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Cubaj, Lahtinen Tabbed to National Watch Lists

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech women’s basketball veterans Lorela Cubaj and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen were named to the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s Women’s Preseason Top 50 Watch List on Tuesday. The list of early front-runners for the most prestigious honors in college basketball, the Wooden Award All American Team and Most Outstanding Player Award, were announced after a national committee of college basketball experts determined the recipients. Cubaj was also named to the 2022 Naismith Trophy Watch List.

The reigning ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Cubaj averaged a double-double last season behind 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. She led the team and ACC in rebounding, while ranking 12th in the nation last season. After becoming the first-ever defensive player of the year in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history, Cubaj also collected all-ACC first team honors, ACC all-tournament team (second) recognition and WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-American honorable mention accolades last season.

Joining Cubaj on the 2021 all-ACC first team (media), Lahtinen was named the ACC Most Improved Player last season after averaging 15.0 points per game to lead the Jackets. She shot 43.0 percent from the field, including a 34.3 percent average beyond the arc and recorded 14 games scoring 15 or more points last season. Lahtinen was one of only six players in the ACC to score 30 points or more in a game when she scored a career-high 30 against NC State. Lahtinen returns for her senior season also having garnered WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America honorable mention honors last season.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is represented by eight members on the preseason watch list. Joining Cubaj and Lahtinen are Jakia Brown-Turner (NC State), Elissa Cunane (NC State), Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech), Aisha Sheppard (Virginia Tech), Hailey Van Lith (Louisville) and Maddy Westbeld (Notre Dame).

Georgia Tech is one of 12 schools with multiple players on the list and just one of three ACC schools (NC State and Virginia Tech).

The Wooden Award committee will announce a midseason list and a late season list before the National Ballot of 15 players will be released and voted upon during the NCAA Tournament. The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight round. The winner of the 2022 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.

Georgia Tech opens the 2021-22 season tonight at Central Michigan. Tip is slated for 6 p.m. against the Chippewas in McGuirk Arena on ESPN+.

Cubaj’s preseason accolades:
Preseason All-ACC
ESPN Top 25
Katrina McClain Award Watch List
Naismith Trophy Watch List
Wooden Award Top 50

Lahtinen’s preseason accolades:
Preseason All-ACC
Wooden Award Top 50

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