Stanford’s senior forward Chiney Ogwumike was named Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Thursday just before the start of the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle.
Ogwumike, a front-runner for national player of the year honors, becomes the third player to capture the honor since its inception in 2008. Previous Cardinal women’s basketball players to take home the award were Jayne Appel (2010) and Kayla Pedersen (2011).
It is Ogwumike’s second major academic honor of 2013-14, as the international relations major was named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year on February 20 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The Cypress, Texas native will finish the coursework for her bachelor’s degree at the end of the current quarter in two weeks, and owns a cumulative grade-point average of 3.46. As part of her major requirements, Ogwumike during the spring quarter of 2013 studied abroad in Nigeria, interning with the country’s Ministry of Petroleum for over two months.
On the court, Ogwumike has been even more dominant than her career year in 2012-13, 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). She has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week a record nine times this season, bringing her conference-record career total to 18.
She became the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder on January 3 against Oregon, passing Pedersen’s benchmark of 1,266, and currently has 1,483 boards through March 1. Ogwumike and the Cardinal will begin Pac-12 Tournament play in Friday’s quarterfinal, taking on the winner of Thursday’s first-round UCLA-Colorado matchup at 12 p.m. at KeyArena. Ogwumike, with 810 points this season, broke older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s single-season Pac-12 scoring record of 809 points last Saturday against Washington, and with 2,580 career points enters this week’s event needing just 50 to eclipse former Stanford star and Wade Trophy winner Candice Wiggins’ mark of 2,629 as the conference’s all-time leading scorer.Thanks in part to Ogwumike’s record-breaking campaign, Stanford went 28-2 this regular season and 17-1 in conference play to capture its 14th straight Pac-12 title and 23rd overall. The Cardinal will go for its 11th Pac-12 Tournament crown this weekend in the Emerald City.