Nov. 9, 2010
TUCSON - University of Arizona Wildcat women's basketball player Ify Ibekwe has been named to the Naismith Trophy preseason watch list, it was announced on Tuesday.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2010-11 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy, presented by AT&T, will be awarded on April 4, 2011 at the NCAA Women's Final Four in Indianapolis.
"This is another great honor for Ify Ibekwe," head coach Niya Butts said. "I've always said Ify has the ability to be one of the top players in the nation and it's motivating as a coach and a player to see her name on this list. Ify can do a lot of things for us this year on the court and, as a coaching staff, we're excited to see her continue to develop into the outstanding player and leader we know she can be."
Ibekwe, a 6-2 forward from Carson, Calif., is a two-time All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 All-Defensive Team member while also being chosen as the 2009-10 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year by the league's media members. During the 2009-10 season, she became the program's single-season record holder for rebounds with 352, besting the previous mark of 339 set in 2004. Her career rebounding average of 10.5 is also the tops in Arizona history while she also holds the top two single-season rebounding averages.
In 2009-10, Ibekwe led the Pac-10 in rebounding with 11.4 rebounds per game, good for ninth in the NCAA. She also tallied 18 double-doubles on the season, which was 15th in the nation. She tallied in double figures in 24-of-31 contests that included scoring 20 or more points in five games. She set single-game career bests for points, rebounds, assists and steals during the season and pulled down double-digit rebounds in 21 contests with 15 or more boards in seven of those games.
"To see my name on the list with the top players in the country is an honor," Ibekwe said. "It's also very motivating with our season officially starting on Friday. Our team chemistry is at a new level this season and I want to lead our team, on and off the court, to the best of my ability."
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.
The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball's player of the year. For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.
Arizona will play next when the Wildcats face Wichita State on the road on Fri., Nov. 12, at 7:05 p.m. CST. Arizona will return to McKale for a contest against Northern Arizona, Mon., Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. For tickets to the Arizona Wildcat women's basketball games, call 800-452-2287.