Betnijah Laney Named 2020 WNBA Most Improved Player

ATLANTA – Atlanta Dream forward-guard Betnijah Laney has been named the 2020 WNBA Most Improved Player, the league announced today. A five-year WNBA veteran, Laney has won the Most Improved Player Award for the first time and joins Elizabeth Williams (2016) as players to earn the honor with the Dream.

Signed by Atlanta as a free agent in June, Laney averaged career highs of 17.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 33.3 minutes while starting all 22 games for the Dream this season. Her previous career highs in each category were all set in 2019, when she averaged 5.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 25.8 minutes in 34 games for the Indiana Fever.

She became only the sixth player in WNBA history to average at least 17 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.5 steals per game in a single season and the first since Maya Moore did it in 2016.

Laney received 25 of 47 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Washington Mystics forward Myisha Hines-Allen finished in second place with 21 votes. Las Vegas Aces forward-guard Angel McCoughtry received one vote.

In 2020, Laney shot career highs of 48.1 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from three-point range this season. Last season, she shot 36.2 percent from the field and a then career-high 30.3 percent from three-point range.

The 6-foot Laney scored at least 20 points seven times this season after not having a 20-point game in her first four WNBA seasons. She reached the 30-point mark twice, including a career-high 35 points against Washington on Aug. 19. Laney also recorded a career-high 11 assists against the Los Angeles Sparks on Aug. 21.

In honor of being named the WNBA Most Improved Player, Laney will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.

Below are the voting results for the 2020 WNBA Most Improved Player Award and a list of past recipients.

2020 WNBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER VOTING RESULTS     

Player                                  Team                                     Votes

Betnijah Laney                  Atlanta Dream                  25

Myisha Hines-Allen         Washington Mystics        21

Angel McCoughtry           Las Vegas Aces                  1

 

WNBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER WINNERS

 

Year       Player                                   Team

2020       Betnijah Laney                  Atlanta Dream

2019       Leilani Mitchell                  Phoenix Mercury

2018       Natasha Howard               Seattle Storm

2017       Jonquel Jones                    Connecticut Sun

2016       Elizabeth Williams            Atlanta Dream

2015       Kelsey Bone                       Connecticut Sun

2014       Skylar Diggins-Smith       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

 

The 2021 season marks the organization’s 14th in the WNBA. The Dream have qualified for the playoffs nine times, winning conference titles in 2013, 2011 and 2010.