FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas women’s basketball junior point guard Calli Berna has been named to the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List, as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
One of 29 student-athletes nominated to the initial award watch list, the Nancy Lieberman Award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
"I’m honored to be on that list," Berna said. "There’s a bunch of point guards on that list that I’m honored to be listed beside. But, I know that I wouldn’t be there without my teammates. I know that they’re right beside me and they’re helping me get these wins. Any accolade that I get is my team’s accolade."
Berna leads the SEC and is fourth in the NCAA with 128 assists so far this season, averaging a league-leading 7.5 assists per game. The Fayetteville, Ark., native is also first in the conference and fourth in the NCAA in assist/turnover ratio (3.7).
Behind Berna’s leadership, Arkansas ranks third in the SEC and seventh in the NCAA in turnover margin with a +7.5 mark. The Razorbacks are also first in the SEC for assist/turnover ratio with 1.3, finishing with more assists than turnovers in 11 games this season.
Currently at 424 assists on her career, Berna is tied for sixth place on Arkansas’ all-time list for career assists with Brittney Vaughn (2004-08). Berna has already laid claim to the program’s records for assists in a single season (208, 2012-13) and SEC season (99, 2012-13).
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame became the new host of the Nancy Lieberman Award in October 2013 after the Rotary Club of Detroit had managed it for several years.
"We are honored to have the opportunity to award a young athlete that shows the same sort of dedication to the game of basketball as the legendary Nancy Lieberman," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. "This award is our chance to recognize some truly extraordinary point guards in women’s college basketball."
The Hall of Fame appointed a premier Selection Committee made up of top college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers to review candidates.
The list will be narrowed down to a final 20 in February, then a final five by March. The Lieberman Award winner will be announced during Final Four weekend activities.
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include last year’s recipient Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Sue Bird (Connecticut), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Connecticut), Lindsey Harding (Duke), Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga), Temeka Johnson (LSU), Kristi Toliver (Maryland), Ivory Latta (North Carolina) and Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State).
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