Fowles named to Wooden Watch List

Sylvia Fowles, a senior center on the LSU women's basketball team, was named one of the 30 preseason candidates for the 2007-08 Women's John R. Wooden Award, it was announced by John R., Wooden Award committee on Wednesday.

The Award is named for the three-time college basketball All American, 1932 Player of the Year and ten-time national championship coach at UCLA.

Fowles was one of the five finalists for the award and a John R. Wooden All-American last season after posting 16.9 points and 12.6 rebounds in 38 games for the Lady Tigers.

The list is composed of 30 female student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most coveted trophy. These top 30 candidates are comprised of returning players. Transfers, freshmen, and medical redshirts are not eligible for this preseason list. They will be evaluated and considered for both the Midseason Top 20 list and the National Ballot.

"The Committee had an incredibly difficult task in narrowing down the nation's top 30 women's players, because over 50 players received at least one vote for the preseason list," said Wooden Award Chairman, Duke Llewellyn. "Our entire team at the Wooden Award is excited to see the best players in the nation vie for basketball's Player of the Year Award."

Candidates have been selected from nine NCAA conferences. Conferences include the ACC (five players), the Big 12 (two players), the Pac-10 (three players), the Big East (eight players), the SEC (five players), the Big Ten (three players), the Atlantic 10 (two players), Big Sky (one player) and the Sun Belt Conference (one player).

In mid-January, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 list, followed by the official voting ballot in March consisting of approximately 15 players. In order to be considered for the National Ballot each player must be certified by their university as meeting the Award's criteria, including making progress toward graduation, and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Over 200 voters, comprised of sports media members and women's college basketball experts from across the nation, will cast their votes for the five-member All-American team and Wooden Award honor as the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player in the nation.

The award, created in 1976, is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97).

LSU's Seimone Augustus is a two-time winner of the award, having received the honor in 2005 and 2006.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship funds in the names of the All-American recipients, and has sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award's name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympians and the All-American team members, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club during the Wooden Award Weekend.

The 2008 Wooden Award Weekend, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award to Pat Summitt from the University of Tennessee, will take place April 11-April 12, 2008. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Award celebration and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.

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