BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES BUTLER TO FINAL FIVE FOR NANCY LIEBERMAN AWARD
March 19, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today that University of Tennessee at Martin senior guard Heather Butler has been named one of five final candidates for the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award. The award 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 Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame became the new host of the Nancy Lieberman Award in October 2013 after the Rotary Club of Detroit managed it for several years.
“We are thrilled about this list of five deserving women and cannot wait to announce the winner at the Final Four,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “It was not an easy process narrowing down this list, but we are confident each of these players has earned her way to being recognized for their skills and dedication.”
A 5-5 senior out of Medina, Butler was named OVC Player of the Year while taking home All-OVC first team and OVC All-Tournament team selections, ranking ninth in the nation in scoring with a league leading 24.1 points per game. She took home OVC Player of the Week honors five times after becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer with 2,846 career points. Her 2,846 career points rank 18th on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list.
Butler has scored in double figures every game of her career, ranging 128 consecutive games, ranking as the longest active streak in the NCAA. Her mark of 128 games in double figures ranks fifth in NCAA history. This season she eclipsed 20 points or more on 19 separate occasions, adding to her career total of 74 games. She tied the program record for points in a single game with 44 points on two occasions.
The Hall of Fame appointed a premier Selection Committee made up of top college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, Hall of Famers and sports information directors to review the candidates. The original watch list of 29 candidates was narrowed down to 22 in February. The Lieberman Award winner will be announced during Final Four weekend activities.
“It is an honor to be partnering with the Hall of Fame for this prestigious award,” Lieberman said. “Being a part of recognizing the top point guard in women’s college basketball is an absolute honor. These women have truly remarkable abilities and I can’t wait to announce a winner.”
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include last year’s recipient Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Sue Bird (Connecticut), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Connecticut), Lindsey Harding (Duke), Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga), Temeka Johnson (LSU), Kristi Toliver (Maryland), Ivory Latta (North Carolina) and Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State).
2014 Nancy Lieberman Award Final Five
Odyssey Sims, Baylor University
Jerica Coley, Florida International University
Brittany Boyd, University of California
Moriah Jefferson, University of Connecticut
Heather Butler, University of Tennessee at Martin