November, 2, 2011
By Chad Konecky | ESPN.com
file photo/APNotre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins is one of four former Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners to make the preseason All-America team.Four of the five members of The Associated Press women's basketball preseason All-America team this fall have something else in common aside from being great players anticipating great seasons.
The top three vote totals (from a 40-member media panel) and four of the top five went to former Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year award winners. Baylor junior center Brittney Griner, the 2008-09 Gatorade Texas POY, became just the eighth player selected unanimously. All seven others in history were also former Gatorade Player of the Year honorees.
Griner led the way on the 2011-12 squad, followed by 2008-09 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year and Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins, who received 37 votes. Stanford senior center Nneka Ogwumike, who earned Gatorade National POY honors in 2007-08, also captured 37 balloters. Rounding out the former POY quartet that populates this year’s AP starting five is Tennessee senior wing Shekinna Stricklen, a two-time Gatorade Arkansas POY (2006-08).
The only non-POY on the AP squad is Miami senior and Rush-Henrietta High (Henrietta, NY) alumnae Shenise Johnson, who was edged in the 2007-08 Gatorade New York POY race by Ohio State senior and All-Big Ten guard Samantha Prahalis -- already the only Buckeye ever to score 1,000 points and pass for 700 assists. As a Commack High (Commack, NY) senior in 2007-08, Prahalis made a good case for herself, averaging 30.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 7.2 steals per game.