KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Wednesday the 20 watch list candidates for the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award, and Tennessee’s Rennia Davis is in that group.
Named after the three-time Naismith Player of the Year and Class of 1995 Hall of Famer, the annual award in its fourth year recognizes the top small forwards in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
“Cheryl Miller has long been recognized as one of the greats of our game, dominating at USC and winning two NCAA Championships,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The student-athletes named to the Cheryl Miller Award watch list should feel very proud. As a reminder, players can play their way on to the list at any point in the season, and Cheryl and our selection committed are dedicated to evaluating talent throughout the season. As we return to basketball, we’re excited to see what the 2020-21 season brings.”
A 6-foot-2 senior wing from Jacksonville, Fla., Davis made the Cheryl Miller preseason list for the third year in a row and has finished in the award’s top 10 the past two seasons. She has displayed an impressive knack for knocking down shots at clutch moments during her career, with 14 buckets coming with the game clock winding down and two of those falling just before the final horn.
Davis was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2020 as well as an All-America honorable mention recipient from the AP, USBWA and WBCA. She averaged 18.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2019-20 while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 80.2 percent from the free throw line.
With a scoring average that was the best by a Lady Vol since Candace Parker put up 21.3 ppg. in 2008, Davis enters her final collegiate season tied with Bashaara Graves for 10th in UT history with 29 double-doubles during her first three seasons on Rocky Top.
The second-leading returning scorer in the SEC behind Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard, Davis averaged 19.9 ppg. and 8.0 rpg. vs. league foes in 2019-20. She hit 49.6% from the field and 82.8% at the charity stripe in 16 regular-season contests. Against nine ranked opponents, Davis tallied 19.8 ppg. and 7.0 rpg. and shot 43.8% on field goals and 84.2% on free throws vs. those teams.
The two-time All-SEC choice ranked fifth in the conference in rebounding last season at 8.2 rpg. and eighth in field goal percentage (.469) and stands No. 5 in both categories among returning players. She finished No. 4 in the SEC in free throw percentage at .802 a year ago and is No. 2 among returnees this season.
Davis is among the SEC’s active player career leaders, ranking second in points (1,400 points) and double-doubles (29) and third in rebounds.
College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In early February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award will be narrowed to just 10. In early March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Miller and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.
The winner of the 2021 Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award will be presented on Friday, April 9, 2021, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five. 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, in addition to the Men’s Starting Five.
Previous winners of the Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award include Satou Sabally, Oregon (2020), Bridget Carleton, Iowa State (2019) and Gabby Williams, Connecticut (2018).
For more information on the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com
About Cheryl Miller:
Cheryl Miller took women’s basketball to a new level, literally and figuratively. With her tremendous leaping ability, athletic dexterity and grace, Miller established a legacy throughout her high school and college career that is unparalleled. Playing for Riverside Polytechnic High School (CA), in 1982, Miller set the single game scoring record of 105 points. As a collegiate forward at the University of Southern California from 1982 to 1986, Miller helped bring women’s basketball to the forefront of American sports. In 1984, she led the Olympic team to gold averaging more than 16 points per game. Her superior athletic ability and engaging persona placed her among the elite in the world of college and professional athletics. In 1986, Sports Illustrated named Miller as the best male or female player in college basketball. In a spectacular career, Miller scored 3,018 total career points and was a four-time All-America. Miller was named Naismith Player of the Year three times and earned the Wade Trophy once. Miller was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010. Since retiring from professional play, Miller has had a very successful career as a WNBA GM, professional and collegiate coach, and sportscaster for TNT, ESPN and NBC for the 1996 Olympics.