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Finalist for 2021 Lisa Leslie Award have been announced

By World Exposure Report News Services, 03/05/21, 12:00PM CST

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Virginia Tech Elizabeth Kitley a finalist for 2021 Lisa Leslie Award

Elizabeth Kitley a finalist for 2021 Lisa Leslie Award

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the five finalists for the 2021 Lisa Leslie Center of the Year Award. Named after the three-time All-American,1994 National Player of the Year and Class of 2015 Hall of Famer, the annual award in its fourth year recognizes the top centers in NCAA Division I women’s college basketball. 

The five finalists for the 2021 Lisa Leslie Award are Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut), Elissa Cunane (NC State), Aliyah Boston(South Carolina), Charli Collier (Texas), and Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech).

Kitley, a First Team All-ACC honoree ranks among the top four in the league in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, blocks and free throws, in addition to leading the conference in double-doubles with 13.

The Summerfield, North Carolina native is the only ACC athlete to register two 30-point scoring games this season and was one of two players to record a 20-rebound game, which she did in a contest vs. Wake Forest where she tied a school record with 21.

Cunane was recently honored as a Consensus First Team All-ACC selection for the second season in a row. She ended the 2020-21 regular season ranked in the top 15 in the ACC in scoring (6th - 15.6), rebounding (7th - 8.0), field-goal percentage (2nd - .557), free throw percentage (3rd - .863) and blocks per game (14th - 1.0). Her shooting mark is also 19th in the nation.

The Summerfield, N.C., native has scored in double figures in all but one game she played in this season, with three 20+ point outings and five double-doubles on the year. She shot 50+ percent from the floor in a total of 10 outings, including two perfect shooting nights against NC Central (6-of-6) and Boston College (9-of-9).

Cunane averages 10.0 points in the paint, and the rest of her scoring average shows her ability to step out and knock down the three. She is 10-of-21 (.476) from distance this season, highlighted by a career-best 3-of-5 (.600) mark in NC State's win against Miami on Dec. 20. 

Nelson-Ododa leads UConn with 7.7 rebounds per game and paces the BIG EAST with 40 blocks and 1.8 blocks per game. She has seven double-doubles on the season and ranks 10th nationally with a 59.0 field goal percentage.

Nelson-Ododa was named the BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year and All-BIG EAST Second Team.

This month, the finalists will be presented to Ms. Leslie and the Hall of Fame's selection committee. The winner of the 2021 Lisa Leslie Award will then be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the committee. Wolfpack fans are encouraged to participate in this year's Fan Voting, which goes live today and runs through March 19.

Xaria Wiggins is on her way out of Mississippi State