ATLANTA, GA -- Texas A&M’s Takia Starks was named to the 2008-09 preseason watch list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year Award as announced Tuesday by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, on behalf of the Wade Coalition.
The prestigious 25-member list is comprised of the top Division I women’s basketball student-athletes who best embody the spirit of Lily Margaret Wade based on the criteria of: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.
“T-Kay has a chance to have a great senior year,” Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “Many players get rewarded and recognized because of their individual skill and for their team accolades. When a team is doing well, you look at the individuals on that team who are doing well. T-Kay and D.G. (Danielle Gant) are two of the top 25 players in the country and I foresee them both having great senior seasons. Our fans in Aggieland will continue to enjoy watching a player who does something better than most people in the country, being the great shooter that T-Kay is.”
Starks, a 5-foot-8 senior guard and two-time All-Big 12 Conference First Team selection, earned Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention honors after leading the Aggies to their first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance and postseason Big 12 title in 2007-08. She averaged a team-and career-best 16.3 points per game and was tabbed Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Starks was also selected to the NCAA Oklahoma City Regional All-Tournament Team and Big 12 All-Tournament Team. She currently ranks fifth all-time in career scoring with 1,423 points and fourth all-time in career three-pointers made (143) in the A&M record books.
“We are losing the pure shooter in the women’s game,” Blair said. “Being the best shooter in the country is becoming a dying art. Many girls can score, but not many can score coming right off of a screen and nail the mid-range shot like T-Kay can. Each summer, she comes back with a new weapon in her arsenal on how to score. This summer was the most important one for her, because it was the last summer in which she could work on her game before going off to play in the WNBA or Europe after graduation. Many times you want your players to be hungry for the opportunities that are out there before them. Too many become complacent in their abilities, but not complacent with their dreams. T-Kay works on her abilities at all times and is always the last one in the gym.”
The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 32nd year and named after the late, legendary three-time national champion Delta State University coach, Lily Margaret Wade, debuted in 1978 as the first-ever women’s national player of the year award in college basketball. This highly prestigious award, regarded as the “Heisman of Women's Basketball,” is organized by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), in conjunction with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS). Past winners include two-time winners in LSU’s Seimone Augustus (2005 and 2006) and Old Dominion’s Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1980).
“Once again our committee has done an amazing job putting together a stellar group of student-athletes that have shown their leadership on the court, in the classroom and in the community,” said committee chair Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto. “Each one represents all that this award is about, and I look forward to April when we will name another talented woman to this prestigious list.”
The 2009 State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be announced at the WBCA National Convention held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 3-7, 2009, in St. Louis, Mo.
The Wade Trophy Coalition was established in June of 2000 when the WBCA partnered with The National Association of Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS). For the past eight years, the two have worked together to present The State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year Award. A committee comprised of coaches, administration and media from across the United States selects the winner.