UConn trio leads way among preseason Wooden Award candidates

Connecticut senior Renee Montgomery, junior Tina Charles and sophomore Maya Moore were each named to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the 2008-09 Wooden Award All-America team.

UConn is the only team in the nation with three players on the list. Maryland (Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman), California (Devanei Hampton, Ashley Walker) and Rutgers (Epiphanny Prince, Kia Vaughn) each had two players among the candidates.

Both Moore (2007-08) and Oklahoma senior Courtney Paris (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08) are past Wooden Award All-Americans.

In mid-January, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of approximately 15 players who have excelled both on the court and in the classroom (student-athletes must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA).

The Women's Wooden Award All-American team will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" during the NCAA tournament.

The 33rd annual Wooden Award ceremony will be at The Los Angeles Athletic Club in April 2009.

A look at the candidates:

Adair, 6-4, C/F, Sr., George Washington
Jayne Appel, 6-4, F/C, Jr., Stanford
Chante Black, 6-5, F/C, Sr., Duke
DeWanna Bonner, 6-4, G, Sr., Auburn
Heather Bowman, 6-2, F, Jr., Gonzaga

Tina Charles, 6-4, C, Jr., Connecticut
Marissa Coleman, 6-1, G/F, Sr., Maryland
Allyssa DeHaan, 6-9, C, Jr., Michigan State
Krystal Ellis, 5-9, G, Sr., Marquette
Rachele Fitz, 6-0, F, Jr., Marist

Devanei Hampton, 6-3, F/C, Sr., California
Ashley Houts, 5-6, G, Jr., Georgia
Jareica Hughes, 5-3, G, Jr., UTEP
Jantel Lavender, 6-4, C, So., Ohio State
Shalee Lehning, 5-9, G, Sr., Kansas State

Rashanda McCants, 6-1, G/F, Sr., North Carolina
Angel McCoughtry, 6-1, F, Sr., Louisville
Renee Montgomery, 5-7, G, Sr., Connecticut
Maya Moore*, 6-0, F, So., Connecticut
Courtney Paris*, 6-4, C, Sr., Oklahoma

Ta'Shia Phillips, 6-6, C, So., Xavier
Epiphanny Prince, 5-9, G, Jr., Rutgers
Andrea Riley, 5-5, G, Jr., Oklahoma State
Takia Starks, 5-8, G, Sr., Texas A&M
Kristi Toliver, 5-7, G, Sr., Maryland

Kia Vaughn, 6-4, C, Sr., Rutgers
Ashley Walker, 6-1, F, Sr., California
Christina Wirth, 6-1, F, Sr., Vanderbilt
Monica Wright, 5-11, G, Jr., Virginia
Shavonte Zellous, 5-11, G, Sr., Pittsburgh

* Denotes a former John R. Wooden Award All-American; Moore earned the honor in 2007-08; Paris is a three-time Wooden All-American: 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08.