OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The University of Connecticut's high-powered senior duo of Moriah Jefferson (Glenn Heights, Texas) and Breanna Stewart (North Syracuse, N.Y.) were named as finalists for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award in women's basketball, as announced on Thursday.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Jefferson, the 2015 Nancy Lieberman Award winner, has enjoyed a stellar senior campaign, leading the American Athletic Conference in assists per game (5.6), steals per game (3.0) and assists-to-turnover ratio (2.6). On the ball, she is one of seven Huskies shooting over 50.0 percent from the field (58.8) and has a team-best 135 assists and 71 steals. She is averaging 13.8 points in 31.2 minutes per outing and has reached double figures in scoring in the last 11 games.
Stewart is pushing out 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this season. She places in the top-10 in numerous statistical categories in the conference, including field goal percentage (.592), free throw percentage (.814) and blocks per game (3.3). The North Syracuse, N.Y. native ranks second on UConn's all-time scoring list with 2,431 points and has 368 career blocks, just three blocks away from moving into second past Kara Wolters (370) on the all-time blocks list.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Among the 60 candidates, all are in excellent academic standing with 10 having grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher. Five of this year's candidates were 2014-15 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-Americans®, and 20 returned to the court this season after receiving All-America honors for their performance a year ago.
The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four® and NCAA Women's Final Four®.