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Johnson, Stricklen, & Vandersloot Get Well-Earned Recognition With NCAA Coaches’ All-America Team

Newly minted WBCA all-American, Miami junior Shenise Johnson. <em>(Photo by Kelly Kline/WBCA)</em>
Newly minted WBCA all-American, Miami junior Shenise Johnson. (Photo by Kelly Kline/WBCA)

The announcement of awards wouldn't be complete without some debate.

Given the number of talented players this season, that was especially true for the coaches charged with selecting thethe 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I State Farm Coaches’ All-America Basketball Team.

“The coaches who were selected by their peers to choose this year’s State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team debated for one-and-a-half days, which is the longest deliberation I can recall in my 15 years with this organization,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass in a press release.

Looking at the analysis that accompanied the 2010-11 Full Court Press All-American Team selections certainly provides insight into who some of the next most worthy candidates might be and Kayla Pedersen, Ta'Shia Phillips, Danielle Robinson, and Angel Robinson also deserved top consideration based on their performances this season.

But while Connecticut's Maya Moore gets more well-deserved attention as the first-ever three-time Wade Trophy winner, also noteworthy is three players who probably deserved more attention during the season that got recognition from the coaches committee.

Shenise Johnson, G, Miami

There were few players in the nation better than Johnson this season and just to be clear on what "few" means we're talking Moore and Brittney Griner statistically - Johnson accounted for 28.7% of her team's overall statistical production this season in helping Miami ascend the bottom of the ACC to the top. 

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...junior Shenise Johnson could be considered the team's MVP. With team-highs in three point percentage at 34% and free throw percentage at 86.6%, Johnson is actually the team's most efficient scorer with a true shooting percentage of 60.23% despite not having the team's highest field goal percentage. Toss in 3.2 steals per game - second on the team behind Stroman's 3.3 and just ahead of Williams' 3.0 - and Johnson has been as outstanding, if not moreso, as Williams.

She should probably be considered among the top seniors in the nation next season after all the ACC accolades she pulled in this season, including top defensive honors.

Shekinna Stricklen, F, Tennessee

Nobody can say that Stricklen is a player flying under the radar. But at her best, she has an inside-outside game that easily makes her among the most dangerous players in the nation.

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With that being said this game and this season is all about Stricklen. For a team that has the impression of going so deep, it was a minor shock to see them hang as well as they did in the first half without Stricklen. When she picked up her second foul with 12:56 to go in the first half, it was easy to figure she wouldn't have much impact on the game. She scored 11 of Tennessee's first 25 points in the second half, and was every bit the force they needed her to be. Right now, she has every reason to put her name along Brittany Griner and Maya Moore as the best player in the country. And if everyone else would prefer to think of this team as deep rather than lacking a true star, then so be it. Everyone in the SEC knows better now.

Playing without senior Angie Bjorklund and through the erratic play of their inexperienced ball handlers, Stricklen was a steadying force for the Lady Vols even as more attention was directed toward other players by the media.

In other words, while Johnson has a chance to be the most versatile player in the nation next season, Stricklen could emerge as among the most dominant players in the nation.

Courtney Vandersloot, G, Gonzaga

We have nothing more to say about Vandersloot on this site but after beating the horse into a pulp, it's just worth noting again that this is recognition for an entire season not just a tournament. We can debate how good she'll be as a pro, but she was hands down the best point guard in the nation and it's good to see the point guard everyone said was too small to play in the Pac-10 get recognition at the small school in a slow town in the Northwest. 

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"If there's a finer point guard in the country, I don't know her," said Graves last season. "I think with someone like Courtney, she's a step ahead of the play. She's a step ahead of me most of the time, if you want to know the truth. She sees things that I can't see. She's certainly a special one."

But the fact remains that she was the nation's best point guard before the season, by mid-season, and entering the tournament - the tournament was only an opportunity to reinforce what should have been a given. And Vandersloot was absolutely sensational in her final game in Spokane against the top-seeded Stanford Cardinal in the Elite Eight.