In a May 29 article, we released the 30 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll award for the 2008/2009 school-year.
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. The Bootleg has previously announced swimmer Julia Smit, volleyball's Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo, and gymnastics' Sho Nakamori as 2008/09 Honor Roll winners. Our fifth announced member of The Bootleg's 2008-09 Honor Roll is basketball's Jayne Appel.
Stanford women's basketball entered the season with a deep, seasoned roster, but one obvious question: could anyone fill Candice Wiggins' shoes?
Jayne Appel answered that question so resoundingly that we'll have no choice but to ask another question in one year's time. Will anyone be able to fill Jayne Appel's shoes?
The rising senior from the East Bay's Pleasant Hill, Calif. put up numbers befitting her towering, 6-foot-4 frame. She shot over 60 percent from the field, seventh nationally and second in the Pac-10, and grabbed 9.2 rebounds per game, second in the Pac-10. Her 16 points per game were likewise second in the Pac-10, with her 1.8 blocks per game a conference best. Her junior season numbers were also enough to set two school records, with 215 career blocked shots and counting, and 349 rebounds this past season both Stanford bests.
An All-American, Stanford's Most Outstanding Player and the Pac-10 Player of the Year, Appel's impact could also be seen on Stanford's season trajectory. Stanford's guard play was underrated, but by no means spectacular, and so it was the frontcourt that carried the Cardinal through the season. Appel was the player most responsible for the Card's +13.2 rebounding margin, the best mark in school history.
Indeed, it was a predicted down year for the Cardinal in large part because of questions surrounding Wiggins' departure, but by the end of the season, Appel had led Stanford to the Final Four, and with pinache. Iowa State was the Card's last hurdle to clear before the Final Four, and was thought to represent Stanford's first real test in the NCAA Tournament. But then Jayne Appel scored a school-record 46 points in the Regional Final, summarily dispatching the Cyclones, claiming Berkeley Regional MVP honors and vaulting Stanford to its second straight trip to the promised last.
At the Final Four, the Card were routed by No. 1 Connecticut, arguably the best team in women's basketball history if the ESPN analysts are to be believed. (And we know they'd never hyperbolize, especially not about Connecticut.) However, Appel was one of the only Cardinal to acquit herself in the contest, scoring 26 despite seemingly being harassed by the majority of UConn defenders at any given time.
Appel's shooting percentage, blocks and rebounding rate this past season place her on the top-10 list in Stanford's history, and thus alongside some pretty spectacular names – Whiting, Starbird, Azzi, Powell and Wiggins, to name a few. Before her career's finished, Appel could well find herself on, if not atop, Stanford's career top-ten list as well. It's only fitting then that we put Jayne Appel on our top-ten list, and wish her and what should be an incredibly deep Cardinal team the best of luck for next year.
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