“Naismith Starting 5” Fan Voting to Open Friday, March 15 at HoophallAwards.com
Springfield, Mass. — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the five finalists for the 2019 Nancy Lieberman Award. Now in its twentieth year, the award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. To be considered to this prestigious award, candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Class of 1996 Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 student-athletes in October, which was narrowed to 10 candidates in February and now just five finalists. This month, the finalists will be presented to Ms. Lieberman and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2019 Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans are encouraged to visit www.HoophallAwards.com to cast their votes March 15-29.
“The five finalists for this year’s award are truly incredible and a testament to how far the game has come,” said Nancy Lieberman, Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 1996. “I’m blessed to have been a part of paving the way for women in the game and I look forward to watching these young women compete for a championship in the coming weeks.”
The five finalists for the 2019 Nancy Lieberman Award are Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut), Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon), Destiny Slocum (Oregon St.), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina) and Tiana Mangakahia (Syracuse).
The winner of the 2019 Lieberman Award will be revealed in partnership with the WBCA at the College Women’s Basketball Award Show at the Final Four in Tampa, Florida. Additional awards being presented and recognized at the award show include the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, the Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award, the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award and the Lisa Leslie Center Award. Also being awarded is the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award which is presented annually by the WBCA’s community of coaches to the best player in college women’s basketball.
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (2018), Kelsey Plum, Washington (2017), Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut (2015-16), Odyssey Sims, Baylor (2014), Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame (2012-13), Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga (2011), Andrea Riley, Oklahoma State (2010), Renee Montgomery, Connecticut (2009), Kristi Toliver, Maryland (2008), Lindsey Harding, Duke (2007), Ivory Latta, North Carolina (2006), Temeka Johnson, LSU (2005), Diana Taurasi, Connecticut (2003-04), and Sue Bird, Connecticut (2000-02).
For more information and the latest updates on the 2019 Nancy Lieberman Award, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #LiebermanAward on Twitter and Instagram.
About Nancy Lieberman:
Playing hoops on the rough-and-tumble Harlem courts, Brooklyn-bred Nancy Lieberman learned to play a physical, aggressive style of basketball unlike other women of her time. As a 5'10" point guard, Lieberman was taller than many of the guards of her era, and her ability to drive to the hoop, dish out assists, and grab hard-fought rebounds served her well during her stellar career. Lieberman led Old Dominion University to back-to-back AIAW national championships in 1979 and 1980. In 1986, she signed to be the first women to play in a men’s professional league in the USBL with the Springfield Fame and in 1987 with the Long Island Knights. She was twice named as the Wade Trophy winner — a basketball first. As the nation's top female athlete during those two seasons, Lieberman was the two-time winner of the Broderick Cup as well. Lieberman played professionally in the Women's Professional Basketball League, Women's American Basketball Association, United States Basketball League, Women's National Basketball Association and with the Washington Generals. Earning WBL MVP honors with the Dallas Diamonds in 1981, she led the team to the 1984 WABA championship and was league MVP. In 2011, she was the first women Head Coach hired in the NBA D-League for the Dallas Mavericks affiliate the Texas Legends. In 2015, she became only the second women hired as an Assistant Coach in the NBA with the Sacramento Kinds. She was named a recipient of the 2017 Mannie Jackson Basketball’s Human Spirit Award for her on-going philanthropic work across the country through her Nancy Lieberman Charities, changing the lives of underserved youth across the country. In 2018 Nancy Lieberman became the 1st Female Head Coach in a Men’s Professional League with the BIG3 League for team Power. Nancy lead team Power to a 2018 Championship victory and was selected Coach of the Year. Being the first female in history to be awarded Coach of the Year.
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.