DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University standouts Chelsea Gray and Elizabeth Williams have been named two of 20 midseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, which was announced on Tuesday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The candidates are selected based on their performances in November, December and January and are the frontrunners for selection to the national ballot of the John R. Wooden Award.
Other midseason candidates along with the Duke duo include Alex Bentley (Penn State), Kelsey Bone (Texas A&M), Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Stefanie Dolson (UConn), Kelly Faris (UConn), Angel Goodrich (Kansas), Brittney Griner (Baylor), Tianna Hawkins (Maryland), Tayler Hill (Ohio State), Maggie Lucas (Penn State), A’dia Mathies (Kentucky), Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (UConn), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Sugar Rodgers (Georgetown), Odyssey Sims (Baylor) and Alyssa Thomas (Maryland).
Gray, a native of Manteca, Calif., is averaging 13.3 points, 6.2 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists on the season. The 5-11 point guard ranks eighth nationally in assists, ninth in steals, 13th in free throw percentage, eighth in assist/turnover ratio and 18th in assists. Earlier this season, Gray notched her second career triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Boston College. In the ACC stats, she ranks first in assists, 13th in scoring, first in free throw percentage (89.1%), first in steals and tied for first in assist/turnover ratio.
A product of Virginia Beach, Va., Williams leads the team in scoring with a 15.5 per game average, while also averaging 6.5 rebounds, 3.2 blocks and 1.1 steals. The 6-3 center ranks sixth nationally in blocked shots and has swatted at least one shot in 50 straight contests since arriving at Duke. In the ACC stats, Williams ranks fifth in scoring, 16th in rebounding, third in field goal percentage (55.7%) and first in blocks.
Both Gray and Williams have been named ACC Player of the Week on one occasion this season, while the duo received accolades at the Women of Troy Classic over the holidays. Gray earned MVP honors and Williams was selected to the All-Tournament team.
The Big East had six of the 20 selections, followed by the ACC with four; the Big 12 and Big Ten with three each; the SEC with two, and the CAA and Pac-12 with one apiece. No freshmen were chosen, and only two sophomores made the list: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Connecticut and Williams of Duke. Connecticut placed three players on the midseason Top 20 (Mosqueda-Lewis, Kelly Faris, Stefanie Dolson), while Baylor (Griner, Odyssey Sims), Duke (Williams, Gray), Maryland (Alyssa Thomas, Tianna Hawkins), Notre Dame (Diggins, Kayla McBride), and Penn State (Alex Bentley, Maggie Lucas) each had two athletes selected.
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 on April 12, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club as part of the 37th annual Wooden Award Gala. The Gala will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, All Americans and the Legends of Coaching Award winner.
On the season, the Blue Devils are ranked fourth nationally with a 16-1 overall and 6-0 league mark. Duke will next travel to Clemson, S.C., for a road contest against Clemson on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be aired live on ESPN3.
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