1st overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft, Mya Moore, won the Rookie of the Year award while the coach of her Minnesota Lynx team, Cheryl Reeve, took the honors for Coach of the Year. Kia Vaughn of the NY Liberty was awarded the Most Improved Player title, and Dewanna Bonner of the Phoenix Mercury won her third consecutive 6th Woman of the Year Award.

Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve Named 2011 WNBA Coach of the Year

Second-Year Coach Guided Lynx to a WNBA-best 27-7, a 14-Game Improvement from 2010,
the Second-Largest Single-Season Wins Increase in WNBA History

Cheryl Reeve - Head Coach Minnesota Lynx (photo credit: Thomas Humphrey)

The WNBA announced Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve as the recipient of the 2011 WNBA Coach of the Year Award.  Reeve received 36 votes from a national panel of 40 sportswriters and broadcasters.  She becomes the second Lynx head coach in franchise history to receive the award, joining Suzie McConnell Serio (2004). Reeve will be presented with the award this evening by WNBA President Laurel Richie at a press conference at 5:45 p.m. in the Timberwolves/Lynx media room.

Reeve is the latest Lynx to receive WNBA honors in 2011. Earlier today, forward Maya Moore was named the Rookie of the Year.  Minnesota players also swept the Western Conference Player of the Month honors with Rebekkah Brunson winning in June, Seimone Augustus in July, and Lindsay Whalen in August. Minnesota’s combined five Conference Player of the Week awards (three by Augustus and two by Brunson) also led the league.

Under Reeve’s tutelage, the Lynx authored a significant turnaround in 2011, finishing the regular season with the league’s best record (27-7, a 14-game improvement over last season, second-largest single-season wins increase in WNBA history) and earning the No. 1 overall seed in the 2011 WNBA Playoffs presented by Boost Mobile.  The Lynx open their Western Conference Semifinals series against San Antonio at home in Minneapolis tonight.

Minnesota’s best regular season in the franchise’s 13-year history included team records for total victories and home wins (27 and 14, respectively), and a share of the single-season all-time WNBA mark for most road wins (13). Excelling at both ends of the floor, Minnesota tied the 2010 Seattle Storm for the fifth largest single-season point-differential in league history (+7.9 ppg) and set a franchise mark for victories by double-digit margins (17). Offensively, the Lynx shot a franchise-best 46.1 percent from the field, boasted the league’s assists leader (Lindsay Whalen), and ranked third in the league in scoring (81.5 ppg).  Defensively, Minnesota held opponents to a league-low 41.3 percent shooting.  The Lynx also led the league in rebounds (36.5 rpg) and fell just .1 percent short of the single-season WNBA record for rebounding differential (+6.4 pg).

For the 44-year old Reeve, the honor comes in just her second year as a WNBA head coach, having taken over the reins in Minnesota for the 2010 season.  Prior to reaching the WNBA, the former Rhodes Scholar nominee and basketball star at Philadelphia’s LaSalle University spent 12 years on the collegiate level, including head coaching roles at Indiana State and George Washington.  She then moved to the WNBA where stints as an assistant under Anne Donovan in Charlotte (2001-02, 2004-05) and Dan Hughes in Cleveland (2003) laid the foundation for an extremely successful tenure as an assistant with the Detroit Shock.

It was in Detroit, alongside head coach Bill Laimbeer and fellow assistant Rick Mahorn, that Reeve helped guide the Shock to the WNBA Finals in three consecutive seasons, winning championships in 2006 and 2008.  Groomed by Laimbeer, who in 2008 expanded her duties to include the director of player personnel role, the Washington Township, NJ native was hired by Minnesota as head coach on Dec. 8, 2009.



— Fourth Consecutive Top Overall Pick to Win Award —

NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2011 – Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore earned the 2011 Rookie of the Year award, the WNBA announced today.  A national panel of 40 sportswriters and broadcasters awarded Moore the honor.

Moore, the University of Connecticut product and two-time NCAA National Champion, topped all rookies in points (13.2 ppg), minutes (28.0 mpg) and steals (1.4 spg).  She was second overall amongst rookies in rebounds (4.6 rpg) and third in assists (2.7 apg).

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft presented by adidas finished the season winning two out of the three WNBA Rookie of the Month honors. Moore becomes the fourth straight No. 1 selection to win Rookie of the Year, joining Tina Charles (2010), Angel McCoughtry (2009), and Candace parker (2008).

The 6-0 forward collected 21 points, four assists and four rebounds in her professional debut, an 82-72 loss June 3 at Los Angeles.  Perhaps Moore’s best game came on Aug. 9 in an 85-80 loss to the Phoenix Mercury, as she recorded a career-best 28 points, on 6-of-6 shooting from the three-point range, and five steals; the six three-pointers tied a record for the most threes made without a miss in a single game.  In another notable performance, Moore amassed 26 points on 6-for-9 shooting from three point range in a 90-67 win over the Connecticut Sun July 9.  Moore recorded double-digit points 24 times, and helped the Lynx finish a league best 27-7 and clinch home court throughout the playoffs.

Moore was named a western conference All-Star starter; she was the first rookie to be voted to start since Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings in 2002.  Moore averaged double digits in scoring in every month.  She averaged 13.2 points for June and finished her rookie season by averaging 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists for the month of September.

In honor of being named the 2011 Rookie of the Year, Moore will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.



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 second 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:

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

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

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