With the WNBA Playoffs headed for the semi-finals, the league is announcing its end of season awards.
Per the WNBA, Atlanta Dream standout guard Rhyne Howard has been named the 2022 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year. She received 53 of 56 votes from sportswriters and broadcasters. The Washington Mystics’ Shakira Austin got two votes, while the Indiana Fever’s NaLyssa Smith garnered one.
The No. 1 draft pick averaged 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the 34 games she played this season. Howard led the Dream to a 10th place finish, where the team had a chance to grab the eighth spot in the playoffs.
In addition to making her first All-Star team, the University of Kentucky alum set the single-season record for three-pointers made by a rookie with 85.
Howard, Austin and Smith are joined on the WNBA All-Rookie team by the Chicago Sky’s Rebekah Gardner and Indiana’s Queen Egbo.
With Chicago set to begin its best-of-five series against the Connecticut Sun, the defending champions’ head coach/general manager James Wade was named 2022 WNBA Executive of the Year, per ESPN.
That just leaves the MVP trophy, which most analysts believe has come down to the Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson and the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart. As usual, both superstars had amazing seasons, so this is really a no win situation for voters.
Stewart previously won the award in 2018, while Wilson was named MVP in 2020. Interestingly enough, they have also both been Rookie of the Year, so Rhyne Howard may have more big honors in her future.
The duo are set for a head-to-head showdown, as the Aces and Storm face off in a best-of-five semi-final playoff match up. As good as Chicago and Connecticut have been this season, it feels like Las Vegas vs Seattle is the real WNBA Finals showdown.
The WNBA Playoffs are currently airing on the ESPN Networks, with the semi-finals kicking off Sunday, Aug. 28.