DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University senior Erin Mathias has been named one of 20 watch list candidates for the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award, which was released Friday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
The award is named after the three-time All-America and 1994 National Player of the Year, Lisa Leslie and is in its inaugural year. It recognizes the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
Mathias, a 6-4 product of Pittsburgh, Pa., has appeared in 91 career games with the Blue Devils, while making nine starts. The projected starter at center for Duke in 2017-18, Mathias averaged 10.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in three games over the summer in Italy. She started all three contests, averaged 25.7 minutes and led the Blue Devils with 23 boards.
Other preseason candidates include Kalani Brown (Baylor), Azura Stevens (UConn), Becca Jones (Drake), Chatrice White (Florida State), Alyssa Rice (Kentucky), Hallie Thome (Michigan), Teaira McCowan (Mississippi State), Cierra Porter (Missouri), Akela Maize (NC State), Vionise Pierre-Louis (Oklahoma), Marie Gulich (Oregon State), A’ja Wilson (South Carolina), Shannon Coffee (Stanford), Mercedes Russell (Tennessee), Khaalia Hillsman (Texas A&M), Monique Billings (UCLA), Kristen Simon (USC) and Emily Potter (Utah).
The Selection Committee for the Lisa Leslie Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Leslie and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist at www.hoophallawards.com.
The winner of the 2018 Lisa Leslie Center Award will be announced during ESPN2’s telecast of the national semifinal games in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 30.
Duke will open the regular season Sunday, Nov. 12 at Grand Canyon with a 5 p.m. (ET) tip in Phoenix, Ariz. The game will be aired live on ESPN3.