Great ceremony last night at the Denver Sheraton.
Brittney Griner received the Wade Trophy, the Naismith Trophy, and the WBCA defensive player of the year award. She got up to take her second award, and apologized to the audience for “having to listen to me again.” For a 6-foot-8 player, she came across as sweet and shy.
Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey received the Division I coach of the year award, and in her speech mentioned that she felt fortunate to coach Griner, who she called “a player of a lifetime.”
State Farm/WBCA collegiate players of the year:
Kari Daugherty, Ashland University, NCAA Division II
Daugherty, a 6-foot-1 forward/guard from Fresno, Ohio, ranked atop the nation’s Division II leader board in rebounds per game (14.1) and double-doubles (27 in 35 contests) and among the nation’s top 10 in points per game (No. 7 with 21.3). After nearly breaking a national record with a 22-rebound performance in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals, Daugherty led her Ashland Eagles to a runner-up finish in the Division II National Championship game March 23.
Caroline Stedman, Amherst College, NCAA Division III
Stedman, a 5-foot-10 senior guard from Walpole, Mass., was the leading scorer (14.1 points) for No. 4 Amherst (31-2), which reached the NCAA Division III Women’s Final Four for the fourth consecutive year. Stedman’s class is only the second group of seniors in NCAA Division III history to earn a berth in the Women’s Final Four in all four years of their collegiate careers.
Tugce Canitez, Westmont College, NAIA
Canitez, a 6-foot-2 junior forward from Izmir, Turkey, tallied 19.1 points and pulled down 10.5 rebounds per game while leading the Westmont Warriors to a 31-4 record, Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament title and a No. 1 seed in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Sha’Kayla Caples, Trinity Valley Community College, Junior/Community College
Caples, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward for undefeated Trinity Valley (36-0). The NJCAA Division I National Champions looked to Caples throughout 2011-12 as she poured in team-leading numbers for much of the season.
The most touching moment of the evening was when the WBCA gave Oklahoma State the first-ever “Together we R” team award. Coach Jim Littell accepted the award, and thanked coaches in attendance for their support. He also had the OSU staff stand, and paid them tribute.