WACO, Texas Nine-time All-American Kalani Brown continues to add to her recognition rolodex as she was named a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award Friday. The award is named after three-time All-American and 1994 National Player of the Year Lisa Leslie, and the award in its second year recognizes the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I basketball.
Brown, recently named a second-team All-American by ESPNW, has led Baylor to a 31-1 record, a No. 1 national ranking, a Big 12 regular season & tournament championship and a likely No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
The Slidell, La. native leads Baylor averaging 15.7 points per game while ranking sixth nationally in field goal percentage. She ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 1.55 blocked shots per game and is second on the team averaging 8.0 rebounds per contest.
“Kalani’s size and presence in the paint makes all opponents have to change their offensive and defensive philosophies. Not only is she a back-to-the-basket post player, she can also face up. She has great touch on her shot,” said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey. “On the defensive end her presence and ability to alter shots is the best you’ll see. As a 6’7” post player she runs the floor as well as any post player I’ve ever coached. She is doubled and triple teamed so much that she makes the game much easier for her teammates with her passing ability.”
Along with Brown, Cal’s Kristine Anigwe, Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, Miami’s Beatrice Mompremier and Mississippi State’s Teaira McCowan make up the five finalists for the honor.
The winner of the 2019 Lisa Leslie Center Award will be revealed during the WBCA Coaches’ All-America/Naismith Starting 5 Presentation on Thursday, April 4, at the Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida. Additional awards being presented and recognized at the award show include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, the Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award and the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award. Also being awarded is the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award which is presented annually by the WBCA’s community of coaches to the best player in college women’s basketball.
Last season, A’ja Wilson of South Carolina was named the inaugural winner of the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year Award.