In what has been quite a week in terms of All-America nods and being named to awards lists, Stanford senior forward Chiney Ogwumike was named by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as one of three finalists for the Division I Defensive Player of the Year award Thursday.
It marks the second straight year that Ogwumike has been a finalist for the honor, and she was joined on the list by Connecticut’s Stefanie Dolson and Baylor’s Odyssey Sims. Over the past two weeks Ogwumike has also been named a Wade Trophy and Wooden Award finalist, as well as to the All-America Teams of multiple outlets.
Ogwumike captured the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award for the third straight time in 2013-14, pacing a Cardinal defense that led the Pac-12 with just 59.8 points allowed per game and was second with a 35.3 opponents’ field-goal percentage, a mark which also ranks 12th in the nation heading into the Final Four.
Individually, Ogwumike is second in the Pac-12 with 1.83 blocks per game and on the year has turned away 66 shots, tied with Joslyn Tinkle’s 2012-13 total as the third-highest in Stanford single-season history. She is just four blocks away from Val Whiting’s second-place mark of 70. For her career, Ogwumike is just one of three Stanford players with 200 career blocks, currently sitting second on Stanford’s career list with 202, behind only Jayne Appel’s benchmark of 273.
The 6-4 Cypress, Texas native has also deftly used her athleticism and length at floor-level, coming up with 45 steals this season which ranks second amongst Cardinal players. On the boards, she combines with fellow post Mikaela Ruef to help the Cardinal post a 71.8 defensive-rebounding percentage that ranks third in the Pac-12.
Ogwumike’s defensive prowess can sometimes be overshadowed by her offensive fireworks show, as this season she has been among the leading candidates for national player of the year honors averaging 26.4 points and 12.1 rebounds per game and shooting 60.4 percent from the field, figures that, along with her 26 double-doubles, have her as the only player in the nation to rank in the national top 10 in each of those categories.
Her play on both sides of the court has helped Stanford (33-3) capture its 14th straight Pac-12 regular-season crown and advance to the program’s 12th Final Four, and sixth in seven years, where this Sunday it will face No. 1 Connecticut (38-0) at 6 p.m. PT at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.The 2014 WBCA Division I Defensive Player of the Year will be announced during the WBCA Awards Show, to be held Monday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. CT in Nashville.