The Syracuse Orange haven’t stepped foot on the court, and yet already, at least one member of the women’s team is on the awards watch.
On Monday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced the watch list for the 2023 Nancy Lieberman Award, with one of those players being Syracuse’s Dyaisha Fair.
Fair is one of the 20 candidates chosen by the Hall of Fame and the WBCA. The award recognizes the top point guard in NCAA Division I women’s basketball. Candidates for the Lieberman Award were chosen because they “exhibit the floor leadership, playmaking, and ball-handling skills of Class of 1996 Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman.”
In the ACC, Fair was one of five nominees selected in the conference by a national committee of top college basketball personnel. Alongside Fair, Chrislyn Carr (Louisville), Haley Cavinder (Miami), Deja Kelly (North Carolina), and Olivia Miles (Notre Dame). So far, the ACC received the most candidates to the watch list with five, followed by four in the SEC and two in each of the Pac-12, Big-12, and Big Ten.
By late January, the list of 20 players will be narrowed down to 10, and then down to 5 by late February. A winner will be selected sometime In March.
Fans are encouraged to participate in fan voting, which will open up beginning on Friday, October 21st. According to the Hall of Fame, the candidate list for the Lieberman Award is not finalized because players can “play their way onto and off the list” at any time during this season.
The Lieberman Award is a prestigious honor for some of women’s college basketball’s best point guards ever. Recent winners include memorable names such as Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, and Sabrina Ionescu. Caitlin Clark (Iowa), the 2021-2022 winner, is one of the candidates for this year’s Lieberman Award.
Last season, Fair was a top-10 finalist for the Lieberman Award after finishing fourth in the NCAA in scoring. Under Fair and former Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, the Bulls advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Conference Tournament Championship. Last season, Fair was also named an honorable mention on the All-America team by the Associated Press.
How Dyaisha Fair steps up for the Orange will be a big story to watch for this season. Based on the pre-season nomination, Fair is already making a name for herself before she makes her debut for ‘Cuse.