Dream’s Hayes Named To All-Rookie Team
With the WNBA postseason in full swing, Atlanta Dream guard Tiffany Hayes was one of five players named to the 2012 WNBA All-Rookie Team, the league recently announced.
Hayes is just the second Dream player ever to earn All-Rookie Team honors, joining Angel McCoughtry (2009). A second-round draft selection and two-time NCAA champion (2009, 2010), Hayes played in 34 games for Atlanta, starting in 17. The University of Connecticut alumna ranked second among rookies in assists, fifth in scoring and 10th in rebounding.
Hayes reached double figures in scoring 16 times, and averaged 11.9 points per game during her 17 starts. On July 7, she recorded a career-high 23 points during a 100-93 double overtime win on the road against Phoenix. She was fourth on the team with 21 three-point baskets, and added 28 steals and 12 blocked shots this season.
Joining Hayes on the All-Rookie team are Nneka Ogwumike of the L.A. Sparks, the Tulsa Shock’s Glory Johnson and Riquna Williams, and the Phoenix Mercury’s Samantha Prahalis.
L.A.’s Ogwumike, Coach Ross Win 2012 Honors
The Los Angeles Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike was honored as the WNBA 2012 Rookie of the Year and her coach, Carol Ross, was chosen 2012 Coach of the Year.
The honor for Ogwumike marked the fifth straight season in which the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft went on to be named WNBA Rookie of the Year. She follows Maya Moore (2011), Tina Charles (2010), Angel McCoughtry (2009), and Candace Parker (2008).
Ogwumike helped the Sparks finish the 2012 regular season with the league’s third-best record (24-10) and earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference of the WNBA playoffs. Los Angeles is now taking on the Minnesota Lynx in the Western Conference Semifinals.
A product of Stanford University, Ogwumike led the league’s rookies in points, rebounds, and double-doubles, while ranking second in field-goal percentage), fourth in steals, and fifth in assists.
Ross, in her first season with the Sparks after serving as assistant coach for the Atlanta Dream, guided L.A. to a significant turnaround after the team missed the postseason last year, including a 16-1 mark at Staples Center.
WNBA success is not new to Ross, who, as an assistant with Atlanta under Marynell Meadors from 2009-11, helped the Dream earn a pair of Eastern Conference crowns and a berth in the WNBA Finals in each of the past two seasons.
Similarly, with Ross at the helm, Sparks forward Candace Parker returned to her All-Star form after a pair of injury shortened seasons and guard Alana Beard overcame career-threatening foot and ankle injuries to excel for Los Angeles. She also coached 16 years at Florida and Mississippi.