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Friday, February 18, 2005
Paige, Johnson headline group

ESPN.com news services

Ten players, including four of the nation's top five assists leaders, have been named finalists for the 2005 Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year Award, the Rotary Club of Detroit announced Monday.

West Virginia's Yolanda Paige, who leads the country with 9.0 assists per game (through Feb. 14 statistics), headlines the list. LSU's Temeka Johnson (6.9 apg, fourth in country), Texas Tech's Erin Grant (6.8 apg, fifth) and Maryland's Anesia Smith (7.1 apg, second) also were included.

The nominees also included Texas' Jamie Carey, DePaul's Jenni Dant, Oklahoma's Dionnah Jackson, North Carolina's Ivory Latta, Rutgers' Cappie Pondexter and Penn State's Jess Strom.

The award, named after former all-American guard Nancy Lieberman, is given annually to the nation's best point guard based on floor leadership, play-making ability and ball-handling skills. The award is selected by sports writers from around the nation.

The list of 10 will be cut to three finalists and one winner during the week of the Final Four in early April. Johnson recently became the SEC's all-time assist leader, breaking a 14-year old record, and has been one of the three finalists for the award each of the past two seasons.