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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Erica Ogwumike Named Top 30 NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee

POSTED: September 17, 2020 -- 1:20 p.m. CT

Thursday afternoon, Rice University women's basketball alum Erica Ogwumike was chosen as one of the Top 30 honorees for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Ogwumike joins former Rice track and field greats Becky Wade (2012) and Lennie Waite (2009) as the only Owls to advance to the Top 30 of the NCAA Woman of the Year Award since it was established in 1991.

Selected from a record 605 school nominees – a group that was then narrowed to 161 nominees by conference offices – the Top 30 honorees include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions. All have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.

The selection committee will announce the nine finalists, including three women from each NCAA division, in mid-October. From those finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year. The Top 30 will be celebrated, and the Woman of the Year will be named this fall.

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Ogwumike became the first athlete in league history to earn back-to-back Female Conference USA Athlete of the Year awards.

At the conclusion of the season, Ogwumike was named Rice's Joyce Pounds Hardy Award winner and was also selected as a finalist for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award.

On April 17, Ogwumike became the fourth player in Rice history to be selected in the WNBA Draft when she was chosen by the New York Liberty 26th overall before having her rights traded to the Minnesota Lynx.

A CoSIDA Academic All-American First Team honoree in 2020, Ogwumike graduated from Rice as the program's all-time leader in points per game (17.7) and second in rebounds per game (10.1).

Ogwumike pledged her time volunteering with Rice's Student Advisory Council (SAAC), Rice African Student Association, Rice Pre-Health Society for Athletes, and the Pre-Med Society for Minority Students.

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