2012 Bootleg Honor Roll: Stanford Women

It's time to take a break from the building wave of football coverage to recognize the achievements of other Stanford athletes. Here is Daniel Novinson's Bootleg Honor Roll.

In a previous article, we revealed our thirty Honor Roll finalists for this last school year of 2011-2012. The criteria for selecting each year's 10 Honor Roll awardees are as follow:

"Each academic year, The Bootleg's Honor Roll will recognize the top ten Stanford student- athletes who have performed at an exceptional level, with athletic accomplishments that are both extraordinary and inspirational. While achieving athletic success, these athletes should also have displayed uncommon leadership, sportsmanship and respect towards their fellow teammates and opponents. Finally, these honorees' performances and actions should also demonstrate their love for their particular sport as well as their school pride, the famed "Spirit of Stanford."

We now announce our five female winners.

• Nnemkadi Ogwumike, basketball

Nneka averaged a double-double in her senior year at Stanford with 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. With the senior Ogwumike the team's unquestioned leader, Stanford went 35-2, won its 12th straight Pac-12 title and made its fifth straight Final Four. Ogwumike was the consensus No. 2 player in the country to Britney Griner, and fans voted her Stanford's female athlete of the year for the second straight season. The No. 1 overall pick of the WNBA Draft (L.A. Sparks), Nneka leaves the Farm on the strength of an 809-point season. That's a school record which becomes all the more impressive when you think about the names Nneka displaced in one of women's college basketball's most storied programs.

• Nicole Gibbs, tennis

What's better than one national title? Well, of course, two. Though Gibbs couldn't lead the women's tennis program, a former dynasty that has taken a step back in recent years, to a team title, you can't exactly blame the rising senior. She became the third-ever player to win the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments in the same season, becoming Stanford's first singles champion since 2004. (Honorable mention goes to Mallory Burdette, Gibbs' doubles teammate and, after losing to Gibbs in the first all-Stanford final in 11 years, singles national runner-up.) Gibbs went 21-2 in duals single matches, and 18-2 in doubles, and looks primed for a similarly dominant senior year.

• Kiley Neushul, water polo

No Annika Dries? No Melissa Seidemann? No Maggie Steffens? No problem. Stanford water polo's biggest names were busy training with the U.S. national team this past season, en route to bringing home the gold in a spirited London tournament. Only problem was that John Tanner and the Cardinal had a national title to defend, but Neushul, a true freshman, ensured that wooden plaque would stay in Palo Alto with relatively little drama. On the strength of her team-best 58 goals, the Cardinal went 26-2 overall and 7-0 in league play. She shone when the spotlight was brightest too, scoring a decisive hat trick in the Cardinal's 6-4 national title win over %%MATCH_2%%. For her efforts, Neushul was the coaches' association's national player of the year, and won the Peter J. Cutino Award, the sport's Heisman.

• and 5. Teresa Noyola and Lindsay Taylor, soccer

How can you mention one of these 2012 graduates without the other? What's undisputed is that Stanford won its first-ever national title (and made three straight NCAA Finals) on the strength of its two stars, both products of the Peninsula. What's unanswerable is who deserves more of the credit. 

The Women's Pro Soccer league couldn't distinguish between the two, taking Taylor No. 6 and Noyola No. 7 in its 2012 draft (though the league has since folded). Neither could awards committees, as Noyola won the Hermann Award, the sport's Heisman, while Taylor was Soccer America's Player of the Year. Taylor was the Athletic Department's Conference Female Athlete of the Year, while Noyola was the Department's Most Outstanding Female Senior and the sport's national scholar-athlete of the year. 

Noyola, a 5-foot-3 midfielder, connected on a header in the 53rd minute for the only goal in this past year's national title game, a 1-0 win over %%MATCH_3%%, in what the Athletic Department would later deem the most defining moment of the year. She leaves the Farm a three-time first-team All-American and second in school history with 40 assists and ninth with 102 points. Meanwhile, a 5-foot-7 forward, Taylor's 53 goals, 27 assists, 133 points and 349 shots rank fourth, seventh, fifth and first, respectively in school history. 

Poetically, both players are tied for first in appearances on the Farm (102 games). Most importantly, both helped bring home the Cardinal's first-ever women's soccer national title. The Bootleg wishes them and our other female Honor Roll winners all the best in the years to come, and thanks them heartily for the wonderful memories of the past months and years.

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