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.