Five Texas women’s basketball players named to national award watchlists


Assad Malik

Junior forward DeYona Gaston attempts to score against Texas Tech on Feb 8. 2022. Texas defeated Texas Tech 80 – 71.

Lindsey Plotkin, General News Reporter

The storied Texas women’s basketball program is the only Division I team to have a player nominated for each of the women’s Naismith Starting Five Awards. The Naismith Starting Five Awards were created to honor the five best position players in women’s college basketball along with the best Naismith Player of the Year. 

The nominations feature sophomore guard Rori Harmon for the Nancy Lieberman award, graduate guard Sonya Morris for the Ann Meyers Drysdale award, junior guard Shay Holle for the Cheryl Miller award, sophomore forward Aaliyah Moore for the Katrina McClain award and junior forward Taylor Jones for the Lisa Leslie award. Harmon is also nominated for the Naismith Women’s Player of the Year award. 

The Nancy Lieberman award honors the best point guard. Harmon ranks fifth among all Division I players with 7.2 assists per game, and she leads the Big 12. 

Since the induction of the Lieberman Award in 2000, no Longhorn has won the honor. Clarissa Davis is the only Longhorn to have won the Naismith award, winning in 1987 and again in 1989. 

Morris is nominated for the Ann Meyers Drysdale award, which honors the best shooting guard and was the final award added to the Starting Five in 2017. Morris leads Texas in 3-pointers, having made 46 points worth, and the graduate transfer ranks 10th in the Big 12 in 3-pointers made per game. 

The Cheryl Miller award celebrates the best small forward, and Holle ranks first among Texas players in 3-point percentage, making 40% of her 3-pointers. Holle is a key bench player, averaging over 21 minutes per game. Iowa State graduate Ashley Joens won the award in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. 

Jones, another key bench player, missed part of the season due to an injury, but the Lisa Leslie Award nominee leads Texas in blocks with 27 and is shooting over 57% from the floor. Jones would be the first Longhorn to win the award, following South Carolina junior Alyiah Boston who won in 2021 and 2022.

Nominated for the Katrina McClain award for the best power forward, Moore’s season was cut short due to a torn ACL in non-conference play. Before her injury, Moore averaged over 11 points per game and shot 55% from the floor. 

Along with national award nominations, five Longhorns were also given Big 12 preseason honors. Harmon and Moore were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, with Harmon being a unanimous selection. Morris, Jones and graduate guard Shaylee Gonzales were all given All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. 

No. 17 Texas, having won its past seven games straight, is currently in first place in the Big 12 with a 20–6 overall and 11–2 Big 12 record.