Sports

Stanford women's athletics named best in nation at annual ESPY Awards

Cardinal program is honored at annual ESPY Awards

When Stanford University won its 16th straight Directors' Cup award this season for having the nation's best overall athletics program, there was one likely assumption -- that either the men's or women's program was perhaps the best in the land.

That was confirmed on Wednesday when Stanford women's athletics was honored at the ESPY Awards with the Capitol One Award, recognizing the Cardinal as the top women's athletic program in the nation.

Stanford captured the women's honor while Duke University took the award for the top men's athletic program.

The award was accepted by Stanford women's basketball All-American Nnemkadi Ogwumike in a backstage presentation at the ESPYs in Los Angeles.

Stanford's women's athletics teams boasted one of the top showings of all collegiate women's programs in the nation. Two Cardinal teams, women's tennis and women's lightweight rowing (varsity eight), captured national championships, while five additional teams (basketball, soccer, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo) turned in runner-up finishes.

On an individual level, swimmers Julia Smit (200 IM, 400 IM, 400 free relay) and Elaine Breeden (100 fly, 200 fly) were multi-NCAA individual championship winners, while swimmers Kate Dwelley, Betsy Webb and Sam Woodward (400 free relay), the tennis doubles team of Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette and women's gymnast Carly Janiga (uneven bars) all captured individual national titles, as well.

Soccer standout Kelley O'Hara took home three different National Player of the Year honors, sharing the Top Drawer Soccer honor with Stanford teammate Christen Press.

Overall, six Stanford female student-athletes were also named their conference's player of the year, and 49 earned All-America honors.

Stanford appears in good shape to win the award again next year following Wednesday's announcement that incoming basketball freshman Chiney Ogwumike was named the Gatorade national high school athlete of the year.

Ogwumike averaged 22.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.1 blocks last season for Cy-Fair High in Cypress, Texas. She led the 36-1 Bobcats to the state Class 5A state championship. She graduated third in her class with a 3.45 GPA.

She clapped her hands to her mouth in surprise when retired Los Angeles Sparks star Lisa Leslie announced her name. Soccer star Brandi Chastain of FC Gold Pride handed her the silver trophy.

At Stanford, Ogwumike will team with her sister Nneka, the defending Pac-10 Player of the Year.

They were among 12 finalists for the awards that recognize athletic achievements, academic excellence and character.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Sports Information

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