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Arella Guirantes and Diamond Johnson named to Preseason Award Watch Lists

The top player and top freshman for Rutgers women’s basketball earn national recognition to start the season.

Indiana v Rutgers Photo by Benjamin Solomon /Getty Images

The Rutgers women’s basketball team has two players included on national award watch lists to begin the 2020-2021 season.

Redshirt senior Arella Guirantes was one of 20 players on Tuesday named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List for the nation’s top shooting guard. In addition, Monday saw true freshman Diamond Johnson included as one of 20 players named to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List, which is given annually the nation’s top point guard.

Guirantes was named a First Team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media last season, in addition to being named an All-America Honorable Mention selection by multiple outlets. In 18 Big Ten regular season contests, Guirantes finished second in scoring, third in free throw shooting percentage, sixth in steals , ninth in blocks, twelfth in three-point shooting and 19th in rebounds. Her 20.6 scoring average overall was ninth in the country last season.

In addition, Guirantes was named preseason co-Big Ten Player of the Year by the coaches.

Johnson was the no. 6 overall prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle and part of a top ten class nationally that was signed by head coach C. Vivian Stringer. The 5-star prospect is a two-time Gatorade Pennsylvania Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year from Neumann Goretti High School in Philadelphia. She averaged 28.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.0 steals through the district championship last season, a game in which she scored 54 points. She became the first female player invited to a men’s national All-America game, which was the 24K Showcase at the 2020 Iverson Roundball Classic

The women’s basketball team finished last season with a 22-9 record and finished in fifth place in the Big Ten. They received one vote in the preseason AP Poll released this week and the 2020-2021 schedule will be announced later this week.