INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (April 3, 2016) – Today at the Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Moriah Jefferson from the University of Connecticut as the winner of the 2016 Nancy Lieberman Award. Now in its fifteenth year, the award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
“Moriah Jefferson proved to be the best point guard in women’s college basketball last season and she hasn’t let up this year,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “It’s her continuous tenacity and pursuit of excellence that has set her apart and allows her to be mentioned among the greatest point guards to have ever played the game, such as Nancy Lieberman herself.”
Jefferson, a senior from Glenn Heights, Texas has had an exceptional career at UConn, including taking home the Lieberman Award in 2015. She has earned All-America honors from the WBCA and the USBWA twice and was selected as an Associated Press First Team All-American on March 28. In her stellar senior campaign, she is averaging 12.6 points in 30.5 minutes per game, while shooting 55 percent from the floor and leading the Huskies with 192 assists. She will finish her career in second place on UConn’s all-time steals list and enters the national semifinal one-assist shy of Diana Taurasi’s school record of 648 career helpers. An outstanding defender, Jefferson was honored as the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday, April 2.
“To come from freshman year, when Moriah was completely unsure of herself and didn’t know how to use all the skills that she has, to where she is today is a testament to her work ethic and determination,” said Geno Auriemma, head coach of the Connecticut women’s basketball team. “Today, Moriah is someone who is in complete control of herself and our team. I haven’t seen anybody better. I think I have seen most of the good teams and most of the good players, but I haven’t seen anybody better than her on any team. None. Zero. Moriah is right there with the best guards we have ever had at UConn.”
The original watch list of 10 candidates was narrowed to five before Jefferson was selected as the recipient of the award by a premier selection committee made up of top college basketball personnel including Nancy Lieberman and other Hall of Famers, media members, head coaches and sports information directors appointed by the Hall of Fame.
“When it comes to college point guards, few are better than Moriah statistically or in a leadership role” Lieberman said. “As a recipient of this award, she is in elite company and I expect she will find great success at the next level of the game.”
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut (2015), 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 2015 Nancy Lieberman Award, log onto www.pointguard.org.
About Nancy Lieberman: Nancy "Lady Magic" Lieberman is a true pioneer in women's sports. Her extensive resume includes Assistant Coach of the NBA's Sacramento Kings, head coach of the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, WNBA player and coach, general manager, sports broadcaster for ABC, NBC, ESPN, and FOX Sports Southwest, motivational speaker, and author. In addition, Nancy Lieberman is a Basketball Hall of Famer, two-time Olympian, three-time All American, two-time collegiate national champion and a two-time National Player of the Year at Old Dominion University. She is also the founder of Nancy Lieberman Charities and Basketball Camps. For more information visit www.nancyliebermancharities.org.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.
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