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Phoenix's Leilani Mitchell Named 2019 WNBA Most Improved Player

September 18, 2019 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) News Release

NEW YORK - Phoenix Mercury guard Leilani Mitchell has been named the 2019 WNBA Most Improved Player, the WNBA announced today. The 11-year veteran has won her second Most Improved Player award and become the first player in WNBA history to earn the honor multiple times. She was also selected as Most Improved in 2010 as a member of the New York Liberty.

Mitchell received 27 of 43 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Minnesota Lynx guard Odyssey Sims finished second with five votes. Seattle Storm teammates Jordin Canada and Mercedes Russell tied for third with three votes each, followed by Indiana Fever guard Erica Wheeler with two votes.

The 5-5 Mitchell averaged career highs of 12.8 points, 4.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 30.4 minutes in 32 games this season, making her most starts (27) since the 2011 season. Last season, she averaged 4.4 points, 2.3 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 14.9 minutes in 31 games for the Mercury.

Mitchell shot 44.1 percent from the field this season, equaling her career high and finishing well above last season's mark of 35.1 percent. She also lifted her three-point accuracy to 43.0 percent from 34.1 percent in 2018, with this season's figure ranking third in the WNBA. Mitchell sank a career-high 74 three-pointers, exceeding her total from the previous two seasons combined (67).

On July 30, Mitchell made eight three-pointers against the Washington Mystics, matching the WNBA single-game regular-season record at the time. Indiana's Kelsey Mitchell broke the record by hitting nine three-pointers against the Connecticut Sun on Sept. 8.

Behind Leilani Mitchell and WNBA All-Stars DeWanna Bonner and Brittney Griner, Phoenix reached the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

In honor of being named the WNBA Most Improved Player, Mitchell will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.

Below are the voting results for the 2019 WNBA Most Improved Player and a list of past recipients.


Player Team Votes

Leilani Mitchell Phoenix Mercury 27

Odyssey Sims Minnesota Lynx 5

Jordin Canada Seattle Storm 3

Mercedes Russell Seattle Storm 3

Erica Wheeler Indiana Fever 2

Alysha Clark Seattle Storm 1

Natasha Howard Seattle Storm 1

Aerial Powers Washington Mystics 1


Points Player Team

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

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