Los Angeles Sparks forward, Nneka Ogwumike has been named the 2016 WNBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) presented by Samsung, the league announced today. The fifth-year forward earned her first MVP award and became the eighth different player in the last eight years to win the honor. She is the third winner for the Sparks, joining teammate Candace Parker (2008, 2013) and Lisa Leslie (2001, 2004, 2006).
Ogwumike (362 points) received 31 of 39 first-place votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Tina Charles of the New York Liberty received the other eight first-place votes and finished second with 267 points, followed by Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx (197 points), Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky (119 points) and Parker (30 points). Players were awarded 10 points for a first-place vote, seven points for a second-place vote, five points for a third-place vote, three points for a fourth-place vote and one point for a fifth-place vote.
Behind Ogwumike, Los Angeles went 26-8 and earned the No. 2 seed in the 2016 WNBA Playoffs presented by Verizon. The Sparks won their first 11 games, the second-longest winning streak to open a season in WNBA history, and their 20-1 record through 21 games equaled the best one-loss start ever. Los Angeles hosts Chicago in Game 1 of the WNBA Semifinals on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Ogwumike shot a WNBA-best 66.5 percent from the field this season, the second-highest mark of all time, 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). The former Stanford University standout added career highs in assists (3.1 apg) and blocks (1.2 bpg) to go with 1.3 steals in 33 games.
A three-time WNBA All-Star and the 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year presented by Samsung, Ogwumike was named Western Conference Player of the Week six times and Western Conference Player of the Month presented by Samsung twice this season.
This year marks the third 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, Ogwumike will receive $15,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.