Monday, April 06, 2020

Top Players in Each Position Recognized on ESPN’s SportsCenter


Bristol, CT – Today on ESPN’s SportsCenter, the Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association revealed this year’s five positional award winners, also known as the Naismith Starting Five.

In addition to the esteemed Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award which has been presented since 2000, the Basketball Hall of Fame and the WBCA established four additional awards in the 2017-18 season: the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award, Katrina McClain Power Forward Award and Lisa Leslie Center Award. Each award’s namesake headed her own selection committee to evaluate candidates throughout the 2019-20 season. Fans also had the opportunity to weigh-in throughout the season with Starting Five Fan Voting Presented by Dell Technologies.

"The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate the best in the game, men and women at every level,” said John Doleva, President of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “While we share in the sentiment that we would have loved to see these student-athletes playout the 2019-20 season, we are proud to honor them for their accomplishments and present them with awards that will eternally tie them to the greats of the game.”


2020 Women’s Naismith Starting Five:

Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon) - Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year Award

     17.5 pts/gm, 8.6 reb/gm, 9.1 ast/gm, 92.1 ft%, 8 triple-doubles

Aari McDonald (Arizona)- Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award

     20.6 pts/gm, 5.6 reb/gm, 3.6 ast/gm, 2.3 stl/gm

Satou Sabally (Oregon) -Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award

     16.2 pts/gm, 6.9 reb/gm, 2.3 ast/gm, 79.2 ft%

Ruthy Hebard (Oregon) -Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year Award

     17.3 pts/gm, 9.6 reb/gm, 68.5 fg%, 16 double-doubles

Aliyah Boston (South Carolina)- Lisa Leslie Center of the Year

     12.5 pts/gm, 9.4 reb/gm, 60.9 fg%, 2.5 blk/gm


A complete list of finalists can be found below. For more information, visit or follow @hoophall on Instagram and Twitter.


Quotes from Hall of Famers on Naismith Starting Five Award Winners

“Sabrina Ionescu is now in elite company as a back-to-back and only the second, three-time winner of the Lieberman Award. I’m proud to have paved the way, but even prouder of this generation of ball players and the direction the game is headed. Sabrina has cemented herself in basketball history, not just for women, but for all collegiate players, and I can’t wait to see what she will accomplish at the next level of the game.” - Nancy Lieberman, Class of 1996

“Aari McDonald was a force to be reckoned with in the most competitive conference in the nation this season. While selecting a winner from our extremely talented group of finalists was no easy task, Aari has consistently contributed the intangibles to her team and elevated their level of play as a whole.” - Ann Meyers Drysdale, Class of 1993

“Satou Sabally is the total package – an outstanding athlete, tremendous leader, and exceptional teammate. Our committee was extremely impressed by her level of play throughout the season, doing all the right things alongside teammates that typically received a higher level of fanfare and media attention. Satou is undoubtedly ready for the WNBA!” -Cheryl Miller, Class of 1995

“Ruthy Hebard and the Oregon Ducks were nearly unstoppable this season, and while it’s unfortunate we won’t see who would have taken home the championship trophy this season, there is no doubt that Ruthy Hebard was the most dominant power forward. I’m proud to honor Ruthy with the McClain Award for the second time in her outstanding collegiate career.” - Katrina McClain, Class of 2012

“Aliyah Boston is perhaps one of the most talented freshmen the women’s game has ever seen. With her combination of intelligence, athleticism, and coachability, there is no limit to what this young woman can achieve. It was a pleasure to watch Aliyah and her South Carolina teammates under the direction of Hall of Famer Dawn Staley this season.” – Lisa Leslie, Class of 2015


Quotes from Women’s Naismith Starting Five Award Winners

“It’s an honor to receive the Lieberman Award for the third straight year. Congratulations to the other finalists that were up for the award as well. To be able to receive an award named after one of the best basketball players of all-time is humbling. Thank you to my teammates, coaches and everyone that has played a part in helping me along the way.” – Sabrina Ionescu, Nancy Lieberman Award Winner

“First, I want to thank my family, teammates, and coaches. None of these awards and honors would be possible if I didn’t play with the best teammates in the country for the best coaches. They continuously push me to be the best I can be, and I am truly grateful that I have had the opportunity to spend the last three years of my life with them. Thank you to Ann Meyers and the Basketball Hall of Fame for recognizing me with this award. It’s definitely a silver lining to the season that left our program and many others with unfinished business. We’ll come back hungrier next season, to keep pushing and take this program to places it has never been.” – Aari McDonald, Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Winner

“I am beyond thankful to receive this award. It is a reminder of Cheryl Miller’s success and the imprint she made on women’s basketball. I want to thank all of my amazing teammates and coaches who have helped me throughout my journey.” – Satou Sabally, Cheryl Miller Award Winner

“It is a great honor. I am so blessed to be able to win such a respected award not only once, but twice. It means the world to me and I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, coaches and family pushing me to be my best every day. I am so proud of all my team, and especially Satou and Sabrina. It is nice to see all of our hard work recognized and to continue to make history with them.” – Ruthy Hebard, Katrina McClain Award Winner

“Winning this award means so much to me, especially since it is named after one of the best to ever play the game – Lisa Leslie. I want to thank God because it would not have been possible without Him. And, I also want to thank my teammates and coaching staff for helping me to play in a way that is deserving of this award." – Aliyah Boston, Lisa Leslie Award Winner


2020 Nancy Lieberman Award Finalists

Te’a Cooper (Baylor)

Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut)

Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon)

Stella Johnson (Rider)

Tyasha Harris (South Carolina)


2020 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Finalists

Aari McDonald (Arizona)

Haley Gorecki (Duke)

Kathleen Doyle (Iowa)

Dana Evans (Louisville)

Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M)


2020 Cheryl Miller Award Finalists

Megan Walker (Connecticut)

Ashley Joens (Iowa State)

Rhyne Howard (Kentucky)

Satou Sabally (Oregon)

Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA)


2020 Katrina McClain Award Finalists

Lauren Cox (Baylor)

Kiah Gillespie (Florida State)

Naz Hillmon (Michigan)

Ruthy Hebard (Oregon)

Bella Alarie (Princeton)


2020 Lisa Leslie Award Finalists

Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut)

Beatrice Mompremier (Miami)

Elissa Cunane (NC State)

Aliyah Boston (South Carolina)

Brittany Brewer (Texas 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.