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Jan. 14, 2004

South Carolina senior guard Cristina Ciocan has been named as one of 31 nominees for the Senior CLASS award, which is presented annually to the top senior male and female Division I players.

The award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the recent trend of college basketball players leaving school early to turn professional. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was developed to honor seniors for completing their collegiate athletic eligibility.

The idea first came from sportscaster Dick Enberg, who suggested such an award during the CBS telecast of the 2001 National Championship Game when Shane Battier led Duke to the title after returning to college for his senior season. The inaugural award winners were Juan Dixon of Maryland and Sue Bird of Connecticut, followed last year by David West of Xavier and LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State.

Nominees for the 2003-04 award were also announced today. Each list – male and female – contains a minimum of 30 candidates, based on performance and achievements from their junior season.

In early February, a national media committee that covers Division I college basketball will select ten Finalists from the list of candidates. The names of these Finalists will appear on the official ballot during the national voting process in March. The selection of the men’s and women’s award winner will be based on the cumulative ballots of the national media committee, college basketball coaches and nationwide fan balloting.

The female winner will be announced during the NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans. The winners will be presented with their awards during the CLASS Tribute Gala hosted by the Pride of Kansas City Foundation on April 30, 2004, three weeks following the Final Four.

Female Candidates


Ciocan, Christina-South Carolina

Beard, Alana-Duke

Benningfield, Jenni-Vanderbilt

Bjorkund, Tera-Colorado

Brunson, Rebekkah-Georgetown

Christon, Shameka-Arkansas

Clark, Jewell-Penn

Davidson, Courtney-Navy

Ernest, Heather-Maine

Hardin, Gerlonda-Austin Peay

Hoffman, Ebony-USC

Jones, Chandi-Houston

Mazzante, Kelly-Penn State

McBride, Julie-Syracuse

Mendiola, Giuliana-Washington

Nord, Sara-Louisville

Ohlde, Nicole-Kansas State

Peljito, Hana-Harvard

Perkins, Jia -Texas Tech

Powell, Nicole-Stanford

Reddick, Nikki-Coastal Carolina

Stephens, Stacy-Texas

Stevens, Jenel-Canisius

Taurasi, Diana-Connecticut

Taylor, Lindsay-UC-Santa Barbara

Thomas, Christie-Georgia

Tillis, Iciss-Duke

Villarroel, Maria-Oklahoma

Whalen, Lindsay-Minnesota

Williams, Cricket-San Jose St.

Wright, Shereka-Purdue