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Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia named to Lieberman Award Preseason Watch List

Mangakahia is among 20 watch list candidates

NCAA Womens Basketball: Louisville at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange women’s basketball star Tiana Mangakahia was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Preseason Watch List for the Nancy Lieberman Award on Monday.

The Nancy Lieberman Award recognizes the top NCAA Division I point guard. The award was named after Naismith Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. To be considered, candidates must exhibit leadership, play-making, and ball-handling skills. The winner of the 2021 Award will be presented in April after a three-round voting process that narrows the list from 20 to five.

Mangakahia, a two-time Lieberman Award finalist, will step back on the court this month after spending the last year beating breast cancer. In 2018-19, Mangakahia became the all-time program leader in career assists with 591 and the fastest player in ‘Cuse WBB history to score 1,000 points. She averaged 16.9 points and 8.4 assists in 31.3 minutes per game during the season.

She was one of 20 players to make the list, which included included four total players from the ACC: Mangakahia, Tiana England (Florida State), Hailey Van Lith (Louisville) and Raina Perez (NC State).

No SU player has ever won the award, though ACC players have previously won three times. Kristi Toliver won with then-conference member Maryland in 2008, while Lindsey Harding (Duke) won in 2007 and Ivory Latta (North Carolina) won in 2006. Skylar Diggins won with Notre Dame in both 2012 and 2013, but the Fighting Irish were not yet part of the league at that time.

Even though no Orange player has won, this is not the first appearance for the program on the preseason watch list. Recently, Alexis Peterson made it in 2016 and Mangakahia was also on the list in 2018.