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Atlanta Dream’s Rhyne Howard wins WNBA Rookie of the Year

No. 1 overall pick Rhyne Howard excelled all season for the Atlanta Dream. (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

While a number of rookies excelled this season in the WNBA, the winner of the league’s Rookie of the Year award should come as no surprise.

Rhyne Howard earned the honor for her stellar first season with the Atlanta Dream. The No. 1 overall pick averaged 16.2 points, 11th in the league and first among the rookie class.

The guard out of the University of Kentucky also contributed 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals across 34 games, and she broke Tamika Catchings’ 20-year-old rookie record (77) by sinking 85 3-pointers.

She is joined on the All-Rookie team by Indiana Fever forward NaLyssa Smith and Washington Mystics center Shakira Austin, the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks in the draft. Howard received 53 out of 56 votes for Rookie of the Year, while Austin received two and Smith received one.

Chicago Sky guard Rebekah Gardner, a 32-year-old who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2012 and built her career in Europe, and Indiana Fever forward Queen Egbo round out the team.

While the other rookies proved standouts for their teams, Howard remained a head above the rest all season. She won the Rookie of the Month award for all four months of the season, becoming just the seventh player in WNBA history to take the honor in at least three consecutive months.

She joined a prestigious list that includes Michaela Onyenwere (2021), A’ja Wilson (2018), Breanna Stewart (2016), Elena Delle Donne (2013), Nneka Ogwumike (2012) and Tina Charles (2010). All six also went on to win the Rookie of the Year award.

As her offseason begins, she has been invited to attend USA Basketball’s training camp starting Sept. 6 in Las Vegas. The training camp leads up to the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, which starts Sept. 22 in Australia.

WNBA All-Rookie team

  • Shakira Austin, Washington Mystics
  • Queen Egbo, Indiana Fever
  • Rebekah Gardner, Chicago Sky
  • Rhyne Howard, Atlanta Dream (Rookie of the Year)
  • NaLyssa Smith, Indiana Fever