Brooklyn Heights

SFC’s Nevena Dimitrijevic up for coveted Lieberman Award

Sophomore guard on watch list for the honor

November 10, 2020 John Torenli
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St. Francis Brooklyn women’s basketball player Nevena Dimitrijevic took Brooklyn Heights and the Northeast Conference by storm last season.

Now, the 5-foot-3 native of Kragujevac, Serbia is going national.

The Terriers’ sophomore sensation and reigning NEC Rookie of the Year was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Nancy Lieberman Award Preseason Watch List on Monday.

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Dimitrijevic, the first Terrier ever to win league rookie of the year honors, is also the first SFC women’s player ever to be chosen as a potential finalist for the coveted award, which is named after an iconic women’s basketball legend and honors the top collegiate point guard in the nation.

So how did a high school player straight out of Serbia playing for a diminutive college program on Remsen Street get mentioned with 20 of the best playmakers and ballhandlers in Division I?

Simple.

Dimitrijevic played better than virtually any first-year player in the region.

She led the NEC with 6.2 assists per game, and ranked second on SFC in scoring with 14.2 points per contest while hitting 37.4 percent of her shots and picking up 1.9 steals per game.

Dimitrijevic’s 1.74 assist-to-turnover ratio was also good for second on the Terriers, who went 8-21 overall last season and 4-14 in NEC play, which left them on the outside looking in at the conference tournament.

Additionally, the business and management major finished 12th in the nation in total assists with 174 while earning All-NEC Second Team and ECAC Rookie of the Year accolades.

Coincidentally, the winner of the previous three Nancy Lieberman Awards is also planning to play in Brooklyn next season.

Former University of Oregon standout and current New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu won the award from 2018-20 before being selected by the Barclays Center-based franchise with the first overall pick in last summer’s WNBA Draft.

New York Liberty star and former Oregon standout Sabrina Ionescu won the last three Nancy Lieberman Awards as the nation’s top point guard. Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

While Dmitrijevic is still a safe distance from going pro, she is turning heads on the national landscape as she joins tri-state area guards Diamond Johnson of Rutgers, Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia and the University of Connecticut’s Paige Buekers on the Lieberman watch list.

“We would like to congratulate Nevena for being selected to the 2021 Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List, which recognizes the top 20 point guards in the nation,” said SFC head coach Linda Cimino.

“The Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List is a prestigious distinction, and the award has been won by some of the best to ever play the game at the collegiate level.”

And Dimitrijevic would like to count herself among those players in 2021 or whenever the women’s college basketball season tips off in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Cimino, her on-the-court general has what it takes to better her game as her career with the Terriers continues.

“Nevena continues to work extremely hard on and off the court to improve her craft,” Cimino said.

“We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for her, and we are so proud of her for all that she has accomplished here in Brooklyn Heights thus far.”

Dimitrijevic should put on a show at the Pope Center for the next several years, giving her a chance to become better acquainted with Brooklyn while the nation becomes more aware of her as one of the best young players ever to lace her sneakers in a Terriers uniform.

“The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate and honor both men and women at all levels of the game,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

“The student-athletes we are recognizing this week on the Women’s Starting Five watch lists are tremendous athletes who deserve to be applauded. We look forward to evaluating this year’s top point guards with Nancy Lieberman, a Hall of Famer who paved the way for today’s female athletes.”

Local college basketball fanatics and the Terrier faithful are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting for the Lieberman Award, presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds.

In early February, the watch list of 20 players will be narrowed to 10 before shrinking to five in March.

The winner of the award will be presented on April 9, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five.


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