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Blackmon, Young make pre-season list for 2004 Wade Trophy award

Aug. 31, 2004

By JESSICA YOUNGPETER, reporter

Sophia Young and Steffanie Blackmon were named to the pre-season list of candidates for The State Farm Wade Trophy National Player of the Year award. They were chosen for their playing ability, statistics, character, leadership and their effect on their team.

Last season, both Young and Blackmon led Baylor in scoring and rebounding.

Young, a junior forward, averaged 16.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Blackmon, a senior post, averaged 15.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

"It's an honor for me to coach Sophia and Steffanie," head Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said. "They are two premiere players in the country, and they are so deserving of any recognition that comes their way."

Aside from leading the team in statistics, the duo also assisted the team with their leadership.

"They lead by example," senior guard Chelsea Whitaker said. "They always do what they're supposed to do and the younger kids come in seeing them do it and they go ahead and do it."

Young makes an effort to encourage her teammates and to keep them focused on team goals. She makes sure she does not expect her teammates to do anything she is not willing to do herself.

"I let my teammates see what I'm doing so they can follow my lead, and I try to encourage as much as possible," Young said.

Blackmon, who injured her knee during action in the Big 12 Tournament last season, is focused on strengthening her knee so she will be 100 percent by the start of the season.

"I've worked so hard; every year you want to get better as a player," Blackmon said. "I didn't feel like, in my opinion, that I had a great year. So it's just an honor to be on that list because there are 31 players from the whole nation.

"I think that would be the most awesome thing to win," Blackmon said. "From not being able to play in the playoffs last year and then being able to come back from that and win -- that would be awesome!"

Whether or not a Baylor player receives this prized trophy at the end of the season, the Lady Bears agreed that the nominations have helped put Baylor into a positive spotlight.

"We've come a long way since I've been here," Blackmon said. "It just goes to show what the program has done and we're getting recognition on a national level now."

Some regard the award as the Heisman trophy of women's basketball. It will be awarded at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Convention during the NCAA Women's Final Four, April 2-5, 2005.