NEW YORK (AP) — Minnesota’s strong regular season has resulted in at least two individual awards for the Lynx.
Maya Moore has been selected the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year and Cheryl Reeve is the coach of the year in voting by a national media panel, acccording to a person familiar with the voting.
Also, Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner has been picked the league’s sixth woman of the year for the third straight season, and New York’s Kia Vaughn is the most improved player.
Moore, selected No. 1 overall in this year’s draft, averaged 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The former UConn star helped the Lynx to a league-best 27-7 record — improving from the previous season’s 13-21 mark and setting a franchise record for victories.
Minnesota also has two candidates for MVP — Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen. The winner of that award was not disclosed.
Moore is the third Lynx player to be selected the league’s top rookie, joining teammate Seimone Augustus (2006) and Betty Lennox (2000). Moore is also the third former UConn player to win the award, after Diana Taurasi (2004) and Tina Charles (2010).
Reeve was hired as head coach before last season after spending the previous nine years as an assistant with Charlotte, Cleveland and Detroit. She is the second Lynx coach to be picked for the honor, joining Suzie McConnell-Serio (2004).
Moore and Reeve will receive their awards Friday night before the opener of Minnesota’s Western Conference semifinals series against San Antonio.
Bonner, selected by the Mercury with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, has won the sixth woman award in each of her three seasons in the WNBA. The 6-foot-4 former Auburn star averaged 10.7 points, a career-high 7.0 rebounds and a league-leading 91 percent shooting on free throws. She also shot 34 percent on 3-pointers.
Vaughn, selected by the Liberty eighth overall in 2009, was thrust into a starting role in New York with the absences of the team’s top two rebounders from last year — Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who signed with Minnesota, and Janel McCarville, who sat out. Vaughn averaged 10.1 points and 6.7 rebounds — up from last season’s 2.1 and 1.4, respectively. The former Rutgers star started every game this year after starting just one the prevous two.
Vaughn is the second straight Liberty player and fourth overall to be picked for most improved. Leilani Mitchell was selected last year, McCarville in 2007 and Tari Phillips in 2000.
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