LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In the closest race ever, UConn's Tina Charles has won the 2010 John R. Wooden Award, in the women's category, as the college basketball player of the year. Because the WNBA draft precluded Charles from making the traditional trip to Los Angeles, Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC).
President Steve Hathaway will present her with the unique Wooden Award trophy, whose design was inspired by Coach Wooden's idea of the ""total basketball player,"" next Thursday on the University of Connecticut campus.
This year's voting was the closest ever. Charles (252 points) topped her teammate Moore (251) by only one point in the final voting. Griffin was third with 114 points, followed by Appel (98) and Ogwumike (56).
The Wooden Award caps off an unbelievable career for Charles, who led her team to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2009 and 2010 and a 78-game win streak. The 6-4 center from Jamaica, New York, was the 2010 BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year, averaging 18.3 points and 9.4 rebounds on the season. She averaged 16.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in the 2010 NCAA Championship and is the Huskies' all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
Balloting by several hundred members of the media and women's college basketball experts was conducted through the games of the Sweet 16. Voters selected five players for the John R. Wooden All American team from the student-athletes listed on the ballot, and ranked them from 1 to 10.
The other four finalists were Nebraska's Kelsey Griffin; UConn's Maya Moore, the 2009 Women's Wooden Award winner; and Stanford's duo of Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Jayne Appel. Voters were asked to take into account performance during the regular season and postseason, as well as a player's character and academic performance. All players on the ballot were certified as maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA at their current school, including the most recent semester.
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Kevin Durant ('08) and Candace Parker ('07 and'08).