Stanford's Wiggins wins Wade Trophy as player of year

TAMPA, Fla. -- The games haven't even begun, but Stanford senior Candice Wiggins on Saturday already one-upped her fellow Final Four participants. Wiggins won the Wade Trophy, which is given annually to the best women's college basketball player in the nation, and headlined the State Farm All-America team.

Wiggins unseated Tennessee junior Candace Parker for the Wade Trophy. Many expected Parker to become just the third two-time Wade winner, joining the likes of Seimone Augustus (2005-06) and Nancy Lieberman (1979-80). Instead, Wiggins -- who last Tuesday became the first player in women's NCAA tournament history with multiple 40-plus-point performances -- stole the show, also becoming just the seventh player in Division I history to be picked to the All-America team for all four seasons.

In addition to Wiggins, four other players in Tampa competing at the Final Four helped topped the 10-member State Farm (formerly Kodak) All-America team: Parker, Connecticut's Renee Montgomery and Maya Moore and LSU's Sylvia Fowles.

Maryland duo Crystal Langhorne and Kristi Toliver, North Carolina's Erlana Larkins, Louisville's Angel McCoughtry and Oklahoma's Courtney Paris round out the team.

Paris and Parker are three-time honorees, while
Fowles, Langhorne and McCoughtry made the team for the second consecutive season. Moore is just the 12th freshman to be included on the prestigious team since its inception in 1975.

Wiggins, just the second Stanford player to earn the Wade Trophy (Jennifer Azzi, 1990), helped lead Stanford back to the Final Four for the first time in 11 seasons. Wiggins, who is averaging 20.2 points, scored 44 points against UTEP in the second round and added 41 vs. Maryland in the Elite Eight. This season, Wiggins became Stanford's and the Pac-10's all-time leading scorer (2,590 career points through April 4) and 3-point shooter (290 3-pointers made through April 4). Through last Monday night's Elite Eight contest against Maryland, Wiggins also sits atop the Stanford career annals for scoring average (19.2), 3-pointers attempted (743), free throws made (555) and attempted (675). Her 277 career steals are only three away from tying Sonja Henning's all-time school record of 280.

"Candice Wiggins demonstrates what this award is all about," WBCA CEO Beth Bass said. "She is not only a force on the court, but is also a great role model to the community. I am certain Lily Margaret Wade would be pleased to know Candice is receiving this award in her honor."

The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 31st year is named after the late, legendary three-time national champion and Delta State University coach, Lily Margaret Wade. The award debuted in 1978 as the first women's national player of the year award in college basketball.

The first recipient of the Wade Trophy was Carol Blazejowski of Montclair State in 1978. Other Wade Trophy/NCAA Division I Player of the Year recipients include many WNBA standouts such as Teresa Weatherspoon (1988), DeLisha Milton-Jones (1997), Ticha Penicheiro (1998), Sue Bird (2002) and Diana Taurasi (2003).