South Carolina senior Tyasha Harris and freshman Zia Cooke earned spots on the Dawn Staley Award Midseason Watch List, The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia announced Thursday.
For Harris, it is her third selection in as many years to the list of 15 student-athletes in the running for the award, which recognizes the player who exemplifies the skills that Staley possessed throughout her career — ball handling, scoring, ability to distribute the basketball and will to win.
Harris has been the Gamecocks' floor general and team captain for the last three seasons and her leadership this season has helped a five-freshman team to the No. 1 ranking and the top of the SEC standings. In eight games against nationally ranked teams, her combined points and points off her assists account for 32.9 percent of the team's offense. Harris leads the SEC and ranks among the nation's top 30 with 5.2 assists per game — a number that rises to 5.9 in SEC play. Her 12.0 points per game this season is a career high and ranks 27th in the SEC. Harris joined the 1,000-point club this season and broke the program record for career assists as well.
Cooke is South Carolina's leading scorer in SEC games at 15.2 points per game and she is shooting 42.5 percent from 3-point range in league play as well. She has scored in double figures 15 times and has been the team's top scorer in a team-high nine games, including six SEC games. Her three 20-point SEC games matches A'ja Wilson's for the most by a Gamecock freshman. Cooke is third on the team in assists at 2.0 per game.
The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia will name four finalists in mid-March, and the winner will be announced on NCAA Women's Final Four weekend.
No. 1/2 South Carolina is back in action tonight at No. 25/22 Arkansas with tipoff on SEC Network scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.