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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Freshman phenom Samantha Prahalis has been named one of 13 finalists for the 10th Annual Nancy Lieberman Award which recognizes the nation’s top collegiate point guard in Division I women’s basketball.

Prahalis is one of the most gifted and talented point guards to come through the Big Ten in recent years. She is prime candidate for Big Ten freshman of the year honors, leading all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (10.2 ppg), assists (153) and steals (51). In her last three outings, she has 45 points, 17 assists, six 3-pointers, five steals and is 11-of-12 from the free throw line.

Her 5.7 assists per game average leads all Big Ten players and is good for 16th in NCAA Division I. The Commack, N.Y., native has 15 games with six or more assists, including a season-high 13 in the 9-point loss to then-No. 2 UNC Dec. 3. With 153 on the season she is 16 shy of breaking Kim Wilburn’s Ohio State freshman record of 168 assists set back in 2002-03.

Prahalis recently busted out of a shooting slump with a season-high 18 points in the win over Northwestern Feb. 15, then followed that up with 17 points in the road win at Minnesota Feb. 19. Against NU she hit a season-best four 3-pointers — all in the second half — while also recording four assists and four steals in 27 minutes. Then against the Gophers, she hit two more from deep and dished out nine assists while going 7-of-8 from the line.

The award is a national project of the Rotary Club of Detroit honoring the nation’s top collegiate point guard in women’s Division I basketball. The criteria for the award are the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman, during her career. Sportswriters from across the country have determined this final nominee list. They will select three finalists from this list and one winner at the beginning of April 2009. The announcement of the three finalists and one winner will be made during the Final Four Weekend (April 5-7, 2009). We will invite the winner to attend the award luncheon in Detroit, Michigan.
 
Here is the final nominee list (in alphabetical order):

1. Whitney Boddie, Auburn
2. Sha Brooks, Florida
3. Kristi Cirone, Illinois State
4. Cetera DeGraffenreid, North Carolina
5. Dawn Evans, James Madison
6. Shalee Lehning, Kansas State
7. Renee Montgomery, Connecticut
8. Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State
9.  Epiphanny Prince, Rutgers
10. Andrea Riley, Oklahoma State
11. Danielle Robinson, Oklahoma
12. Kristi Toliver, Maryland
13. Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga
  
This year’s award will be presented at a noon luncheon at The Detroit Athletic Club on April 22, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. 
 
You can visit the official Nancy Lieberman Award website at (www.pointguard.org). Questions about the award, luncheon, luncheon tickets or sponsorships please contact Chris Flynn, Co-Chair, at (313)824-4264 or email: contact@pointguard.org