Springfield, Mass. (Mar. 3, 2021) — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the five finalists for the 2021 Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award. Named after the three-time Naismith Player of the Year and Class of 1995 Hall of Famer, the annual award in its fourth year recognizes the top small forwards in in NCAA Division I college women’s basketball.
The five finalists for the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award are Ashley Joens (Iowa State), Rhyne Howard (Kentucky), Haley Jones (Stanford), Rennia Davis (Tennessee) and Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA).
“Cheryl Miller is widely regarded as one of the best collegiate players of all time,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The young women selected as finalists should be extremely proud to be nominated for the award bearing her name. We look forward to working with Cheryl and our esteemed committee to evaluate these players in the coming weeks when games matter most.”
A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 student-athletes in November, which was narrowed to 10 candidates in February and now just five finalists. This month, the finalists will be presented to Ms. Miller and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2021 Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Naismith Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live on Friday, March 5 on hoophallawards.com.
“I am grateful to be the namesake of this award and I thank the Basketball Hall of Fame for acknowledging these outstanding student-athletes,” said Cheryl Miller, Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 1995. “I know they have worked tirelessly to accomplish all that they have thus far, and it will be very exciting to watch them this postseason as we determine our award winner.”
The winner of the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award will be presented on ESPN, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five. Other awards being presented include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award, and the Lisa Leslie Center Award, in addition to the Men’s Starting Five. Additional information about the award presentation, including date and time, will be released in the coming weeks.
Previous winners of the Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award include Satou Sabally, Oregon (2020), Bridget Carleton, Iowa State (2019) and Gabby Williams, Connecticut (2018). For more information on the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #MillerAward on Twitter and Instagram.
About Cheryl Miller:
Cheryl Miller took women’s basketball to a new level, literally and figuratively. With her tremendous leaping ability, athletic dexterity and grace, Miller established a legacy throughout her high school and college career that is unparalleled. Playing for Riverside Polytechnic High School (CA), in 1982, Miller set the single game scoring record of 105 points. As a collegiate forward at the University of Southern California from 1982 to 1986, Miller helped bring women’s basketball to the forefront of American sports. In 1984, she led the Olympic team to gold averaging more than 16 points per game. Her superior athletic ability and engaging persona placed her among the elite in the world of college and professional athletics. In 1986, Sports Illustrated named Miller as the best male or female player in college basketball. In a spectacular career, Miller scored 3,018 total career points and was a four-time All-America. Miller was named Naismith Player of the Year three times and earned the Wade Trophy once. Miller was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010. Since retiring from professional play, Miller has had a very successful career as a WNBA GM, professional and collegiate coach, and sportscaster for TNT, ESPN and NBC for the 1996 Olympics.
About the WBCA:
Founded in 1981, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women’s and girls’ basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to those organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport. For more information, visit us online: www.WBCA.org, follow @wbca1981 or call 1-770-279-8027.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo “Court of Dreams.” Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.