Center of attention: Preseason watch list for the Lisa Leslie Award is announced

The Hall of Fame and WBCA save the biggest for last as they announce the watch list for the nation’s top centers.

When it comes to the women who rule the paint, the Big 12 will flex its collective muscle this season.  That’s certainly what the committee for the Lisa Leslie Award appears to believe.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced the watch list for the award on Friday. The Lisa Leslie Award goes to the nation’s top center. It is the last piece of the Women’s Starting Five that also includes the winners of the Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Cheryl Miller, and Katrina McClain awards.

The winner, along with the winners of the other four awards, will be announced in Los Angeles on April 10, 2020 at The College Basketball Awards. The preseason watch list will be fine-tuned over the course of the season as candidates play themselves onto or off of the list. Beginning on Friday, Oct. 25, fans can also vote on the awards during the first three rounds.

Of the 20 players on the preseason watch list, four come from the Big XII. That quartet is led by Queen Egbo of the defending national champion Baylor Lady Bears. Egbo joins four of her teammates on the preseason watch lists. Last year’s tournament champions are the only team to feature a possible winner at each position of the Women’s Starting Five.

The other three Big XII representatives on the Lisa Leslie Award preseason watch list are Kristin Scott (Iowa State), Charli Collier (Texas), and Brittany Brewer (Texas Tech).

Three conferences feature three representatives each: the ACC, the Big Ten, and the SEC.

The ACC is represented by Beatrice Mompremier (Miami), Elisa Cunane (NC State), and Janelle Bailey (North Carolina). They are joined by the Big Ten’s Shakira Austin (Maryland), Kate Cain (Nebraska), and Ae’Rianna Harris (Purdue). Aliyah Boston (South Carolina), Ciera Johnson, and Mariella Fasoula (Vanderbilt) land on the list out of the SEC.

The rest of the list consists of Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut/AAC), Kayla Cooper-Williams (James Madison/Colonial), Nancy Mulkey (Rice/C-USA), Eleah Parker (Penn/Ivy League), Maya Dodson (Stanford/Pac-12), and Bayley Plummer (Appalachian State/Sun Belt).

Last year, the Lisa Leslie Award was taken home by Megan Gustafson, who also won the AP Player of the Year, the espnW National Player of the Year, the Naismith Trophy, and the USBWA Player of the Year. The Iowa graduate led the nation in scoring with 27.8 points per game and added 13.4 rebounds per game to average a double-double. She was drafted by the Dallas Wings.

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