Stanford junior Nnemkadi Ogwumike and senior Kayla Pedersen have always been women's basketball players to be watched. The Women's Basketball Coaches Association just made it official Wednesday.
Ogwumike and Pedersen were named to the preseason "Wade Watch" list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year, the WBCA announced.
Ogwumike led the Pac-10 with an 18.5 scoring average and 60.9 shooting percentage. She was second in rebounding with 9.9 per contest. She set a Stanford single-season school record with 376 rebounds, including a school record 23 against Oregon in January.
Pedersen earned spots on the All-Pac-10, Pac-10 All-Tournament, Sacramento All-Regional and All-Final Four Teams. Starting every game for the third straight year, Pedersen averaged 15.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 55 3-pointers.
Stanford is one of five schools to have at least two players named to the 25-player list, along with Tennessee, which led all schools with three members, Connecticut, Ohio State and Xavier.
Ogwumike and Pedersen are the Pac-10's only representatives on the list, as well as being two of just three players chosen from schools west of the Central Time Zone. Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot is also on the list.
Ogwumike was named to AP's All-American second team while being named Conference Player of the Year, Pac-10 Tournament MVP, Sacramento Regional MVP and selection to the All-Final Four Team as Stanford reached its second national championship game in three years.
Pedersen, one of the nation's most versatile players, was named to the 'Wade Watch' list for the third consecutive year.
The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 34th 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 WBCA, in conjunction with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport.
Men's beach volleyball
Stanford grad Matt Fuerbringer and beach volleyball teammate Nick Lucena look to build on their recent success when they open competition at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Mazurey Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland on Thursday.
The U.S. men's beach volleyball teams of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers defeated compatriots Fuerbringer and Lucena to win their sixth FIVB World Tour gold medal of 2010 on Sunday at the Tour A1 Grand Slam 10 in Klagenfurt, Austria.
The 12th-seeded duo dropped a 21-18, 21-19 decision in the gold medal match. It was the best international finish for Fuerbringer and Lucena since they became a team at the beginning of the year.
Fuerbringer and Lucena, who were playing in their first SWATCH FIVB World Tour final together, split $29,500 for second place. The silver medal was Lucena's first international podium placement while Fuerbringer had competed in two previous SWATCH FIVB World Tour medal matches with Casey Jennings, whose wife is Stanford grad and Olympian Kerri Walsh.
The U.S. Women's National Team is 9-3 on the season with top three finishes in its first two tournaments. The FIVB World Grand Prix, which begins Friday, is the latest challenge as the Americans (18-14 last year) prepare for the year-end FIVB World Championships.
The Grand Prix competes in three consecutive weekends of preliminary round pool play, divided into three locations. Teams accumulate nine total matches through the three preliminary round weekends, with the top five teams in the standings joining the host country for the Final Round.
Team USA, currently ranked fourth in the FIVB world rankings, travels to Gdynia, Poland, the opening weekend to face Dominican Republic on Friday, Germany on Saturday and host Poland on Sunday. The FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round, a round-robin format consisting of five matches over five days, will be held Aug. 25-29 in Ningbo, China.
"We want to keep getting better with each match, and that is the main focus for this trip," U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "We will use the World Grand Prix as further preparation for the FIVB World Championship. By the end of the World Grand Prix, we hope to know more about our team and what we need to do to be successful as we move closer to forming our core group of players for the rest of the quadrennial."
For the FIVB World Grand Prix, McCutcheon named Stanford grads Logan Tom, Cynthia Barboza, Ogonna Nnamani, and Foluke Akinradewo to the 19-player roster.
The U.S. will be making its 17th appearance in the FIVB World Grand Prix having missed just the 1999 event. Only China and Japan have played in every World Grand Prix. Team USA won the World Grand Prix in 1995 and 2001, while earning the bronze in 2003 and 2004.
"Our early season success validates a lot of our hard work put in last year," McCutcheon said. "If we can keep working on the technique systems and principles, we can be a good team. We are off to a nice start, but now we need to get back to the competition court. Hopefully, we are a little better than a month ago."