DURHAM, N.C. - Duke University standouts Chelsea Gray and Elizabeth Williams were named two of 30 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, which was released on Friday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The candidates are chosen by a preseason poll of national college women's basketball media members.
Along with Gray and Williams on the preseason list were Alex Bentley (Penn State), Carolyn Davis (Kansas), Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Jasmine Dixon (UCLA), Stefanie Dolson (UConn), Shante Evans (Hofstra), Christine Foggie (Vanderbilt), Chassidy Fussell (Texas), Angel Goodrich (Kansas), Brittney Griner (Baylor), Bria Hartley (UConn), Tayler Hill (Ohio State), Jordan Hooper (Nebraska), Natasha Howard (FSU), Maggie Lucas (Penn State), Tyaunna Marshall (Georgia Tech), Anna Martin (DePaul), A'dia Mathies (Kentucky), Laurin Mincy (Maryland), Lindsey Moore (Nebraska), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (UConn), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Niveen Rasheed (Princeton), Sugar Rodgers (Georgetown), Shoni Schimmel (Louisville), Odyssey Sims (Baylor) and Alyssa Thomas (Maryland).
Gray is coming off a sophomore season where she averaged 12.5 points, 6.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals. She ranked 12th nationally in assists and 29th in steals. The 5-11 playmaker elevated her game even more in the NCAA Tournament averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals as she was named to the Fresno Regional All-Tournament team.
Other honors Gary received last year was USBWA All-America, Naismith Midseason Player of the Year list, All-ACC Tournament second team, First Team All-ACC, two-time ACC Player of the Week and a John R. Wooden Award candidate. The Manteca, Calif., product tallied a Duke single-season record 201 assists on the year.
A product of Virginia Beach, Va., Williams is coming off a rookie campaign where she was named the consensus National Freshman of the Year in 2011-12. The 6-3 center averaged 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 1.6 assists and 1.5 steals a year ago, while earning ESPN.com, USBWA and Full Court Freshman of the Year accolades.
The 6-3 center posted one of the top freshman campaigns in league history as she notched a freshman record 116 blocked shots and ranked fourth nationally with a 3.5 per game average. She also became the first league freshman to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and only the third freshman to be voted to the All-ACC First Team. Williams was a John R. Wooden Award finalist and Naismith candidate for Player of the Year.
Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the Preseason Top 30. These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for January's midseason list and the official voting ballot released in March. 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 Blue Devils feature three straight home contests to open the season on Nov. 17 (Presbyterian), Nov. 18 (Iona) and Nov. 23 (Valparaiso). The season opener will be on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Ticket packages for the 2012-13 campaign are available by calling the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-2583 or 1-877-375-3853 or fans can also purchase tickets online at www.GoDuke.com.
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