Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike became the first player in conference history to earn both Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. It is her second consecutive Defensive honor and first Player of the Year recognition, keeping it within the Ogwumike family, as her sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike ’12 won it the past two seasons.
“She has had a phenomenal year. She’s a great leader,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer. “She’s the real deal. I’m really fortunate–I just love coaching her.”
VanDerveer was recognized as Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the 13th time.
Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle (12.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore point guard Amber Orrange (10.2 ppg, 4.3 apg) joined Ogwumike atop the Pac-12, each being named to the All Pac-12 Team for the first time in their respective careers.
It can be easily argued that Ogwumike is the most improved player in the nation. Her presence on the court is a huge game changer for both the Card and its opponent. She went from averaging 15 ppg and 10.1 rpg last season during only 28 minutes a game to being the only player in the country to rank in the national top five in scoring (22.9 ppg), rebounding (12.7 rpg), field-goal percentage (59.1) and double-doubles (24) this season.
Ogwumike and Baylor’s senior forward Brittney Griner (23.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg) head the race for National Player of the Year, which will be announced in April during the NCAA Final Four.