March 3, 1999
Raleigh, N.C. – Semeka Randall, the sophomore guard at Tennessee, was a clear choice for the 1999 National Defensive Player of the Year by The Women’s Basketball Journal. The WBJ editors received input from over 50 Division I coaches from the across the nation before naming the publication’s Defensive All-America teams. The overwhelming support for Randall forced WBJ to alter its plans for the team.
“Going in, we weren’t expecting to single out one player as the Defensive Player of the Year, but the response from the coaches left us with no choice,” said WBJ executive editor Doug Herakovich. “I would say that 90 percent of the coaches we spoke to mentioned Randall before they mentioned any other player.”
Randall, a 5-10 guard from Cleveland, Ohio, spearheads Tennessee’s aggressive, pressing defense. Although she doesn’t have impressive statistics (1.8 steals per game), coaches consistently noted her impact. “I really, really like her,” said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. “She can be so disruptive to a team with her athleticism and ability to apply defensive pressure. I really think she is a key for that team because of her defensive ability.”
Randall has a rare combination of intensity and physical skills. “I think Chamique (Holdsclaw) is good, but Semeka is even better. She takes it personally,” explained Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini. “Semeka is just so powerful,” added USA Basketball head coach Nell Fortner.
“Her body is so strong that when she applies pressure, it’s intimidating. She reminds me a lot of Ruthie Bolton. They are both so strong that when you push off on them, they don’t move. They force the offensive player to adjust. “Semeka is the type of player who can change the course of a game with her defense.”
Here is a look at the complete WBJ Defensive All-America Team: 1999 WBJ Defensive All-Americans
First Team Cl. Pos. School HometownSemeka Randall So. G Tennessee Cleveland, OhioMery Andrade Sr. F Old Dominion Lisbon, PortugalLatasha Dorsey Sr. G LSU Abbeville, La.Nicole Kubik Jr. G Nebraska Cambridge, Neb.Roxanne McCrory Jr. G Colorado State Kansas City, Mo.
Second Team Itoro Umoh Sr. G Clemson Hephzibah, Ga. Dominique Canty Sr. G Alabama Chicago, Ill. Chamique HoldsclawSr. F Tennessee Astoria, N.Y. Ruth Riley So. C Notre Dame Macy, Ind. DeMya Walker Sr. C Virginia Mount Holly, N.J.
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