Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike was named by the Associated Press as the WNBA Player of the Year on Tueseday. Ogwumike was selected by a 14-member media panel that votes in the weekly poll.
The fourth-year player averaged career-best numbers nearly across the board, including 19.7 points per game, 9.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists along with blistering 66.5 percent shooting from the floor. Ogwumike helped lead Los Angeles to the league’s second-best record overall at 26-8. The Sparks joined the Minnesota Lynx in earning themselves a playoff bye until the third round.
Sparks coach Brian Agler, who earned the AP’s WNBA Coach of the Year honors, had this to say on Ogwumike (via AP’s Doug Feinberg:)
“It’s a great thing for someone like Nneka to win an award like this as it shows that hard work and perseverance and continuing to develop your game can elevate you to superstar status.”
Sparks center Jantel Lavender also took home Sixth Woman of the Year honors. Ogwumike’s younger sister, Chiney, who plays for the Connecticut Sun, was named Comeback Player of the Year after recovering from microfracture surgery in her right knee.
Los Angeles drafted Ogwumike first overall back in the 2012 draft out of Stanford. She finished her four-year career on campus as the Cardinal’s second all-time leading scorer, trailing only Candice Wiggins. She also helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Women’s Basketball Championships in Turkey.
Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, while Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm won the Rookie of the Year award.