Smith Named Preseason Candidate For Wade Trophy

ATLANTA, Ga. - A national awards committee consisting of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball administrators announced its preseason list for The State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year today. The list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are members of an NCAA Division I institution and are selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.

"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 Jean 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."

Out of the 25 student-athletes selected for the preseason "Wade Watch," twenty-two schools were represented with Louisiana State University (Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles), University of Maryland (Shay Doron and Crystal Langhorne), and the University of North Carolina (Erlana Larkins and Ivory Latta) each having two players selected.

The 25 student-athletes represented 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.

This year's preseason candidate list has a remarkable number of participants returning to the renowned "Wade Watch". Out of the 25 student-athletes, eleven were seen last year on The State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason list for Division I including Seimone Augustus, Nikki Blue, Monique Currie, Tiffany Jackson, Ivory Latta, Shawntinice Polk, Cappie Pondexter, Khara Smith, Kim Smith, Ann Strother, and Sophia Young.

Khara Smith enters her senior season ranked in the top 12 in DePaul's career record book in 11 of 17 categories. She led the Blue Demons to their second straight second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament with 18.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and a .601 field goal percentage as a junior. In 97 career games, she has posted 54 double-doubles and 83 games in double-figures.

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).

Last year's The State Farm Wade Trophy recipient was Seimone Augustus (Louisiana State University). 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), in addition to, two-time winner Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1980).

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., March 31-April 4, 2006.

2005-2006 The State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Preseason List (alphabetical listing)

Name Year Pos. Institution

1. Seimone Augustus Senior G LSU
2. Nikki Blue Senior G UCLA
3. Monique Currie Senior G/F Duke
4. Jessica Davenport Junior C Ohio State
5. Shay Doron Junior G Maryland
6. Megan Duffy Senior G Notre Dame
7. Candice Dupree Senior F/C Temple
8. Sylvia Fowles Sophomore C LSU
9. Erin Grant Senior G Texas Tech
10.Tasha Humphrey Sophomore F Georgia
11.Tiffany Jackson Junior F Texas
12.Tamara James Senior G/F Miami
13.Crystal Langhorne Sophomore C/F Maryland
14.Erlana Larkins Sophomore F North Carolina
15.Ivory Latta Junior G North Carolina
16.Shawtinice Polk Senior C Arizona
17.Cappie Pondexter Senior G Rutgers
18.Liz Shimek Senior F Michigan State
19.Khara Smith Senior F DePaul
20.Kim Smith Senior F Utah
21.Tiffany Stansbury Senior F North Carolina State
22.Ann Strother Senior G/F Connecticut
23.Candice Wiggins Sophomore G Stanford
24.Sophia Young Senior F Baylor
25.Shanna Zolman Senior G Tennessee

Founded in 1981, the WBCA promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as an amateur sport for women and girls. For additional information about the WBCA, please visit WBCA.org.

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