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Betnijah Laney Named 2020 WNBA Most Improved Player

September 24, 2020 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Atlanta Dream News Release

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.


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