Nancy Lieberman Award

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Nancy Lieberman Award
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 byCaitlin Clark, Iowa

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, making her the first of only two players to have won three Lieberman Awards. Paige Bueckers is the first freshman (first-year player) to win the award in 2021, and only three players have won as sophomores (second-year players)—Bird in 2000; the other three-time winner, Sabrina Ionescu, in 2018; and Caitlin Clark in 2022.

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 Five", presented at the WBCA convention (except in 2020, when the convention was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic) 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 Five. Each of the Starting Five 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.

UConn is the only program that has produced more than one Lieberman Award recipient, having had five players combine for a total of nine awards (Bird, Diana Taurasi, Renee Montgomery, Moriah Jefferson and Bueckers). The only other programs with more than one award, Iowa, Notre Dame, and Oregon, have each had a single player win all of that program's awards, respectively Clark (twice), Skylar Diggins (twice) and Ionescu (three times).


* 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 received the Nancy Lieberman Award


UConn's Sue Bird (with ball) is the first player to have won the Nancy Lieberman Award on three occasions.
Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon is the second three-time winner of this award.
Season Player School Class Ref.
1999–2000 Sue Bird UConn[a] Sophomore [4]
2000–01 Sue Bird (2) UConn[a] Junior [4]
2001–02 Sue Bird* (3) UConn[a] Senior [4]
2002–03 Diana Taurasi* UConn[a] Junior [5]
2003–04 Diana Taurasi* (2) UConn[a] Senior [5]
2004–05 Temeka Johnson LSU Senior
2005–06 Ivory Latta North Carolina Junior [6]
2006–07 Lindsey Harding* Duke Senior [7]
2007–08 Kristi Toliver Maryland Junior [8]
2008–09 Renee Montgomery UConn[a] Senior [9]
2009–10 Andrea Riley Oklahoma State Senior [10]
2010–11 Courtney Vandersloot Gonzaga Senior [11]
2011–12 Skylar Diggins Notre Dame Junior [12]
2012–13 Skylar Diggins (2) Notre Dame Senior [12]
2013–14 Odyssey Sims* Baylor Senior [13]
2014–15 Moriah Jefferson UConn Junior
2015–16 Moriah Jefferson (2) UConn Senior [14]
2016–17 Kelsey Plum* Washington Senior [15]
2017–18 Sabrina Ionescu Oregon Sophomore [16]
2018–19 Sabrina Ionescu* (2) Oregon Junior [17]
2019–20 Sabrina Ionescu* (3) Oregon Senior [18]
2020–21 Paige Bueckers* UConn Freshman [19]
2021–22 Caitlin Clark Iowa Sophomore [20]
2022–23 Caitlin Clark* (2) Iowa Junior [21]

Winners by school[edit]

School Winners Years
UConn 9 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2021
Oregon 3 2018, 2019, 2020
Iowa 2 2022, 2023
Notre Dame 2 2012, 2013
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 also[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b c d e f The University of Connecticut's official athletic brand name was "Connecticut" until 2013–14.


  1. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  2. ^ a b "The Award Selection Process". Archived from the original on 2008-05-10. 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". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. 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". Archived from the original on 2018-01-01. 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.
  18. ^ "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 6, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  19. ^ "Basketball Hall of Fame Reveals Winners of Women's Naismith Starting Five Awards" (Press release). Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. April 4, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  20. ^ "Basketball Hall of Fame & Women's Basketball Coaches Association Announce Winners of Women's Naismith Starting Five Awards" (Press release). Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. April 3, 2022. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  21. ^ "CAITLIN CLARK WINS NANCY LIEBERMAN AWARD" (Press release). University Of Iowa. April 1, 2023. Retrieved April 1, 2023.