NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt senior Christina Wirth was included in the initial list of 30 NCAA women's basketball candidates for the 2008-09 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, presented annually to an NCAA Division I student-athlete in nine sports.
Based on criteria focusing on the "Four C's" of classroom, character, community and competition, the award winners will be selected by national balloting of head basketball coaches, national media and college basketball fans.
Lowe's, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, will present the winners with trophies during the weekends of the respective NCAA Men's and Women's Final Four.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season to honor the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education brings.
The list of 2008-09 basketball candidates includes a range of universities and conferences across the country. All 30 female award candidates hail from a different university. While 18 conferences are included among the list of nominees, the Big 12 Conference again landed the most with five female candidates.
"At Lowe's, we take pride in acknowledging hard work and outstanding accomplishments both on and off the court," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing and advertising. "That commitment extends beyond our employees and customers and into the communities we serve where these student-athletes become real-life mentors.
"We're thrilled to honor each candidate's contributions and look forward to recognizing the award recipients at the men's and women's Final Four."
A national media committee will select 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in February 2009, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. In addition to voting by Division I head basketball coaches and national media, college basketball fans will also be able to submit ballots by text voting or on-line at www.seniorclassaward.com.
The award was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman. It was inspired by the remarkable story of former Duke University basketball player Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick but returned to college for his senior season and led the Blue Devils to the National Championship in 2001.
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is in its eighth year for men's and women's basketball. Previous winners of the men's award include Shan Foster (2008), Juan Dixon of Maryland (2002), David West of Xavier (2003), Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph's (2004), Wayne Simien of Kansas (2005), J.J. Reddick of Duke (2006) and Alando Tucker of Wisconsin (2007).
Recipients of the women's award include Sue Bird of Connecticut (2002), LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State (2003), Alana Beard of Duke (2004), Kendra Wecker of Kansas State (2005), Seimone Augustus of LSU (2006), Alison Bales of Duke (2007) and Candice Wiggins of Stanford (2008).