Elizabeth Williams Honored as WNBA’s Most Improved Player

Williams first Atlanta Dream Player to win award                  

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 Wedensday.  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 has tallied five double-double performances in 2016 and has registered a total of 21 games with double-figure points and seven double-digit games on the boards.

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     

Player                                        Team                                 Points
Elizabeth Williams               Atlanta Dream              14
Tayler Hill                                   Washington Mystics            9
Jewell Loyd                                Seattle Storm                     5
Sugar Rodgers                           New York Liberty               5
Jasmine Thomas                        Connecticut Sun                2
Karima Christmas                       Dallas Wings                      1
Jamierra Faulkner                       Chicago Sky                     1
Natasha Howard                         Minnesota Lynx                 1
Emma Meesseman                     Washington Mystics          1

ALL-TIME WNBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG WINNERS

Points           Player                                     Team
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