Nigeria’s Nneka Ogwumike, 26, a Los Angeles Sparks forward, has won the 2016 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)‘s Most Valuable Player of 2016 after capturing 31 out of 39 media first-place votes.
It’s the first MVP honor for the 6-foot-2 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.
“As 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 didn’t feel quite like that.
Many may not understand when I say that this just kind of happened…..things fell into place. Please, don’t let me leave you misunderstood! Dreams don’t sprout overnight and triumph doesn’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 I’m certain is bright. As the WNBA’s 2016 MVP, I want to say thank you, I’m humbly honored, and can’t wait for what’s next,” Ogwumike said in an email.