Lynx forward Napheesa Collier was named the WNBA's 2019 rookie of the year on Monday morning.
Collier, taken sixth overall in the draft out of Connecticut, got 29 votes from the panel of 43 sportswriters and sportscasters. Dallas guard Arike Ogunbowale received the other 14 votes.
Collier becomes the third No. 6 pick to win the award and the fourth Lynx rookie to win it. The others are Betty Lennox in 2000, Seimone Augustus in 2006 and Maya Moore in 2011.
Starting all 34 games, Collier averaged 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.
It was her ability to do so much that likely won her the award. Twelve of the past 15 rookie of the year winners were the leading rookie scorer that season.
“So many great players have won this award in the past and I’m excited to join that list," Collier said in a statement from the Lynx. "I’ve been lucky to be put in such a great situation here in Minnesota and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Collier led the league in minutes played (33.3 per game) and was fourth in steals
"She was not only one of the most efficient scorers in the league, her defensive performance ranked near the top of the entire league and was one of the best seasons ever for a rookie," said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. "Napheesa’s rookie campaign was a model of consistency rarely demonstrated by first-year players and simply put, we were a better team with her on the court.”
This year Ogunbowale (19.1) led all rookies and was third in the league in scoring. But Collier was more efficient, shooting 49% compared to Ogunbowale’s 38.8%. Collier also shot 36.1% on three-pointers compared to Ogunbowale’s 35.2.
.Collier became only the fourth player in WNBA history to finish a season with at least 400 points, 200 rebounds, 75 assists, 50 steals, 25 blocks and 25 made three-pointers, joining Moore, Tamika Catchings and Sheryl Swoopes. Collier was the league’s rookie of the month in July and the Western Conference player of the week in for Aug. 19-25, becoming only the second Lynx rookie to win such an honor (Augustus did it in 2006).
Collier was the only rookie at the WNBA All-Star Game.
Collier began her season with a 27-point debut —the second-best ever by a rookie — and finished it with a flourish: She scored in double figures in the final 15 games, averaging 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in that stretch, shooting 53.8% overall and 42.9% on threes.
Collier also was chosen rookie of the year by the Associated Press last week. The Lynx will hold a news conference later this morning.