Wilson, Harris earn nods on midseason watch lists

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina senior A’ja Wilson and sophomore Tyasha Harris earned spots on their positional national player of the year watch lists this week. Wilson is one of 10 candidates for the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award, while Harris is on The Dawn Staley Award Midseason Watch List.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the WBCA announced the Lisa Leslie Award watch list Friday and will narrow the field to five finalists in March. The annual award to recognize the top center in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball is in its inaugural season and is named for three-time All-American, 1994 National Player of the Year and 2015 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Lisa Leslie.

Wilson remains a dominant force in her final season at South Carolina, ranking in the top 15 in the nation in points (7th, 22.7), rebounds (14, 11.5) and blocked shots (3rd, 3.7). The Hopkins, S.C., native has netted 25 or more points 11 times this season and is second in the SEC with a team-high 15 double-doubles, which ranks her fifth in the nation. When the spotlight shines the brightest, Wilson answers, averaging 20.9 points and 12.0 rebounds in eight games against nationally ranked foes this season.

The Dawn Staley award is in its fifth season sponsored by The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia to recognize the player who exemplifies the skills that Staley possessed throughout her career – ball handling, scoring, ability to distribute the basketball and will to win.

Harris has continued her steady growth at the point guard spot for the Gamecocks, expanding her scoring while continuing to deliver quality looks for her teammates. She has six double-doubles this season with points and assists and ranks 16th in the nation with 6.5 assists per game, which complements her 11.3 points per game. Her scoring average rises to 13.7 points per SEC contest and ticks up yet again against nationally ranked opponents to 14.0.

Harris and Wilson lead the No. 7/6 Gamecocks back into SEC action on Mon., Feb. 5, when they travel to No. 2/2 Mississippi State for a 7 p.m. (ET) tipoff on ESPN2.

Lisa Leslie Award Watch List

Monique Billings, UCLA
Kalani Brown, Baylor

Marie Gulich, Oregon State

Megan Gustafson, Iowa

Kaylee Jensen, Oklahoma State

Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State

Mercedes Russell, Tennessee

Azura Stevens, UConn

Hallie Thome, Michigan

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

The Dawn Staley Award Watch List

Lexie Brown, Duke

Jordin Canada, UCLA

Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M

Asia Durr, Louisville

Katelynn Flaherty, Michigan State

Tyasha Harris, South Carolina

Shakyla Hill, Grambling State

Sabrina Jonescu, Oregon State

Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State

Kia Nurse, UConn

Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame

Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn

Tyler Scaife, Rutgers

Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State

Morgan Williams, Mississippi State

Gamecocks Athletics contributed to this article.

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