ACC Women’s Basketball: Four Named to Wooden Award Midseason Top 20

Gray, Hamby, Loyd and Williams named to the list

GREENSBORO, N.C. –  Four Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes have been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20, announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. 

Duke senior center/forward Elizabeth Williams, North Carolina sophomore guard Alisha Gray, Notre Dame junior guard Jewell Loyd and Wake Forest senior forward Dearica Hamby are among the 20 student-athletes who are front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious individual honor at roughly the halfway point of the 2014-15 season. 

The quartet ranks among the league’s top 21 individuals in scoring and are among the league leaders in several other categories. Loyd leads the ACC in scoring with 21.5 points per game, while Hamby follows with the ACC’s second-best scoring average of 20.7 points per game and stands third with 10.4 rebounds per game. Gray stands seventh in scoring with 16.6 points per game, while Elizabeth Williams is 21st in scoring (13.7 ppg) and ranks third in blocked shots with 3.0 blocks per game. 

Players not chosen to the preseason team are eligible for both the midseason team and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.  The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.The 39th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which in 2015 will go to San Diego State Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Fisher. The event will take place the weekend of April 10-12, 2015. 

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball.  It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.  Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09 and ‘11). Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike won the 2014 Wooden Award. 

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name.   Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament.  The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.