Top Twenty Female Collegiate Centers Named to Watch List
SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the 20 watch list candidates for the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award. Named after the three-time All-American and 1994 National Player of the Year, the annual award in its inaugural year recognizes the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
“Before Lisa Leslie became one of the most recognizable faces of the WNBA, she was a collegiate center unlike any other,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Her impact was immediate as the best freshman in the collegiate game and she continued to develop her skills becoming more impactful each season. Her work ethic and dedication are certainly admirable traits any young athlete should aspire to emulate.”
The Selection Committee for the Lisa Leslie Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Leslie and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist at www.hoophallawards.com.
The winner of the 2018 Lisa Leslie Center Award will be announced during ESPN2’s telecast of the national semifinal games in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 30. Additional awards being presented include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, the Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award and the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award, as well as the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award.
“I am honored to be a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and now the namesake of the Center of the Year Award,” said Lisa Leslie, a 2016 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The women on this watch list are so deserving of this honor and I can’t wait to see how they will make an impact for their teams this season.”
For more information on the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award, visit www.hoophallawards.com.
2018 Lisa Leslie Award Candidates
Kalani Brown - Baylor
Azura Stevens - Connecticut
Becca Jones - Drake University
Erin Mathias - Duke
Chatrice White - Florida State
Alyssa Rice - Kentucky
Hallie Thome - Michigan
Teaira McCowan - Mississippi State
Cierra Porter - Missouri
Akela Maize - NC State
Vionise Pierre-Louis - Oklahoma
Kaylee Jensen - Oklahoma State
Marie Gulich - Oregon State
A'ja Wilson - South Carolina
Alanna Smith - Stanford
Mercedes Russell - Tennessee
Khaalia Hillsman - Texas A&M
Monique Billings - UCLA
Kristen Simon - USC
Emily Potter - Utah
*Players can play their way on to and off of the list at any point in the 2017-18 season*
About Lisa Leslie: Widely regarded as the best player in the country during her senior year of high school, Leslie decided to play basketball close to home at University of Southern California. While at USC, she set Pac-10 records for scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, earning All-Pac-10 honors each of her four seasons. In 1991, she was named national freshman of the year and went on to earn All-American Honors the following three seasons. In her senior season, she won multiple national player of the year awards, including the Naismith College Player of the Year and the WBCA Player of the Year. In the summer of 1997, the Women's National Basketball Association was launched and with it, Lisa Leslie became a household name. The Los Angeles Sparks landed the hometown star, who would go on to help them win two world championships. As an eight-time All-Star and three-time MVP, Leslie became the face of the WNBA. In 2002, she became the first player to dunk in a WNBA game. Leslie retired as the all-time leading rebounder in WNBA history and was an eight-time First Team All-WNBA performer. Internationally, Leslie won four gold medals in Olympic competition. Since retiring from professional play, Leslie has worked as a sports commentator and analyst for several networks, while exploring fashion modeling and acting as well.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.
For more information:
Visit us online: www.hoophallawards.com
… on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BHOF
… on Twitter/Instagram: @hoophall #LeslieAward
… or call 1-877-4-HOOPLA
About the WBCA: Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to those organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport.
For more information:
Visit us online: www.WBCA.org
… on Facebook: www/facebook.com/WBCA1981/
… on Twitter/Instagram: @wbca1981
… or call 770-279-8027