In 2006, Candace Parker guided the Lady Vols to a 30-5 record, the Southeastern Conference Tournament title and an appearance in the Elite Eight during her rookie season. The Naperville, Ill., native led the team in scoring (17.3 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg) and blocks (2.4 bpg) and was named a Kodak/WBCA All-American. Parker became the first female to dunk in an NCAA?Tournament game and the only woman to dunk twice in the same contest, when she slammed two home against Army in the opening round of the NCAA?Tournament on March 19. She was a first team All-SEC selection, the SEC Freshman of the Year and the conference tournament MVP after hitting the game-winning shot to lift Tennessee past LSU, 63-62.
"The State Farm Wade Trophy preseason list is a tribute to women's college basketball and American higher education as we celebrate the 35th year of Title IX's passing. The leadership and the skill level these talented young women represent speaks volumes about what access to quality coaching and the opportunity to participate and compete have meant to a generation of women who carry on the tradition of excellence in the spirit of Coach Lily Margaret Wade," said Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto, Chair of The State Farm Wade Trophy Committee and Athletic Director at DePaul University. "It's an outstanding roster and one that will have folks cheering all across the country for another year of highly charged women's college basketball."
Nineteen institutions are represented by these 25 student-athletes who have been selected for the preseason "Wade Watch". Duke University (Alison Bales and Lindsey Harding), University of North Carolina (Erlana Larkins and Ivory Latta) and Stanford University (Brooke Smith and Candice Wiggins) each have two players selected. The University of Maryland, the 2006 NCAA Division I National Champions, has an unparalleled representation on the preseason list with four student-athletes (Marissa Coleman, Shay Doron, Crystal Langhorne and Kristi Toliver).
The 25 student-athletes represent eight (8) NCAA Division I conferences as the Atlantic Coast Conference leads the way with eight (8). The Pacific-10 and the Southeastern Conference tied for second, each having four (4). The Big East follows with three (3), and the Big Ten and Big 12 each have two (2). The Sun Belt and Conference USA each have one (1) player represented.
Quite a few of this year's preseason candidates are no stranger to the "Wade Watch" list. Out of the 25 student-athletes, nine were represented last year on The State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason list including Jessica Davenport (Ohio State), Shay Doron (Maryland), Sylvia Fowles (LSU), Tasha Humphrey (Georgia), Tiffany Jackson (Texas), Crystal Langhorne (Maryland), Erlana Larkins (UNC), Ivory Latta (UNC) and Candice Wiggins (Stanford).
The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 29th 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 highly 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).
For the past two years, The State Farm Wade Trophy recipient was Seimone Augustus (Louisiana State University), who is only the second Wade Trophy recipient to receive the award twice. The other two-time winner was Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1980). 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).
The 2007 State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be announced during the WBCA National Convention held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in Cleveland, Ohio, March 30-April 3, 2007.