Sunday, April 04, 2021

136,000 Fan Ballots Cast via Starting Five Fan Voting Presented by Dell Technologies


Bristol, Conn. – During ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four in San Antonio, the Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association revealed this year’s five positional award winners, also known as the Women’s Naismith Starting Five. The winners were determined by a combination of input from committees composed of top basketball personnel and over 136,000 votes cast over the course of the season via Starting Five Fan Voting Presented by Dell Technologies. 

In addition to the esteemed Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award which has been presented since 2000, the Basketball Hall of Fame established four additional awards in the 2017-18 season: 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. Each award’s namesake headed her own selection committee to evaluate candidates throughout the 2020-21 season. 

"The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate the best in the game, both men and women at every level,” said John Doleva, President of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “It’s been exciting to watch the popularity of the women’s game grow, and the athletic ability and star power of these award winners has a lot to do with it. Today we honor them for their accomplishments and recognize them as our 2021 Women’s Naismith Starting Five.”


2020-21 Women’s Naismith Starting Five: 


Paige Bueckers (Connecticut, Fr.) – Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year Award 

20.0 pts/gm, 4.9 reb/gm, 5.8 ast/gm, 86.9 ft%, 


Ashley Owusu (Maryland, So.) – Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award 

17.9 pts/gm, 5.6 reb/gm, 5.9 ast/gm, 1.3 stl/gm


Ashley Joens (Iowa St., Jr.)   Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award

24.2 pts/gm, 9.5 reb/gm, 1.6 ast/gm, 88.3 ft%


NaLyssa Smith (Baylor, Jr.) – Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year Award

18.0 pts/gm, 8.9 reb/gm, 1.2 stl/gm, 56.1 fg% 


Aliyah Boston (South Carolina, So.) – Lisa Leslie Center of the Year Award

13.7 pts/gm, 11.5 reb/gm, 1.6 ast/gm, 2.6 blk/gm 


Quotes from Women’s Naismith Starting Five Award Winners

“I’d like to thank Nancy Lieberman, the Basketball Hall of Fame and the WBCA for this award. Nancy is a legendary player and point guard, and it’s surreal to receive this honor as a freshman. I wouldn’t be here without my teammates and coaches. Credit goes to them for being with me and having my back all season.” – Paige Bueckers (Connecticut), Nancy Lieberman Award Winner

“I am so honored to win this special award, named after a player like Ann Meyers Drysdale. I’d like to thank everyone that voted for me. I wouldn’t receive any accolades without the help from my teammates, coaches and family. I am just a sophomore, so I can only hope to achieve some of the success Ann Meyers Drysdale had.” – Ashley Owusu (Maryland)Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Winner

“It is such an honor to be the recipient of this award. Cheryl Miller had an amazing career that helped pave the way for women’s basketball, not only on the court, but off the court as well. To win this award and be considered the best small forward in the country this season is a great honor, especially with all the other great players that were considered for this award. This wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates and coaches. They have pushed me each and every day to continue to get better.” – Ashley Joens (Iowa St.), Cheryl Miller Award Winner 

“I’m extremely honored to receive such a prestigious award and very grateful for the recognition. I have faced several challenges along the way, but each one has only strengthened me to make me the person I am today. Receiving this award would not have been possible without the inspiration from God, my family, my coaches and my teammates. I would sincerely like to thank the selection committee and Katrina McClain for recognizing me for all the hard work and dedication that I put into women’s college basketball, where I can proudly hold up this award as a mark of my achievement. I also promise to only get better at my craft, so that I can provide a path and vision for the future up and coming Katrina McClain award winners.” – NaLyssa Smith (Baylor), Katrina McClain Award Winner

“I thank God for allowing me to win this award again and for blessing me with amazing teammates and coaches who continue to push me every day to be the player that I am. This award means so much to me because Lisa Leslie was such a beast on the court, and to know that she thinks so highly of my game is an honor.” – Aliyah Boston (South Carolina), Lisa Leslie Award Winner


2021 Women’s Naismith Starting Five Finalists


Nancy Lieberman Award Finalists 

Aari McDonald (Arizona)

Didi Richards (Baylor)

Paige Bueckers (Connecticut)

Caitlin Clark (Iowa)

Tiana Mangakahia (Syracuse)


Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Finalists

Chelsea Dungee (Arkansas)

Dana Evans (Louisville)

Ashley Owusu (Maryland)

Arella Guirantes (Rutgers)

Zia Cooke (South Carolina)


Cheryl Miller Award Finalists

Ashley Joens (Iowa State)

Rhyne Howard (Kentucky)

Haley Jones (Stanford)

Rennia Davis (Tennessee)

Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA)


Katrina McClain Award Finalists 

Jasmine Walker (Alabama)

NaLyssa Smith (Baylor)

Naz Hillmon (Michigan)

Natasha Mack (Oklahoma State)

Maddy Siegrist (Villanova)


Lisa Leslie Award Finalists 

Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut)

Elissa Cunane (NC State)

Aliyah Boston (South Carolina)

Charli Collier (Texas)

Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech)


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:, 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, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.