NEW YORK – Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray has been named the 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year, the WNBA announced today. She becomes the second player in franchise history to earn the honor, joining Cheryl Ford, who won the award in 2003 with the Detroit Shock.
Gray received 30 votes from a national panel of 40 sportswriters and broadcasters. Atlanta Dream guard Brittney Sykes received the other 10 votes.
The fourth overall pick in the WNBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm, Gray finished second among rookies in scoring (13.0 ppg) and rebounding (3.9 rpg). She also led first-year players in steals with 1.53 per game, which ranked seventh in the WNBA. The 6-foot Gray started all 34 games for Dallas and averaged a rookie-high 27.2 minutes per game.
She is the first player selected outside the top three picks in the draft to win the Rookie of the Year honor since Temeka Johnson in 2005.
“Allisha is an outstanding player,” stated Head Coach Fred Williams. “She is symbolic of what the future of women’s professional basketball is headed towards. We are proud on how she has taken the challenge as a rookie, and helped our team reach the playoffs. Her passion and inspiration to help make everyone around her better, was appreciative for me as a head coach. She is a great student of the game.”
Gray helped the Wings (16-18) improve by five games from last season and advance to the WNBA Playoffs 2017 presented by Verizon as the seventh seed. In the postseason, Dallas lost its first-round game to the Washington Mystics.
A former University of South Carolina standout, Gray tipped off her professional career by winning WNBA Rookie of the Month honors in May and June. She scored in double figures in five of her first six games and grabbed a season-high nine rebounds twice in her first 12 games.
“We are thrilled for Allisha as she receives the WNBA’s highest rookie honor,” stated Dallas Wings President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Bibb. “Allisha enjoyed a tremendous rookie season and has quickly become a cornerstone of our young roster. More importantly, she has proven to be an outstanding young lady and an exemplary representative of the Dallas Wings organization, on and off the court. We are excited for her future and that of our team.”
Gray recorded two games with at least 20 points this season, including a career-high 21-point performance against the Connecticut Sun on Aug. 12. Two days earlier, she scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and matched a career high with four steals against the Phoenix Mercury.
In honor of being named the 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year, Gray will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co. adidas is commemorating Gray’s Rookie of the Year victory with exclusive T-shirts available tomorrow on WNBAStore.com.