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The Nancy Lieberman Award, named for Basketball Hall of Fame legend Nancy Lieberman, was given annually by the Rotary Club of Detroit in the Award's first 14 years to the nation's top collegiate point guard in women's Division I basketball.[1] Sue Bird won the inaugural award in 2000—her first of an unmatched three Lieberman Awards. No freshman (first-year player) has ever won the award, and only two players have won as sophomores (second-year players)—Bird in 2000 and Sabrina Ionescu in 2018.

Nancy Lieberman Award
Moriah Jefferson receiving Nancy Lieberman Award cropped.jpg
Moriah Jefferson receiving Nancy Lieberman Award
Awarded forThe nation's top female point guard in NCAA Division I basketball
CountryUnited States
Presented byRotary Club of Detroit (2000–2013)
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2014–present)
Women's Basketball Coaches Association (2018–present)
First awarded2000
Currently held bySabrina Ionescu, Oregon

The award is given to a player who exemplifies "the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Nancy Lieberman during her career".[2] Originally, voting was performed exclusively by sportswriters. The announcement of the winner has coincided with the Final Four weekend, with an award ceremony the following Wednesday which was hosted by the Detroit Rotary Club at the Detroit Athletic Club through 2013.[2] Beginning with the 2014 award to Odyssey Sims of Baylor University, the Nancy Lieberman Award has been presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Final Four proceedings, and is now presented at the annual convention of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

The 2017–18 season started a new era for the award. Since that season, the WBCA has partnered with the Naismith Hall in the presentation of the award. The two bodies also incorporated the Lieberman Award into a new set of awards known as the "Naismith Starting 5", presented at the WBCA convention to players at each of the five traditional basketball positions. These awards parallel a previously existing set of men's basketball positional awards also presented by the Hall. The other four are:[3]

The voting body for the Lieberman Award also changed upon its incorporation into the Naismith Starting 5. Each of the Starting 5 awards is now determined by a selection committee consisting of Hall of Famers, WBCA coaching members, and media, and headed by the award's namesake. Fan voting through the Hall's website is also incorporated into the selection process.

Connecticut is the only program that has produced more than one Lieberman Award recipient, having had four players combine for a total of eight awards (Bird, Diana Taurasi, Renee Montgomery, and Moriah Jefferson). The only other programs with more than one award, Notre Dame and Oregon, each had a single player win two awards, respectively Skylar Diggins and Ionescu.


* Awarded, in addition, a national Player of the Year award:
the Naismith College Player of the Year, Wade Trophy or the John R. Wooden Award
Player (X) Denotes the number of times the player has been awarded the Nancy Lieberman Award


Connecticut's Sue Bird (with ball) is the only player to have won the Nancy Lieberman Award on three occasions.
Season Player School Class
1999–00 Sue Bird[4] Connecticut Sophomore
2000–01 Sue Bird (2)[4] Connecticut Junior
2001–02 Sue Bird* (3)[4] Connecticut Senior
2002–03 Diana Taurasi*[5] Connecticut Junior
2003–04 Diana Taurasi* (2)[5] Connecticut Senior
2004–05 Temeka Johnson LSU Senior
2005–06 Ivory Latta[6] North Carolina Junior
2006–07 Lindsey Harding*[7] Duke Senior
2007–08 Kristi Toliver[8] Maryland Junior
2008–09 Renee Montgomery[9] Connecticut Senior
2009–10 Andrea Riley[10] Oklahoma State Senior
2010–11 Courtney Vandersloot[11] Gonzaga Senior
2011–12 Skylar Diggins[12] Notre Dame Junior
2012–13 Skylar Diggins (2)[12] Notre Dame Senior
2013–14 Odyssey Sims*[13] Baylor Senior
2014–15 Moriah Jefferson Connecticut Junior
2015–16 Moriah Jefferson (2)[14] Connecticut Senior
2016–17 Kelsey Plum*[15] Washington Senior
2017–18 Sabrina Ionescu[16] Oregon Sophomore
2018–19 Sabrina Ionescu* (2)[17] Oregon Junior

Winners by schoolEdit

School Winners Years
Connecticut 8 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2015, 2016
Notre Dame 2 2012, 2013
Oregon 2 2018, 2019
Baylor 1 2014
Duke 1 2007
Gonzaga 1 2011
LSU 1 2005
Maryland 1 2008
North Carolina 1 2006
Oklahoma State 1 2010
Washington 1 2017

See alsoEdit

  • Bob Cousy Award – the counterpart to the Lieberman Award; given to the best men's NCAA point guard


  1. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2009-07-06. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b "The Award Selection Process". Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  3. ^ "Naismith Starting 5". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Sue Bird". History of The WNBA. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  5. ^ a b "Diana Taurasi Poses Nude on ESPN The Magazine Cover | The Wire | Blog". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  6. ^ "Player Bio: Ivory Latta - University of North Carolina Tar Heels Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  7. ^ "Lindsey Harding Bio". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  8. ^ " Prospect: Kristi Toliver". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  9. ^ "Jefferson Wins 2015 Nancy Lieberman Award". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  10. ^ "OSU's Andrea Riley named winner of Lieberman Award -". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  11. ^ "Vandersloot Wins Nancy Lieberman Award As Top Point Guard". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  12. ^ a b "Skylar Diggins Earns Nancy Lieberman Award For Second Consecutive Season". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  13. ^ "Baylor's Sims wins Lieberman Award for top PG". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  14. ^ "Jefferson Wins 2016 Nancy Lieberman Award". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  15. ^ "Kelsey Plum given Nancy Lieberman Award as best point guard". Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  16. ^ "Ducks' Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard among position award winners". March 30, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  17. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, WBCA Name Winners of Five Women's College Basketball Awards" (Press release). Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. April 4, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.