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.
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Women's National Basketball Association Stories from September 24, 2020
- Storm Wins Game 2 with Balanced Scoring Attack - Seattle Storm
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- Atlanta Dream's Betnijah Laney Named 2020 WNBA Most Improved Player - WNBA
- Betnijah Laney Named 2020 WNBA Most Improved Player - Atlanta Dream
- Los Angeles' Candace Parker Named 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year - WNBA
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