Neal Named To Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List

Written by: NMSU Athletic Dept.

ATLANTA, GA - Senior forward Sherell Neal of the New Mexico State women’s basketball team was named to the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List, presented by AT&T, as was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Neal, who is the WAC’s active career leading scorer and rebounder with 1,107 points and 809 rebounds, has helped guide the Aggies to an 8-2 start to the season, which is tied for the third best start in program history. She currently ranks in the top 10 in the WAC in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals and blocked shots.

In the Aggies' first game of the season Neal scored a season high 19 points to push her over 1,000 career points, becoming the 16th Aggie ever to do so. Her 809 career rebounds has her in seventh place on the Aggies all-time list and she currently ranks second in career blocked shots with 111.

On the season, Neal is averaging 12.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 1.7 blocks and is shooting 50 percent from the field.

"It's nice she is receiving recognition for all the hard work she has put in since she came here," head coach Darin Spence said. "She has steadily increased the level of her game over the years and we are very proud of her, not only for her success and leadership on the court, but because she is such a good person."

Last year she became the first Aggie to earn All-WAC accolades since NMSU joined the conference in June 2005. Neal is also two-time academic all-conference honoree.

Hawai‘i senior Tanya Smith was the only other player from the WAC named to the watch list.

The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s players of the year. The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2007-08 campaign. There are 27 seniors, 18 juniors and five sophomores on the list, which does not include incoming freshmen, who will be considered in the first ballot in January, 2008.

AT&T will continue to set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining this year’s winner. Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25-percent of the final results – more than any other national college basketball award.

In January, the Naismith Trophy voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, will narrow its preseason list to the Top-30 players in the nation. Those players will be eligible for the final ballot in March. In April, the Naismith Trophy winner will be recognized at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Fla.

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