UK's Rice named to Lisa Leslie Award watch list

Alyssa Rice The University of Kentucky women's basketball team beat Missouri 64-60 on Thursday, January 5, 2017, at Memorial Coliseum. Photo by Britney Howard

LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky senior center Alyssa Rice has been named one of 20 players nationally to the inaugural Lisa Leslie Award Top 20 Watch List, which will annually honor the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. The Lisa Leslie Award is in its first season and is named after the three-time All-American and 1994 National Player of the Year.

The Selection Committee for the Lisa Leslie Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Leslie and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist at

The winner of the 2018 Lisa Leslie Center Award will be announced during ESPN2’s telecast of the national semifinal games in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 30. Additional awards being presented 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, as well as the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award.

Rice has started 93 career games at Kentucky with 43 starts. Last season, Rice had her best season yet averaging 21.8 minutes per game, 4.2 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game and shot 41.0 percent from the field. The native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio finished second on the team with 22 blocks last season while leading the team in blocks 12 times. Rice’s best game came against Alabama in the SEC Tournament, scoring 11 points with five rebounds. She followed that performance with eight points and six rebounds against South Carolina the following day.

Rice has shined off and on the court for Kentucky as a three-year member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll. She was recently voted by her peers as the chair of the SEC Women’s Basketball Leadership Council and was tabbed by the SEC to the NCAA Division I WBB Competition Committee. Last year, Rice was named to the SEC Community Service Team for her hard work in the Lexington community.

2018 Lisa Leslie Award Candidates
Kalani Brown – Baylor
Azura Stevens – Connecticut
Becca Jones – Drake
Erin Mathias – Duke
Chatrice White – Florida St.
Alyssa Rice – Kentucky
Hallie Thome – Michigan
Teaira McCowan – Mississippi State
Cierra Porter – Missouri
Akela Maize – North Carolina State
Vionise Pierre-Louis – Oklahoma
Kaylee Jensen – Oklahoma State
Marie Gulich – Oregon State
A'ja Wilson – South Carolina
Shannon Coffee – Stanford
Mercedes Russell – Tennessee
Khaalia Hillsman – Texas A&M
Monique Billings – UCLA
Kristen Simon – USC
Emily Potter – Utah

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