"Big Dog" Hoffman Wins WNBA’s Most Improved
In her fifth season out of USC with the Indiana Fever, Hoffman was named the 2008 WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year and judging by the results, the media loves her too. Hoffman captured her first WNBA award handedly with 31 votes followed by Chicago Sky’s Jia Perkins with five.
Overcome with emotion, Hoffman thanked God for “instilling in her the tenacity to keep going even when you think it’s not going to be recognized and the struggle starts to get a little bit too hard.”
Her tears fell while thanking her husband of nearly a year, Ronald Cass “who told me if I just dug a little deeper and a little harder this year that every dream I had would come true.”
Lastly she thanked her parents who she says were constantly calling and emailing encouraging her, and first year Head Coach Linn Dunn and assistant Jim Lewis.
“The change of Coach Dunn inspired me to bring more than I could ever bring,” she said.
And what Hoffman brought this season was career highs in points (10.4), rebounds (7.8), assists (1.8), steals (1.4), field goal percentage (46.5) and three-point percentage (45.6).
Earlier in the season, Dunn noted that one of the reasons Indiana was able to give up Tamika Whitmore in a trade with the Connecticut was Hoffman's continuous improvement over the years.
“Ebony works really hard,” she said. “She’s proving on the court what we knew she could do.”
“During the offseason when I walked into the coach’s office and they told me what I needed to work on that’s what I tried to do,” Hoffman said.
And it’s all paid off and has been written in the record books.
Still, for all of Hoffman’s statistics, WNBA President Donna Orender pinpointed what people recognize who have either come in contact with the Harbor City, Calif. native, or who have watched her play --- “her tremendous heart and tremendous pride.”