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Kiara Lewis and Tiana Mangakahia were named to the 2021 Naismith Trophy preseason watch list on Tuesday.
The award is given to the top player in both men’s and women’s college basketball. The No. 23 Orange are one of 10 programs with multiple selections. Only No. 3 Connecticut (four) and No. 2 Stanford (three) have more than Syracuse.
For Mangakahia, it’s her second-career selection for the award. The fifth-year guard made the list ahead of her junior year. Earlier this year, Mangakahia joined 20 point guards on the 2021 Nancy Lieberman Award watch list, given to the best point guard in the nation, as well as the ‘Wade Watch’ list — honoring the best player in the country per the coaches association.
Lewis joins Mangakahia on the list following an All-Atlantic Coast first team selection in March. The redshirt senior led the Orange with 17.3 points per game in Mangakahia’s absence. Lewis, a shooting guard, has already been named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list, given annually to the best shooting guard in the NCAA.
No. 5 Louisville is the only other ACC program with two selections to the Naismith Trophy preseason watch list. No. 8 NC State, No. 22 Notre Dame and Boston College each have one, respectively.
At the moment, Mangakahia and Lewis will start in the same backcourt for the first time in the Orange’s season opener against Lincoln (Division II) University on Dec. 2. SU is still able to add three more regular-season contests to its schedule before hitting the NCAA limit of 25 games.
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