Bowling Green, Ky. — For the second straight year, Western Kentucky University senior forward Crystal Kelly has been named to the preseason top 30 list for the John R. Wooden Award.
The list is composed of 30 female student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performances and team records, are the frontrunners for one of college basketball’s most coveted trophies. All of the top 30 candidates are comprised of returning players. Tranfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the preseason list.
Kelly — the preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, and a preseason candidate for the WBCA Wade Trophy — is poised to become both WKU’s and the Sun Belt’s all-time leading scorer during her senior campaign. Entering the year with 2,036 career points, she needs just 227 more to pass Lillie Mason to sit atop the Lady Toppers’ all-time list, and 250 points to pass South Alabama’s Adrian Vickers for first on the conference’s list. Kelly is coming off a junior season that saw her earn both Kodak/WBCA and Associated Press All-America honors after dropping in a school-record 770 points.
She finished her junior year ranked second in the nation in scoring at 24.1 points per game, and is the top returning scorer in the country entering the ‘07-08 season. Kelly scored in double figures in all 32 games last year, including 25 games in which she scored over 20 points. In addition to her scoring, Kelly led the Sun Belt with a .611 field-goal percentage, while finishing tied for second in rebounding (9.4 rpg) and sixth in free-throw percentage (.774). She is also on the verge of joining Mason and ShaRae Mansfield as the only 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound players in Lady Topper history, entering the year with 901 career boards.
In mid-January, the Wooden Award Committee will release it midseason top 20 list, followed by the official voting ballot in March consisting of approximately 15 players.
The Wooden Award is named for the three-time college basketball All-American, 1932 Player of the Year and 10-time national championship coach at UCLA.