Scoring Champion Wins Award for First Time in Third WNBA Season
Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky, who posted the fifth-highest scoring average in WNBA history this season, has been named the 2015 WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Samsung, the league announced Wednesday. The third-year guard/forward earned 38 of 39 first-place votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
Delle Donne won the MVP award for the first time, leading the Sky to a 21-13 record and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The second overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm averaged a league-high 23.4 points in 31 games, scoring at least 40 points twice, 30 points five times, and 20 points 21 times. She also shot a WNBA-best 95.0 percent (207-for-218) from the free throw line and finished third in the league in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and blocked shots (2.06 bpg).
A three-time All-Star selection and the 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year presented by Samsung, Delle Donne (385 points from voters) is the first Sky player to capture the MVP award. Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore, the 2014 WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Samsung, received one first-place vote and finished second with 246 points. New York Liberty center Tina Charles, the 2012 MVP, was third with 181 points, followed by Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (70 points) and two-time MVP forward/center Candace Parker (57 points) of the Los Angeles Sparks. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth, and one for fifth.
Delle Donne began the season in historic fashion by averaging 28.7 points in June, a WNBA record for the first 10 games of a season (Cappie Pondexter, now Delle Donne’s teammate, held the previous mark of 25.7 points with the Mercury in 2008). Delle Donne’s June highlights included a career-high 45 points against the Atlanta Dream on June 24, the sixth-best scoring performance in league history. She shot 19-for-19 from the free throw line in the game to set a WNBA record for most free throws made without a miss. On June 6, Delle Donne hit for 40 points against the Tulsa Shock. The former University of Delaware star is only the fourth player in league history to notch two 40-point games in a single season.
In addition to being named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month presented by Samsung for June, Delle Donne earned the conference’s Player of the Week honor a league-best five times. She also recorded 10 double-doubles on the season, two shy of the league high shared by Parker and Jantel Lavender of the Sparks and Charles of the Liberty.
Delle Donne’s prolific free throw shooting included a Sky-record 54 consecutive makes, and her overall performance at the foul line marks the sixth time in league history that a player has made more than 200 free throws in a season. Her 95.0 percentage was the seventh-best single-season mark in league history and the highest all time among players with more than 100 free throw attempts in a season.
This year marks the second season that Samsung, an official WNBA marketing partner, is serving as the presenting partner of the WNBA’s highest individual honors. The WNBA Performance Awards presented by Samsung program includes the WNBA Most Valuable Player, WNBA Most Improved Player, WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, WNBA Rookie of the Year, and the WNBA Players of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards.
In honor of being named the WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Samsung, Delle Donne will receive $15,000 and a specially designed trophy.