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March 29, 2010
ATLANTA - The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has selected Virginia's Monica Wright as the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year. The WBCA Defensive Player of the Year award honors the best defensive collegiate NCAA Division I women's basketball player.
"Defense is something I take pride in, and is honestly what got my game to this level in the first place," Wright said. "My defense is something I've always been able to rely on, so I'm really happy about getting this award. Honestly it's the biggest honor that I've ever received."
She is the first-ever Virginia player to earn the award.
All Division I Conference Defensive Players of the Year are eligible to be nominated for the award and the selection committee makes the final decision on the winner. If a conference does not select a defensive player of the year, the conference representative can select one player to be considered.
"When asked, I think many coaches would say that 'defense wins games,' and with that said I am proud to present Monica Wright with the Defensive Player of the Year award," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "I enjoy being able to honor student-athletes for their play on the defensive side of the game, which sometimes may get overlooked."
A 5-11 senior guard, Wright is Virginia's all-time leading scorer with 2,540 points and this past season Wright set the Virginia single-season scoring record with 734 points. She also holds the school record for steals in a game (10) and had a season-high 16 rebounds in one game this year while averaging 6.5 rebounds and 3.6 steals a game this season. In 2009-10, Wright had eight 30-point games and 22 20-point games.
This year she has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-ACC and the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia State Player of the Year. Wright is also a State Farm Coaches' All-America Team finalist, a State Farm Wade Trophy finalist and a Wooden Award finalist.
Wright has started and played in every game during her four years with the Cavaliers. She was a State Farm Coaches' All-America Team regional finalist as a junior and sophomore and was the ACC Rookie of the Year her freshman year. She is majoring in sociology.
Wright will be formally recognized at the WBCA Awards Luncheon presented by State Farm and Jostens at Noon CT on Tuesday, April 6, at the Marriott Rivercenter Grand Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
Past WBCA Defensive Players of the Year
2009 - Jennifer Risper, Vanderbilt University
2008 - Sylvia Fowles, Louisiana State University
2007 - Lindsey Harding, Duke University