Nigeriaâ€™s Nneka Ogwumike, 26, a Los Angeles Sparks forward, has won the 2016Womenâ€™s National Basketball Association (WNBA)â€˜s Most Valuable Player of 2016 after capturing 31 out of 39Â media first-place votes.
Itâ€™s the first MVP honor for the 6-foot-2Â former Cy-Fair High School and Stanford University standout, who averaged a career-high 19.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 blocks this season, her fifth in the WNBA.
Ogwumike shot a league-best 66.5% from the field this season and set league records for consecutive field goals made (23) and most field goals in a game without a miss (12, against the Dallas Wings on June 11).
She also ranked third in the league in scoring (career-high 19.7 ppg) and rebounding (career-high 9.1 rpg) and recorded the second-most double-doubles (18).
Ogwumike added career highs in assists (3.1 apg) and blocks (1.2 bpg) to go with 1.3 steals in 33 games.
â€œAs far as goals go, this honor has always been on a list I wrote down in the back of some journal years ago. Typically, when you have achievements in mind, you prepare yourself and set standards to take a step-by-step approach to reach the top. Looking back, however, my 2016 season didnâ€™t feel quite like that.
Many may not understand when I say that this just kind of happenedâ€¦..things fell into place. Please, donâ€™t let me leave you misunderstood! Dreams donâ€™t sprout overnight and triumph doesnâ€™t grow from trees.
My 2016 season is a reflection of years of being a student of the game, hours of grueling practice, memories, favorable and unfavorable; of great teammates and heartbreaking losses on the court. My hindsight is 20/20 and what lays ahead of me may not be visible, but Iâ€™m certain is bright. As the WNBAâ€™s 2016 MVP, I want to say thank you, Iâ€™m humbly honored, and canâ€™t wait for whatâ€™s next,â€Ogwumike said in an email.