March 6, 2012
2012 WBB All-Pac-12 Awards
STANFORD, Calif. - The Pac-12 announced its regular-season awards, as voted by the conference's head coaches, Tuesday morning and Stanford headlined the list as Nnemkadi Ogwumike was named Pac-12 Player of the Year, Chiney Ogwumike Defensive Player of the Year and Tara VanDerveer took home her 12th Pac-12 Coach of the Year award.
Sophomore guard Toni Kokenis was named to the All-Pac-12 Team for the first time, joining the Ogwumikes. Kokenis and Nneka also earned All-Defensive Team honorable mention. Rookies Taylor Greenfield and Amber Orrange were both named All-Freshman Team honorable mention.
Nneka's Pac-12 Player of the Year award is her second, having previously claimed the honor in 2010. She becomes the sixth Stanford player to capture the honor multiple times, joining Jennifer Azzi (1989-90), Val Whiting (1992-93), Kate Starbird (1996-97), Nicole Powell (2002, 2004) and Candice Wiggins (2005-06, 2008). Tuesday's announcement also marks the 16th time that a Stanford player has claimed or shared the conference's top honor.
Chiney's selection as Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year is her first, while her selection to the All-Defensive Team is her second. She becomes the second Stanford player to earn the Pac-12's top defensive honor, joining Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.
For the second straight season, and 12th overall, VanDerveer was voted by her peers as the top head coach in the conference. This season VanDerveer has guided a young Cardinal team to a 28-1 overall record, a No. 2 national ranking and its 12th consecutive and 21st overall conference regular season crown. On Feb. 25, she also became just the seventh Division I head coach to win 700 games at one school after Stanford defeated Utah, 69-42.
It is the 13th time that Stanford has claimed the coach of the year honor, as Amy Tucker and Marianne Stanley shared the award in 1995-96 while VanDerveer was on sabbatical coaching the U.S. Olympic Team.
Behind VanDerveer's coaching and the performances of the players, Stanford went 18-0 in the pac-12 for the third straight year and seventh time overall in 2011-12. Stanford also owns the nation's longest home winning streak at 79 games, and is winner of 75 straight against conference competition and 25 in a row heading into this week's Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament in Los Angeles.
Stanford (28-1, 18-0 Pac-12), the draw's top seed, opens tournament play at 12 p.m. in Thursday's quarterfinal round, taking on either No. 8 Washington or No. 9 Oregon at USC's Galen Center.
Nneka, a three-time Pac-12 Player of the Week selection, has put together a season that has made her a leading national player of the year and All-America candidate in 2011-12. Heading into the Pac-12 Tournament she leads the conference with 21.6 points per game and ranks second with 10.5 rebounds a game and an 82.8 free-throw percentage. She is also fifth with a 53.9 field-goal percentage. Her scoring, rebounding and shooting figures all rank in the national top 16 through the end of the regular season.
She has posted 15 double-doubles and 16 20-point games this season, as well as five 30-point efforts. On Dec. 20 against then-No. 6/6 Tennessee, Nneka scored a career-high 42 points with 17 rebounds as Stanford claimed a 97-80 victory.
Defensively, Ogwumike is second on the team with 30 blocked shots and 36 steals. While routinely covering one of the opposition's top posts, Nneka has played a key role in the Cardinal defense limiting opponents to a 34.0 field-goal percentage and a paltry 23.5-percent rate from behind the arc.
Chiney, a sophomore forward, has put together an All-America-worthy season of her own as one of two sophomores, along with Kokenis, in the starting lineup. The younger Ogwumike is among the Pac-12 leaders with 15.9 points and 10.1 rebounds a game and a 59.2 shooting percentage that also ranks fifth in the nation.
She is right behind Nneka with 14 double-doubles and 26 double-figure scoring games this season. One of her top efforts this season includes a career-best 27 points and 18 rebounds in Stanford's 74-71 overtime win against California on Jan. 28.
Along with her sister, Chiney has been a major contributor to Stanford's defensive credentials. She leads the Cardinal with 35 blocked shots and has made 22 steals. Behind her efforts, and those of the rest of the team, the Cardinal ranks among the Pac-12's best in holding opponents to a 34.0 field-goal percentage and a 23.5 3-point shooting rate.
Kokenis' breakout sophomore season has vaulted her into the Pac-12's backcourt elite. The Oak Brook, Ill. native has quarterbacked the Cardinal offense to the No. 1 spot in the conference, and sixth spot nationally with 77.8 points per game. Her 106 assists pace the team, and she leads the Pac-12 and ranks ninth in the nation with a 2.30 assist-to-turnover ratio.
She has also scored when called upon, averaging 9.7 points per game this year. Kokenis has scored in double figures 13 times this year, including top efforts of 26 points in Dec. 20's win over Tennessee and a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting in Sunday night's win at California. On the year, Kokenis has hit 33 3-pointers, second-most on the team.
Defensively, Kokenis' speed has played a key role in Stanford limiting opposing guards on the drive. She also leads the Cardinal with 39 steals.
Holding a rare distinction of being an opening-day starter as a freshman, Greenfield helped the Cardinal to a 9-1 start including wins over such teams as Texas, Tennessee and Gonzaga in the non-conference season. So far, Greenfield has started 13 games, and seen action in 25 this year, averaging 4.5 points and 2.2 rebounds a game while shooting 38.9 percent from behind the arc, a figure that ranks second in the Pac-12.
Orrange has steadily taken the reins as the team's point guard, helping Kokenis lead the conference's top offense. Since scoring 14 points with six rebounds in Stanford's season-opening win at then-No. 24/20 Texas on Nov. 11, Orrange has settled into her point guard role, ranking second on the team with 81 assists and a 2.03 assist-to-turnover ratio, and shooting 45.5 percent from the field.
The Houston, Texas native has twice passed out nine assists in a game (Jan. 21 against Washington, Feb. 29 against Seattle University) and teams with Kokenis to form one of the Pac-12's speediest backcourts. That speed has led Orrange to 32 steals, a figure that is third on the team.