SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Troy senior guard Joanna Harden has been named a finalist for the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award. Harden, who is fourth in the nation averaging 25.4 points per game, was on the award’s watch list in January.
The Nancy Lieberman Award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball and is awarded by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
Harden, a Pompano Beach, Fla., native is one of 22 finalists, and the only from the Sun Belt Conference. Her scoring average leads the league by nearly 7.0 points over second place (18.6 ppg).
The 5-foot-7 guard has scored 20-plus points in 21 games this season, including in 11 straight. She is just two days removed from breaking the Troy single-season scoring record, a mark that had stood since 1989-90. Harden has also eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career, becoming the 20th player in Troy history to do so, but just the third to do it in two seasons.
Harden’s current 25.4 season scoring average would set the Troy record and make her just the fifth player in the 32-year history of the Sun Belt Conference to average 25-plus in a season. In addition, her 19.8 career scoring average would be the second best in school history.
Harden set a Troy and Sun Belt record 52 points against Alabama-Huntsville earlier this season. The 52 points are still the most scored in the nation this season, across all divisions. In Troy’s Division I history (1993-present), a player has scored 40-plus in a game just three times with two of those occurrences coming from Harden this season.
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 the candidates. The list will be narrowed down to a final five by March and the 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), Diana Taurasi (Connecticut) and Temeka Johnson (LSU) among others.
Harden and the Trojans return to the floor on Wednesday when they host UALR at Trojan Arena at 7 p.m.