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Niya Johnson One of Five Finalists for Lieberman Award

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For the second straight season, Baylor point guard Niya Johnson is one of five players named as a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today.

The award, now in its 16th year, recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of the award’s namesake. A national committee of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers narrowed the original award watch list from 10 to five.

Johnson, a 5-7 senior, is averaging a nation-best 8.7 assists per game and also leads the nation in total assists with 286. She is the Big 12 Conference’s all-time assist leader with 953 and ranks No. 6 on the NCAA’s career assist list. In addition, Johnson ranks No. 3 nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 3.3. On the season the Gainesville, Fla., native averages 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds a contest and is shooting 49.2 percent from the floor and 73.4 percent from the free throw line.

“The level of play in women’s college basketball this season has been outstanding, which made the selection committee’s task extremely difficult,” said Lieberman. “These five point guards are the best of the best and I look forward to watching them lead their teams in the tournament.”

“The Nancy Lieberman Award finalists are in tremendous company with many legends of the game,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “These women have proven themselves as standout student-athletes and leaders. We wish them well as they head into postseason play.”

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).

The 2016 Lieberman Award winner will be announced during the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Award Show in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Women’s Final Four. For more information on the 2016 Nancy Lieberman Award, log onto www.pointguard.org.

2016 Nancy Lieberman Award Finalists

Niya Johnson, Baylor

Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut

Lindsay Allen, Notre Dame

Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State

Kelsey Plum, Washington

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