New York’s Janel McCarville Named 2007 WNBA Most Improved Player

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2007 – New York Liberty center Janel McCarville has been named the 2007 WNBA Most Improved Player, the league announced today. McCarville received 33 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Sacramento Monarchs forward Rebekkah Brunson finished second with seven votes and Liberty guard Loree Moore finished third with two votes.

After the Liberty chose her with the third selection overall in the Charlotte Sting Dispersal Draft this past January, McCarville enjoyed a breakout season and helped engineer a dramatic turnaround as the Liberty rebounded from its worst season in franchise history to earn a berth in the 2007 WNBA Playoffs.

As McCarville’s playing time increased from an average of 6.3 minutes over the Liberty’s first 13 games to 28.4 minutes over the final 21 contests, so too did the Wisconsin native’s output. Upon earning a permanent spot in the team’s starting lineup on June 26, McCarville quickly established herself as a go-to player and finished the year as the Liberty’s top rebounder (4.75 rpg) and third-leading scorer (10.4 ppg).

Over the 15 games that followed the All-Star Game, McCarville led the Liberty in scoring, averaging 15.7 points compared to just 5.7 prior to the break. Her rebounding performance also improved significantly during that same span, increasing from 3.4 boards per game to 6.3.

McCarville’s output in 2007 was significantly greater than that of her previous two seasons as she set career highs in minutes, points, field-goal and free-throw percentage, rebounds, assists and steals. Her 10.4 points per game surpassed the 4.6 she averaged a year ago and more than tripled the 3.2 average she brought into the 2007 season.

After collecting her first double-double, including a career-high 12 rebounds, in her fourth game as a starter at Detroit on July 6, McCarville recorded two more double-doubles – at Connecticut on July 26 and at Phoenix on Aug. 9. In the Phoenix contest, the third-year pro poured in a career-high 25 points.

The former University of Minnesota standout and the No. 1 pick overall in the 2005 WNBA Draft (by Charlotte) is the second Liberty player to receive the league’s Most Improved Player award. Tari Phillips earned the inaugural award in 2000.

As the WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year, McCarville will receive a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co. and $5,000.

Below are the results of the 2007 WNBA Most Improved Player voting and past recipients.

2007 MOST IMPROVED PLAYER RESULTS

VotesPlayerTeam
33Janel McCarvilleNew York Liberty
7Rebekkah BrunsonSacramento Monarchs
2Loree MooreNew York Liberty
1Jia PerkinsChicago Sky
1Lindsay WhalenConnecticut Sun
1Erin BuescherSan Antonio Silver Stars
1Becky HammonSan Antonio Silver Stars
1Shanna CrossleySan Antonio Silver Stars
1Asjha JonesConnecticut Sun
1Nakia SanfordWashington Mystics
1Nicole PowellSacramento Monarchs
1Penny TaylorPhoenix Mercury

PAST MOST IMPROVED PLAYER WINNERS

YearPlayerTeam
2007Janel McCarvilleNew York Liberty
2006Erin BuescherSacramento Monarchs
2005Nicole PowellSacramento Monarchs
2004Wendy Palmer/Kelly MillerConnecticut Sun/Indiana Fever
2003Michelle SnowHouston Comets
2002Coco MillerWashington Mystics
2001Janeth ArcainHouston Comets
2000Tari PhillipsNew York Liberty

Featuring 13 teams and the greatest female basketball players in the world, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women’s professional team sports league in U.S. history. The 2007 WNBA Playoffs tip off on August 23 with complete coverage through the Conference Finals being provided by ABC, ESPN2, ESPN and NBA TV. The 2007 WNBA Finals begin on September 5 and will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2. For more information, please visit WNBA.com.