New York Liberty's Kia Vaughn Named 2011 WNBA Most Improved Player

NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2011 – New York Liberty center Kia Vaughn was named the 2011 WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year, the league announced today. Vaughn received 15 out of 40 votes from a panel of local and national sportswriters and broadcasters, beating out Washington Mystics guard Matee Ajavon (10 points), Tulsa Shock forward Tiffany Jackson (10), Seattle Storm center Ashley Robinson (3), Atlanta Dream guard-forward Armintie Price (1), and .Chicago Sky guard Epiphanny Prince (1).

In her third WNBA season, Vaughn started all 34 games for the Liberty, recording career highs in points (10.1 ppg), rebounds (6.7 rpg), steals (1.2 spg), and assists (1.1 apg). Vaughn also shot career highs from the field (.497) and the free throw line (.786). She posted four points/rebounds double-doubles, and had a 10-game streak of double-digit scoring (June 30-July30). Vaughn led the Liberty in rebounds 12 times and in scoring on three occasions.

In a 94-82 win at Tulsa June 23, Vaughn scored a career-high 24 points and added 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double. On Sept. 9, she had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Liberty beat the first-place Indiana Fever 83-75.

A product of Rutgers University, Vaughn is the second straight Liberty player to earn Most Improved Player of the Year accolades (Leilani Mitchell, 2010) and the fourth in team history to receive the award. She also is the third player to win the award under the tutelage of head coach John Whisenant. It was during Whisenant’s stint as head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs that Nicole Powell (now also with the Liberty) and Erin Bueshcer earned the award in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

In honor of being named the Most Improved Player of the Year, Vaughn will receive $5,000 and a trophy specially designed by Tiffany & Co.

Below are the complete voting results for the 2011 WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award and a list of past recipients:

2011 MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR RESULTS

15 Kia Vaughn (New York Liberty)
10 Matee Ajavon (Washington Mystics)
10 Tiffany Jackson (Tulsa Shock)
3 Ashley Robinson (Seattle Storm)
1 Armintie Price (Atlanta Dream)
1 Epiphanny Prince (Chicago Sky)

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR

2011 Kia Vaughn (New York Liberty)
2010 Leilani Mitchell (New York Liberty)
2009 Crystal Langhorne (Washington Mystics)
2008 Ebony Hoffman (Indiana Fever)
2007 Janel McCarville (New York Liberty)
2006 Erin Buescher (Sacramento Monarchs)
2005 Nicole Powell (Sacramento Monarchs)
2004 Wendy Palmer/Kelly Miller (Connecticut Sun/Indiana Fever)
2003 Michelle Snow (Houston Comets)
2002 Coco Miller (Washington Mystics)
2001 Janeth Arcain (Houston Comets)
2000 Tari Phillips (New York Liberty)