Jenna Smith is one of 25 players on the prestigious Wade Watch List for the upcoming season.
July 30, 2009
ATLANTA - The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), on behalf of the Wade Coalition, announced Thursday the 2009-2010 preseason "Wade Watch" list for The State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year. University of Illinois senior Jenna Smith is one of 25 named to the list, which is made up of top NCAA Division I student-athletes who best embody the spirit of Lily Margaret Wade according to the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.
"I am excited to announce the 25 student-athletes who make up the 2009-2010 State Farm Wade Trophy `Watch' list," said Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto, Chair of the State Farm Wade Trophy Committee and Athletic Director at DePaul University. "The committee has done a superb job yet again at selecting the best and brightest in the women's game. This group represents 20 institutions and 10 conferences and if it is any indicator of what's to come this season, I think we all have a lot to look forward to."
Smith enters her senior season already one of the most decorated players in Fighting Illini history. Her totals of 1,545 points and 830 rebounds not only make her the Big Ten's active leader and rank in the top-five on the UI career charts in both categories, but also put her on pace to break school records in both categories in 2009-10. She is already the school's career blocks leader with 161 and has proven to be one of the most consistent and durable players in the nation throughout her career. Previously an honorable mention All-American and two-time first team All-Big Ten selection, Smith averaged 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season while averaging 38.7 minutes per game, the fourth-most in the nation.
This year's "Wade Watch" list has 20 institutions and 10 conferences represented. Connecticut and Stanford each have three student-athletes on the list - Tina Charles, Tiffany Hayes and Maya Moore from the Huskies - and - Jayne Appel, Kayla Pederson and Jeannette Pohlen from the Cardinal. Ohio State added two (Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis) to the list.
The ACC, BIG EAST, Big Ten and Pac-10 each have four student-athletes on the list, followed by the Big 12 (3), SEC (2), Atlantic-10 (1), Mountain West (1), Sun Belt (1) and West Coast (1).
Moore won last year's Wade Trophy and is looking to repeat this season. The only two-time winners of the Wade Trophy include Louisiana State's Seimone Augustus (2005 and 2006) and Old Dominion's Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1980).
The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 33rd 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 highly prestigious award, regarded as the "Heisman of Women's Basketball," is organized by the WBCA, in conjunction with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS).
The 2010 State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be announced at the WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four, in San Antonio, Texas, April 2-6.
For the complete "Wade Watch" list, visit www.wbca.org