The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that senior guard Niya Johnson is once again a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award.
For the sixteenth year, the top point guard in the NCAA Women’s Division I is recognized with the award, and this year’s winner will be announced during the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Award Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, during the Women’s Final Four.
Joining Johnson as finalists are Connecticut senior Moriah Jefferson, Notre Dame junior Lindsay Allen, Ohio State sophomore Kelsey Mitchell, and Washington junior Kelsey Plum.
With all five players making their mark on the court for their team, all are worthy of receiving the award.
“The level of play in women’s college basketball this season has been outstanding, which made the selection committee’s task extremely difficult,” Lieberman said. “These five point guards are the best of the best, and I look forward to watching them lead their teams in the tournament.”
Johnson has helped lead the Lady Bears to back-to-back Big 12 titles and Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships. Leading the nation with 8.7 assists per game and a total so far of 286, Johnson has made her mark in women’s basketball.
“I know there are some point guards that score more than Niya Johnson, but there is not a point guard in the country that runs the thing better than she does,” said Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littell. “About getting the ball where it needs to be, throwing the loop pass to the post players inside. Point guards make everyone around them better; obviously she makes everyone around her better.”
Johnson will be look to earn the award just as Odyssey Sims did for Baylor in 2014. While averaging only 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, Johnson is the Big 12 all-time leader with 953 and is sixth on the NCAA’s list.
“The Nancy Lieberman Award finalists are in tremendous company with many legends of the game,” said President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, John L. Doleva. “These women have proven themselves as standout student-athletes and leaders. We wish them well as they head into post-season play.”