Baylor junior Kalani Brown is one of 10 candidates for the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced Friday afternoon. The award, in its inaugural year, recognizes the top center in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
Brown, who leads the team and is second in the Big 12 with 11 double-doubles, averages a team-high 21.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest through 21 games played.
The 6-7 center leads the nation, the conference and the Lady Bears in field goal percentage, shooting an impressive 68.0 percent from the floor. Brown also leads the Big 12 in scoring (21.1), is second in offensive rebounds (3.1) and defensive rebounds (6.9), third in rebounding overall (10.0) and ninth in blocked shots (1.2).
The Slidell, La. native, has recorded two 30-point performances, 12 20-point efforts, one 20-rebound contest and 11 10-rebound games. Brown’s career-high 21 rebounds against Lamar on Nov. 10, 2017, is the highest recorded by any Big 12 player this season and the 12th-most in an NCAA Division I game this season.
Brown, the 2018 Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, is also inconsideration for the 2018 Wooden Award, 2018 Citizen Trophy and 2018 Wade Trophy.
“Before Lisa Leslie became one of the most recognizable faces of the WNBA, she was a collegiate center unlike any other,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Her impact was immediate as the best freshman in the collegiate game and she continued to develop her skills each season. The ten women recognized as candidates for the award bearing Lisa’s name should be both proud and honored.”
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. 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 finalists to determine the Naismith Starting 5 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.
2018 Lisa Leslie Award Candidates
Kalani Brown – Baylor
Azura Stevens – UConn
Megan Gustafson – Iowa
Hallie Thome – Michigan
Teaira McCowan – Mississippi State
Kaylee Jensen – Oklahoma State
Marie Gulich – Oregon State
A’ja Wilson – South Carolina
Mercedes Russell – Tennessee
Monique Billings – UCLA