The criteria are as follows:
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."
During the months of June and July, we are releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one. We have previously recognized baseball's Jason Castro, gymnastics' David Sender, swimming's Julia Smit and Paul Kornfeld, soccer's Rachel Buehler, track's Erica McLain, runner Arianna Lambie, volleyball's Foluke Akinradewo and softball's Missy Penna as amongst this year's winners. It is no surprise then that our final member of The Bootleg's 2007-08 Honor Roll is women's basketball guard Candice Wiggins.
Honor Roll Winner: Candice
Tiger, McEnroe, Elway, Plunkett. They transcended their sports in their time on the Farm. For alums a decade or two or three out of college, they weren't just star athletes, they defined an era at Stanford. For you didn't graduate in '83, as much as you graduated with Elway.
Candice Wiggins has been Stanford's most dominant athlete for the past four years. And, when her radiant personality never faltered as her accomplishments grew more impressive by the year, she took on that same larger-than-life quality as the Stanford legends before her. Her on-the-court accomplishments are phenomenal, but Candice's most telling legacy for my generation of Stanford students is simple. She is the new standard, the new marker of an era. We will remember that our time here overlapped with hers.
This year, Wiggins upset Tennessee's Candace Parker to win the Wade Trophy, awarded to the best women's college basketball player of the year. She scored 787 points and made 184 free throws, both school records, in the process. For her career, Wiggins graduates the Pac-10 record-holder in total points (2,629) and three-pointers (295), and atop the Stanford all-time list in points per game (19.2), career free throws (563) and career steals (281), knocking off greats like Kate Starbird, Val Whiting and Sonja Henning. She is one of only seven players in women's basketball history to be a four-time All-American, is a three-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and the all-time leading scorer in Pac-10 history.
Wiggins led the Cardinal to a national runner-up appearance to Tennessee, its deepest Tournament run since 1992, when Wiggins was in kindergarten. She saved her best play for when it mattered most, dropping 44 on UTEP in the Sweet 16 and 41 on No. 1 seed Maryland in the Elite Eight to become the only women's basketball player to score at least 40 points in multiple NCAA Tournament games. She scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the national semifinals against Connecticut, and managed 14 in the Championship Game loss to the Vols.
Wiggins graduated with a degree in Communications this spring, and was then drafted third overall by the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. Already, Wiggins has made her mark on the Lynx, a .500 team fighting for playoff consideration. Her 17 points per game were second on the squad to Seimone Augustus' 19, and more than double any of her other teammates.
Wiggins, Parker and Oklahoma center Courtney Paris were the only three collegians to be named to the U.S. National Team in 2007. Wiggins shone, going 23-0 on four USA Basketball teams, and becoming the first Stanford player to be named USA Basketball's Female Athlete of the Year.
Wiggins graduates Stanford as the best women's basketball player to ever suit up for one of the nation's best programs – and not just in TheBootleg's humble opinion. Jennifer Azzi, somewhat of an authority on the subject, called Wiggins Stanford's best women's basketball player ever. Meanwhile, though Coach Tara VanDerveer has always shied away from the "best ever" question, her feelings are pretty evident too.
"I've not only had great players at Stanford, but great Olympians, and I can't say I've ever enjoyed coaching anyone more than Candice," VanDerveer told the Palo Alto Weekly. "She's a special young lady and, as a coach, you might get someone like this only once in your career if you're lucky. What separates Candice from other players is just her competitive desire. She plays at a hard pace and brings other people with her."
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