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