NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2016 – Atlanta Dream center/forward Elizabeth Williams is the winner of the 2016 WNBA Most Improved Player presented by Samsung, the WNBA announced today. The second-year pro is the first Dream player to earn the honor.
Williams received 14 of 39 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Washington Mystics guard Tayler Hill finished second with nine votes. Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd and New York Liberty guard Sugar Rodgers tied for third with five votes apiece. Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas received two votes, followed by Dallas Wings guard/forward Karima Christmas, Chicago Sky guard Jamierra Faulkner, Minnesota Lynx forward Natasha Howard and Washington center Emma Meesseman with one vote each.
The fourth pick in WNBA Draft 2015 presented by State Farm, Williams raised her scoring average from 3.3 points last season to 11.9 this season and increased her rebounding average from 3.2 to 8.1 (fifth in the WNBA). She ranked second in the league in blocks with 2.3 per game, up from 0.9 as a rookie with the Sun in 2015. The former Duke standout tied for the WNBA high in minutes with 34.7 per game after averaging 11.7 last season.
Williams started all 34 games for the Dream, leading the team in rebounding and blocks and ranking third in scoring. She helped Atlanta finish 17-17 and secure the sixth seed in the 2016 playoffs. The Dream hosts the Storm in a single-elimination playoff game tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS.
This year marks the third season that Samsung, an official WNBA marketing partner, is serving as the presenting partner of the WNBA’s highest individual honors. The WNBA Performance Awards presented by Samsung program includes the WNBA Most Valuable Player, WNBA Most Improved Player, WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, WNBA Rookie of the Year and the WNBA Players of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards.
In honor of being named the WNBA Most Improved Player presented by Samsung, Williams will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
Below are the voting results of the 2016 WNBA Most Improved Player presented by Samsung and a list of past recipients:
2016 WNBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG VOTING RESULTS
|14||Elizabeth Williams||Atlanta Dream|
|9||Tayler Hill||Washington Mystics|
|5||Jewell Loyd||Seattle Storm|
|5||Sugar Rodgers||New York Liberty|
|2||Jasmine Thomas||Connecticut Sun|
|1||Karima Christmas||Dallas Wings|
|1||Jamierra Faulkner||Chicago Sky|
|1||Natasha Howard||Minnesota Lynx|
|1||Emma Meesseman||Washington Mystics|
ALL-TIME WNBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG WINNERS
|2016||Elizabeth Williams||Atlanta Dream|
|2015||Kelsey Bone||Connecticut Sun|
|2014||Skylar Diggins||Tulsa Shock|
|2013||Shavonte Zellous||Indiana Fever|
|2012||Kristi Toliver||Los Angeles Sparks|
|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|