For the second consecutive year, Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike captured multiple conference individual honors, being named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Tuesday. The top-player honor is Ogwumike’s second in a row, and the top defender award is her third straight.
Ogwumike is now the seventh Stanford player to win multiple Pac-12 (formerly Pac-10) Player of the Year awards, joining older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2010, 2012), Candice Wiggins (2005-06, 2008), Nicole Powell (2002, 2004), Kate Starbird (1996-97), Val Whiting (1992-93) and Jennifer Azzi (1989-90). Overall, Ogwumike’s award this season marks the 18th time a Cardinal player has been recognized as the conference’s top performer.
Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Tara VanDerveer was named the John R. Wooden Coach of the Year for the fourth straight year and 14th time overall, as Stanford took home three of the four individual awards. Washington’s Kelsey Plum was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Ogwumike was also named to the All-Pac-12 Team for the fourth straight year, as well as to the conference’s all-defensive team. Junior point guard Amber Orrange earned her second straight nod to the All-Pac-12 Team in addition to being named All-Defensive Team honorable mention, while redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention, the first all-conference nod of her career.
A pair of Cardinal rookies were also recognized, as guard Lili Thompson was named to the All-Freshman Team and fellow backcourt standout Karlie Samuelson earned All-Freshman Team honorable mention.
Under VanDerveer’s watch, Stanford captured its 14th straight Pac-12 regular-season title in 2013-14, going 17-1 in conference play while racking up a 28-2 record. The Cardinal earned the top seed at this week’s Pac-12 Tournament at Seattle’s KeyArena for the 13th straight year, and will open the draw in Friday’s quarterfinal round at 12 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s first-round clash between No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Colorado. VanDerveer has the Cardinal poised for its 13th 30-win season, and on Nov. 27 in Puerto Vallarta became just the fifth Division I women’s basketball coach to win 900 career games, getting the historic win in an 83-59 victory over Florida Gulf Coast.
Ogwumike further burnished her national player of the year credentials with a dominant senior campaign, being the only player in the nation to rank in the NCAA’s top 10 in scoring (27.0 ppg – third), rebounding (12.1 rpg – eighth), field-goal percentage (62.2 – third) and double-doubles (22 – sixth). The Cypress, Texas native has posted 13 30-point contests this season, including a career-high 37 points in Saturday’s 84-64 win over Washington State which helped earn her a record-extending ninth Pac-12 Player of the Week honor of this season on Monday. Over nine games against Top-25 competition this season, she has averaged 25.0 points and 12.6 rebounds while shooting 59.4 percent from the field.
Ogwumike has made 2013-14 a record-breaking campaign, already becoming the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder on January 3 when she passed former teammate Kayla Pedersen’s mark of 1,266 career rebounds. Entering this week’s Pac-12 Tournament Ogwumike has 1,483 career rebounds, and her 2,580 career points have her just 50 away from breaking former Stanford star and Wade Trophy winner Candice Wiggins’ Pac-12 benchmark of 2,629 points.
Defensively, Ogwumike is second in the Pac-12 with 1.80 blocks per game and her 190 career blocks rank eighth on the Pac-12 career list. The presence of her and Orrange on the defensive end of the court has helped the Cardinal become the Pac-12’s top defensive team, holding opponents to conference-low marks of 59.9 points per game and a 34.9 field-goal percentage.
In addition to her standout play on the court, Ogwumike was also recognized for her academic excellence, being named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year in February.
Orrange earned her second straight berth onto the All-Pac-12 Team, and her third-career all-conference nod overall thanks to a junior campaign in which she has marshalled a Cardinal offense to 78.2 points per game and 28 wins. The Houston native averages 10.1 points per game, including a 22-point performance against No. 1 Connecticut back on Nov. 11, and is second in the Pac-12 with 4.67 assists per game. A finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given annually to the nation’s top point guard, Orrange is a big reason that the Cardinal ranks in the national top 20 for fewest turnovers per game as she leads the Pac-12 and ranks sixth in the country with a 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Building on her breakout 2012-13 season, redshirt forward Mikaela Ruef has established herself as the most versatile post player in the Pac-12 to earn the first all-conference recognition of her career this season. The Beavercreek, Ohio native is averaging career highs of 6.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.13 assists per game, and leads all conference posts in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.74). Ruef has posted four double-doubles this season and is fifth in rebounds per game in the Pac-12, having grabbed at least 10 rebounds in 15 games this season, second only on the Cardinal to Ogwumike’s 22.
Thompson and Samuelson have been two major players among Stanford’s impactful five-woman freshman class this season. Thompson played her way into the Cardinal starting lineup by the third game of this season and has been in the starting five 26 times this season, averaging 7.3 points and 2.90 assists per game while shooting 42.5 percent from behind the arc. The Mansfield, Texas native is fourth on the team with 22.9 minutes per game and her 34 3-pointers rank second among Cardinal players.Samuelson, meanwhile, has been another valuable card in Stanford’s 3-point deck, shooting 36.5 percent from behind the arc and ranking third on the Cardinal with 31 triples. The younger sister of junior Bonnie Samuelson, Stanford’s leading long-range bomber, Karlie, who and has made a pair of starts out of her 25 appearances this season, is averaging 6.3 points over 18.1 minutes per game, and is also shooting 90.7 percent from the free-throw line.