Kenisha Bell, Minnesota
Bell is averaging 19 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game this season. She has started all 24 games for the Gophers, playing an average of 34-plus minutes per game. Currently she is shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range and 67.7 percent from the free-throw line. She entered the season ranked fifth in team history for scoring average at 18.1 points per game. She also ranked seventh in assists (371), eight in free-throw percentage (.751) and ninth in free-throw attempts (438).
As a redshirt junior, Bell was a finalist for WBCA Coaches’ All-America. She was a unanimous All-Big Ten first team honoree and selected to the Big Ten Defensive Team. She also set a Minnesota Tournament record with 10 assists and 14 free-throw attempts in a game against Ohio State where she also scored 27 points. Before transferring to Minnesota, she played at Marquette where she was unanimously selected to the 2014-15 Big East All-Freshman Team.
Jessica Shepard, Notre Dame
Shepard is currently averaging 15.6 points per game while shooting 60.4 percent from the field. She is also averaging 9.7 rebounds per game for Notre Dame, which is currently ranked No. 6 in the USA Today Division I Coaches’ Poll. She is averaging over 28 minutes played per game and has 75 assists so far in her senior year. For her career, entering this season, she has scored double figures in 83 games with 37 20-point games and four 30-point games.
Last year, as a junior, Shepard helped lead Notre Dame to a national championship. In the title game, she led the team in scoring and her 80 percent field-goal percentage was the third best all-time in a NCAA Championship game. For the entire tournament, she averaged 19 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. She was a member of the Women’s Final Four all-tournament team and the All-ACC first team. She was also a member of the All-ACC Tournament second team and was on the Naismith Trophy Watch List.
The weekly Wade Watch Spotlight recognizes players on this season’s Wade Watch list of candidates for the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award, which the WBCA presents each year to the best player in college women’s basketball.