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March 19, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) - Four Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball student-athletes have been named to the John R. Wooden Award Ballot as announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club President Steve Hathaway.
Duke's elsea Gray and Elizabeth Williams, and Maryland's Tiana Hawkins and Alyssa Thomas are among the 15 in the running for the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball.
Williams, the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the ACC with 91 blocked shots (2.8 per game), and her inside presence keyed a Duke defense that has held ACC opponents to an ACC-low 51.5 points per game and also leads in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 33.7 percent shooting from the floor per game.
Gray, the ACC Co-Player of the Year with Thomas as named by the head coaches, suffered a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 17, but was still named to the ballot on the strength of her play this season. Gray was averaging 13.1 points, 5.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 steals heading into game against the Demon Deacons. She leads the ACC in assists and steals, while ranking sixth nationally in steals as well.
Thomas, the ACC Player of the Year as named by the Blue Ribbon Panel and Co-Player of the Year as named by head coaches, leads the ACC in points (18.4), rebounds (10.5) and assists (5.5). She posted the first triple-double in ACC Tournament history when she recorded 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a quarterfinal win over Wake Forest. She is just the second player in league history to notch two triple-doubles in one season.
Hawkins, an All-ACC First Team selection, is second in the ACC in scoring (18.3) and rebounding (9.5). Hawkins posted 15 double-doubles, second only to Thomas with 19.
The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation's top five players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year will be announced at the 2013 Wooden Award Gala presented by Wendy's on April 12, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Gala will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, All-Americans and the Legends of Coaching Award winner, Kansas Head Coach Bill Self.