Czinano Named to Lisa Leslie Watch List

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa women’s basketball senior Monika Czinano has been named to the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year Preseason Watch List, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday.

The list is comprised of 20 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the award named after the three-time All-American and 1994 National Player of the Year. The annual award, in its fifth year, recognizes the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.

Czinano finished last season leading the country in shooting percentage (66.8) and ranked second nationally to teammate Caitlin Clark in made baskets, draining 254-of-380 shots from the field.

The Watertown, Minnesota, native averaged 19.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on the season. She scored in double figures during 28 contests, tabbing 11 20-point games — nine against conference opponents.

The selection committee for the Lisa Leslie Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. By mid-February, the list will be narrowed to 10 semi-finalists. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Leslie and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist.

The winner of the 2022 Lisa Leslie Award will be presented alongside the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five.

Iowa’s Megan Gustafson became the second recipient of the award in 2019 and the first Hawkeye.

Czinano and the Hawkeyes open the 2021-22 season with an exhibition against Truman State on Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are $5 for adults and admission is free for UI students and youth (18 & younger).