SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - University of Connecticut senior point guard Moriah Jefferson (Glenn Heights, Texas) has been selected as one of five finalists for the 2016 Nancy Lieberman Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Monday. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making abilities and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
Since its inception in 2000, four Huskies have taken home the award a total of seven times. UConn point guards earned the honors in the first five consecutive years of its existence, with Sue Bird earning the award its first three years (2000-2002) and Diana Taurasi receiving the accolades in the subsequent two years after Bird (2003, 2004). Renee Montgomery nabbed the honor in 2009 and Jefferson was the last Husky to net the award in 2015.
The Selection Committee for the Nancy Lieberman Award is composed of top women's college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. The list will be narrowed down to five finalists in early March. The Lieberman Award winner will be announced during the WBCA Award Show in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Women's Final Four.
Jefferson, who became the sixth-ever Husky to be chosen as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, has enjoyed a stellar senior campaign. The Texan is averaging 12.6 points in 30.7 minutes per outing through 32 games this season en route to a spot on the All-Conference First Team. In total, she leads the team in assists (167) and steals (83) and is one of six Huskies shooting over 50.0 percent from the floor (55.1). Her 2.7 steals per game and 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio regular season averages top the American Athletic Conference.
The outstanding senior joined Jennifer Rizzotti as the only Huskies to tally 600 career assists and 300 career steals on Feb. 27. She tallied her third consecutive season with at least 150 assists on her way to helping UConn win its third-straight American Athletic Conference Championship and earning a spot on the All-Tournament squad.
Earlier this month, she was named a “Wade Watch” candidate, semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy and finalist for the Wooden Award and Staley Award.
UConn will await seeding and pairing for the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The bracket will be announced on Monday, March 14 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.