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Hartley a candidate for 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award.

POSTED January 15, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

STORRS, Conn. – UConn senior point guard Bria Hartley (North Babylon, N.Y.) has been identified by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a candidate for the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award. The award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I College Basketball. The criteria for selection require that players demonstrate the floor leadership, play-making abilities, and ball-handling skills that Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman embodied in her career.

Since its inception in 2000, three Huskies have taken home the award a total of six times. UConn point guards earned the honors in the first five consecutive years of its existence, with Sue Bird earning it the first three years (2000-2002) and Diana Taurasi receiving the accolades in the subsequent two years after Bird (2003, 2004). Renee Montgomery was the last Husky to net the award in 2009.

Hartley has posted excellent numbers for the top-ranked Huskies this season and leads an offense that outscores opponents by an average of 36.7 points. The senior ranks second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.9 points per game, and has been dynamic in her passing game with 4.4 assists per game.

The New York native came alive in the second half of UConn’s game against No. 7 Baylor on Monday night, rattling off 13 of her 17 total points in the second frame to help secure the win. Hartley also demonstrated her defensive abilities in guarding fellow Lieberman candidate Odyssey Sims, helping to hold the nation’s top-scorer to just 4-of-25 from the field in her lowest scoring performance of the season.

Her success this season has translated to recognition on several levels, including league nods as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 18 after a 29-point effort against Penn State to match her career-high. The conference also selected Hartley as a preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention choice, while her name has surfaced on both the Wooden and Wade Award Watch Lists so far this season. Hartley was a WBCA/State Farm All-American in her sophomore year and, more recently, an NCAA All-Tournament honoree following UConn’s ninth National Championship last season.

No. 1 UConn returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 19 when the squad travels to Rutgers for a 3:00pm American Athletic Conference showdown, with televised coverage on ESPN2 .

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