LSU, UNC, Maryland each land two nominees

ATLANTA -- LSU senior Seimone Augustus, last season's State Farm Wade Trophy winner, headlines a group of 25 players named preseason candidates for 2006 award.

The pool of Division I players, a voted on by coaches, journalists and basketball administrators, was selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.

Twenty-two schools were represented with LSU (Augustus and Sylvia Fowles), Maryland (Shay Doron and Crystal Langhorne) and North Carolina (Erlana Larkins and Ivory Latta) each having two players selected. The group also included Duke's Monique Currie, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport, Stanford's Candice Wiggins and Baylor's Sophia Young, who, like Augustus, were named to last season's Kodak All-America team.

"The list is an example of the top-notch athletes that contribute to making each collegiate basketball game an exciting new experience," said Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto, chair of the State Farm Wade Trophy committee and athletic director at DePaul. "These 25 student-athletes represent the most outstanding players on and off the court."

The 25 student-athletes represented nine Division I conferences. The ACC led the way with seven honorees, followed by the SEC's four selections. The Pacific-10, Big East, and Big 12 ranked third with three each, followed by the Big Ten with two. The Atlantic 10, Conference USA and Mountain West each have one player represented.

This year's preseason list features 11 players who also were named preseason candidates last year: Augustus, UCLA's Nikki Blue, Currie, Texas' Tiffany Jackson, Latta, Arizona's Shawntinice Polk, Rutgers' Cappie Pondexter, DePaul's Khara Smith, Utah's Kim Smith, Connecticut's Ann Strother and Young.

The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 28th year and named after the late, legendary three-time national champion Delta State coach, Lily Margaret Wade, debuted in 1978 as the first women's national player of the year award in college basketball. Regarded as the "Heisman of Women's Basketball," the award is organized by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) in conjunction with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS).

The 2006 State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be announced during the WBCA National Convention held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in Boston on March 31-April 4, 2006.