Tyasha Harris Wins The Dawn Staley Award
Senior also named finalist for Naismith Trophy
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball senior Tyasha Harris is the winner of the 2020 Dawn Staley Award, The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia announced today. She is the second Gamecock to earn the award (Tiffany Mitchell, 2015), which is in its eighth season recognizing the player who exemplifies the skills that Staley possessed throughout her career – ball handling, scoring, ability to distribute the basketball and the will to win. Harris was also named one of four finalists for the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
“It is a humbling thing each year to see the nation’s best guard be acknowledged as such with an award named after me, but this year it is a particular honor to have The Dawn Staley award go to a player I have had the immense privilege to coach over the last four years,” Staley said. “Ty Harris is a special guard, a special player, a special person. She won a National Championship as a freshman and spent the next two years working harder than any player in the country, honing her talents and quietly building one of the great careers in South Carolina history. This year it all paid off and the entire basketball world got to see her vision, her scoring ability, her tenacity and her leadership as she raised her team to be the best in the nation. I could not be more proud of this young woman, and it is my distinct honor to recognize Ty Harris as the 2020 recipient of The Dawn Staley Award.”
Harris remains on the watch lists for the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy as well as for the Nancy Lieberman Award. She earned AP Third-Team All-America status earlier this week and was a First-Team All-SEC selection this season. Harris’ standing among the conference and the country’s best was built on her command of a young team as much on her individual stats. Her steady demeanor and complete understanding of her young team, which started three freshmen in every game, and what it needed propelled the Gamecocks to 10 weeks as the No. 1 team in the country, an undefeated SEC Regular-Season Championship and the SEC Tournament crown.
This season, Harris balanced her scoring and distribution masterfully as she scored a career-high 12.0 points per game to rank 25th in the SEC and 12th in the country with her SEC-best 5.7 assists per game. Combing her scoring and points off her assists. Harris had her hands on 30.7 percent of the Gamecocks’ total offense, which averaged a school-record 82.0 points. In the biggest games, Harris’ assist numbers grew to 5.9 per SEC game and 6.4 per game against nationally ranked opponents. The sure-handed point guard was 10th in the nation with a 2.78 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
After taking over the starting point guard position in January of her freshman season, Harris was at the helm for the 2017 NCAA National Championship, two SEC Regular-Season Championships (2017, 2020) and three SEC Tournament titles (2017, 2018, 2020). The Gamecocks won 84.3 percent (118-22) of the games she played, including 85.9 percent (55-9) of regular-season SEC games. In 55 career games against ranked opponents, she led her team to a 38-17 mark (.691).
Individually, Harris is a three-time All-SEC selection and two-time WBCA Honorable Mention All-American. She is the first Gamecock to record 700 assists, finishing with 705 to rank 10th all-time in the SEC. Harris also holds the school record for career assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.55, and she is tied for the program record with 139 games played. In addition to her 11 double-doubles, the most points-assists double-doubles in program history, she ranks among the program’s top 10 in seven other career categories – free throw percentage (. 792, 2nd), minutes played (4,168, 2nd), games started (127, 2nd), assists per game (5.1, 3rd), steals (224, 8th), made 3s (135, 9th), 3-point field goal percentage (.328, 10th) and minutes per game (30.0, 10th).
This year’s ceremony for The Dawn Staley Award, scheduled to take place on April 9 at the Union League of Philadelphia, has been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. South Carolina will hold a ceremony at a later date to recognize Harris for earning this award.
Fans can vote for their favorite Naismith Trophy finalist through April 1 at NaismithFanVote.com, accounting for five percent of the overall vote. The 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year is scheduled to be announced on April 3.