants returning to the renowned "Wade Watch". Out of the 25 student-athletes, 11 were seen last year on The State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason list including Jackson; Seimone Augustus (LSU); Nikki Blue (UCLA); Monique Currie (Duke); Ivory Latta (North Carolina); Shawntinice Polk (Arizona); Cappie Pondexter (Rutgers); Khara Smith (DePaul University); Kim Smith (Utah); Ann Strother (Connecticut); and Sophia Young (Baylor).
The 25 student-athletes represent nine (9) Division I Conferences as the Atlantic Coast Conference led the way with seven (7). The Southeastern Conference came in a close second having four (4). The Pacific-10, Big East, and Big 12 followed with three (3) each, followed by the Big Ten with two (2). The Atlantic 10, Conference USA, and Mountain West each have one (1) player represented, respectively.
Last year's The State Farm Wade Trophy recipient was LSU's Seimone Augustus. The first recipient of the Wade Trophy was Carol Blazejowski of Montclair State in 1978. Other Wade Trophy/NCAA Division I Player of the Year recipients include many WNBA standouts such as Teresa Weatherspoon (1988), Jennifer Azzi (1990), Ticha Penicheiro (1998), Sue Bird (2002), Diana Taurasi (2003) and Cheryl Miller (1985) and two-time winner Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1980).
The pre-season candidates for The State Farm Wade Trophy, listed in alphabetical order, are as follows: