Naismith Starting Five” Fan Voting to Open Friday, March 13 at HoophallAwards.com
Springfield, Mass. (Mar. 9, 2020) — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the five finalists for the 2020 Nancy Lieberman Award. Now in its twenty-first year, the award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. To be considered for this prestigious award, candidates must exhibit the floor leadership, playmaking and ball-handling skills of Class of 1996 Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
The five finalists for the 2020 Nancy Lieberman Award are Te’a Cooper (Baylor), Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut), Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon), Stella Johnson (Rider), and Tyasha Harris (South Carolina).
“The finalists on this list have shown the skill and dedication to the game that Nancy Lieberman showed throughout her career,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “We look forward to watching them finish their season, and hearing from Ms. Lieberman as her insights are greatly appreciated as we evaluate each player.”
The Selection Committee for the Nancy Lieberman 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’m blessed to have been able to pave the way for female-athletes, and I have loved watching how this group of women has taken that momentum and elevated the game to new heights,” said Nancy Lieberman, Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 1996. “I sincerely look forward to watching these young women put together their best performances of the season and compete for a championship in the coming weeks.”
The winner of the 2020 Lieberman Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 10, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five. Additional awards being presented 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, in addition to the Men’s Starting Five. Additional information about the telecast will be released by ESPN in the coming weeks.
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (2018-19), 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 on the 2020 Nancy Lieberman Award and the latest updates, 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. She scored over 2,400 pts, 1,100 rebs and 961 ast as she led the Lady Monarchs to a 125-15 record. 1 WNIT Title and back to back Nat’l Championships in 1979 and 1980 (102-6 her last 3 years)
Before her illustrious career began at ODU, Nancy made the 1975 USA Pan Am team that won the Gold Medal in Mexico City she was a HS Jr at Far Rockaway HS at the time. 1976 as a member of the USA’s first Women’s Olympic which won the Silver Medal. Team Lieberman made history by being the youngest Olympian in basketball ever, male or female (which still stand today) Lieberman led Old Dominion University to back-to-back AIAW national championships in 1979 and 1980. She was twice named as the Wade Trophy winner — a basketball first as the nation's top female athlete during those two seasons, 3-time All-American. Lieberman was the two-time winner of the Broderick Cup as well., Lieberman played professionally in the first women’s pro league in the WBL 1980-81 and in 1984 in the WABA. Earning WBL MVP honors with the Dallas Diamonds in 1981, she led the team to the 1984 WABA championship and was league MVP
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 joined the 1987 Harlem Globetrotter world tour with the Washington Generals. 1997 Lieberman made history in the inaugural season of the WNBA, playing for the Phoenix Mercury at the age of 39 and in 2008 playing for the Detroit Shock at age 50! Her coaching career started in 1998 as the Head Coach/GM for the Detroit Shock taking the Shock to the playoffs in year 2. In 2011, she was the first women Head Coach hired in the NBA D-League for the Dallas Mavericks affiliate the Texas Legends and led them to the playoffs. 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, becoming the first female in history to be awarded Coach of the Year. Follow Nancy on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @Nancylieberman and go to nancyliebermancharities.org for more information.
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.