Gonzaga's Jill Barta celebrates with teammate Laura Stockton during the Bulldogs' win over Santa Clara. (SLIM KIMMEL/MTN Sports)

(Editor’s note: Gonzaga media release)

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Wednesday that Jill Barta is one of the 10 candidates for the 2018 Cheryl Miller Award. Named after the three-time Naismith Player of the Year and 1995 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the annual award in its inaugural year recognizes the top small forwards in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.

Barta starred at Fairfield High School from 2010-14, accumulating a perfect 104-0 record and four Class B state championships during her high school career.

Now a redshirt junior at Gonzaga, Barta, a two-time first-team all-West Coast Conference and a WCC all-freshman team selection, received her second straight preseason all-WCC nod this year. She has already been selected as the West Coast Conference player of the week three times and Barta currently leads the Zags in points per game (18.5), rebounds per game (8.5), free throw percentage (.840), and double-doubles (8). She is second in the conference in points per game, fifth in rebounds, second in free throw percentage, fourth in field goal percentage (.494), and first in double-doubles. On the national level, she is 66th in points per game and 58th in free throw percentage.

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Barta is the only representative from the West region on the list.

“When it comes to small forwards, no one has done it better than Cheryl Miller, and the young women recognized on this list should be honored to be associated with one of the game’s all-time greats,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Cheryl’s expertise as a dominate player, winning coach and professional analyst will be highly valuable as we evaluate the 10 candidates remaining.”

The Selection Committee for the Cheryl Miller Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Miller and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalists to determine the Naismith Starting 5 at www.hoophallawards.com.

The winner of the 2018 Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award will be announced during ESPN2’s telecast of the national semifinal games in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 30. Additional awards being presented include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award, and the Lisa Leslie Center Award, as well as the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award which is presented annually by the WBCA’s community of coaches to the best player in college women’s basketball.

For more information on the 2018 Cheryl Miller Award, visit www.hoophallawards.com.

2018 Cheryl Miller Award Candidates

Gabby Williams, Connecticut; Shakayla Thomas, Florida St.; Jill Barta, Gonzaga; Bridget Carleton, Iowa St.; Kaila Charles, Maryland; Sophie Cunningham, Missouri; Jaime Nared, Tennessee; Ariel Atkins, Texas; Teana Muldrow, West Virginia; Tashia Brown, Western Kentucky.

*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2017-18 season*

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