“Naismith Starting Five” Fan Voting to Open Today at HoophallAwards.com
Springfield, Mass. — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the five finalists for the 2020 Lisa Leslie Award. Named after the three-time All-American,1994 National Player of the Year and Class of 2015 Hall of Famer, the annual award in its third year recognizes the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
The five finalists for the 2020 Lisa Leslie Award are Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut), Beatrice Mompremier (Miami), Elissa Cunane (NC State), Aliyah Boston (South Carolina) and Brittany Brewer (Texas Tech).
“Lisa Leslie is one of the most loved players in the game from her college days at USC to the WNBA,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “She was a tremendous competitor the skillset she possessed remains the benchmark for success. Her insights will be greatly appreciated and valued as the winner is decided in the coming weeks.”
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. Fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalists when the Starting Five Fan Voting goes live on Friday, March 13 via www.hoophallawards.com.
“I am so grateful to be the namesake of such a prestigious award, and all of the finalists are so deserving of this recognition,” said Lisa Leslie, Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2015. “It has been a joy to watch them all season and as it comes to a close, I look forward to seeing these young women play their best basketball.”
The winner of the 2020 Lisa Leslie Center Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 10, 2020, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five. 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, in addition to the Men’s Starting Five.
Previous winners of the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year Award include Megan Gustafson, Iowa (2019) and A’ja Wilson, South Carolina (2018). For more information on the 2020 Lisa Leslie Award and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #LeslieAward on Twitter and Instagram.
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 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, follow @wbca1981 or call 1-770-279-8027.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.