Rhyne Howard Becomes 25th Player to Win WNBA Rookie of the Year; Who Are the Others?

Rhyne Howard Becomes 25th Player to Win WNBA Rookie of the Year; Who Are the Others?

After a stellar 2022 campaign, Atlanta Dream guard Rhyne Howard has been named the WNBA Rookie of the Year. She received 53 of the possible 56 votes – with Shakira Austin (Washington Mystics) receiving two votes and NaLyssa Smith (Indiana Fever) receiving one. 

Howard finished the year averaging 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 31.4 minutes per game – she played in 34 games. In addition to winning WNBA Rookie of the Year, she was the Rookie of the Month in May, June, July, and August. 

That’s not all for the 22-year-old guard, who also earned Player of the Week honors in the middle of May and All-Star honors earlier in the season. This all comes after a stellar four-year career at the University of Kentucky, where she was a three-time 1st-Team AP All-American.

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Past Winners of the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award

Rhyne Howard Becomes 25th Player to Win WNBA Rookie of the Year; Who Are the Others?
via Instagram (@aja22wilson)

Rhyne Howard became the 25th player to win WNBA Rookie of the Year and just the second Atlanta Dream player to accomplish the feat – with Angel McCoughtry doing so in 2009. For players that are just getting settled as a professional, this award acts as major confirmation. 

In fact, there’s no better way to start your career than by winning the WNBA Rookie of the Year award. It not only shows you have the skill and talent to compete at a high level, but it shows how determined and committed you are to playing at a high level for many years to come.

For Rhyne Howard, this is only the beginning of what will be a long and fruitful career in the WNBA. To honor the many players that came before her, let’s take a look at the other 24 women to be named WNBA Rookie of the Year – starting in 1998, the WNBA’s second season.

24. Tracy Reid in 1998

Rookie Year: 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks per game (30 games)

Career: 7.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, nd 0.3 blocks per game (116 games)

Tracy Reid played college ball at the University of North Carolina before being drafted seventh overall by the Charlotte Sting in 1998. While she had an impressive rookie campaign with 13.8 points per game, she failed to duplicate that energy in any of her other five seasons in the WNBA. 

23. Chamique Holdsclaw in 1999

Rookie Year: 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.9 blocks per game (31 games)

Career: 16.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks per game (279 games)

Chamique Holdsclaw played college basketball at the University of Tennessee before being drafted by the Washington Mystics with the first overall pick in 1999. She was a six-time All-Star, including the first five years of her career, and averaged a career-best 20.5 points per game in 2003.

22. Betty Lennox in 2000

Rookie Year: 16.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks per game (32 games)

Career: 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.1 blocks per game (320 games)

Betty Lennox played college basketball at Louisiana Tech University before being drafted by the Minnesota Lynx with the sixth overall pick in 2000. She went on to play 12 years in the WNBA and averaged at least 10 points per game nine times – including 17.5 points per game in 2008.   

21. Jackie Stiles in 2001

Rookie Year: 14.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks per game (32 games)

Career: 11.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.1 blocks per game (53 games)

Jackie Stiles played college basketball at Missouri State University before being drafted by the Portland Fire with the fourth overall pick in 2001. She played in 21 games for the team in 2002, but numerous injuries caused her to eventually retire. In 2012, she began a career in coaching.

20. Tamika Catchings in 2002

Rookie Year: 18.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.9 steals, 1.3 blocks per game (32 games)

Career: 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.4 steals, 0.8 blocks per game (457 games)

Tamika Catchings played college basketball at the University of Tennessee before being drafted by the Indiana Fever with the third overall pick in 2001 – though she didn’t make her debut until 2002. She was a 10-time All-Star, the 2011 league MVP, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

19. Cheryl Ford in 2003

Rookie Year: 10.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks per game (32 games) 

Career: 10.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks per game (196 games)

Cheryl Ford played college basketball at Louisiana Tech University before being drafted by the Detroit Shock with the third overall pick in 2003. The four-time All-Star and 2007 All-Star MVP spent her entire seven-year career with the Shock and averaged a double-double three times. 

18. Diana Taurasi in 2004

Rookie Year: 17.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 19.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks per game (503 games)

Diana Taurasi played college basketball at the University of Connecticut before being drafted by the Phoenix Mercury with the first overall pick in 2004. The one-time MVP has spent her entire 18-year career with Phoenix and averaged a career-best 25.3 points per game in 2006. 

17. Temeka Johnson in 2005

Rookie Year: 9.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals per game (34 games)

Career: 8.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.1 blocks per game (327 games)

Temeka Johnson played college basketball at Louisiana State University (LSU) before being drafted by the Washington Mystics with the sixth overall pick in 2005. She spent 11 seasons in the WNBA with five different teams, averaging more than 10 points per game in 2012 and 2013.

16. Seimone Augustus in 2006

Rookie Year: 21.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks per game (391 games)

Seimone Augustus played college basketball at Louisiana State University (LSU) before being drafted by the Minnesota Lynx with the first overall pick in 2006. She averaged at least 21.0 points per game in three of her first four seasons and was an eight-time All-Star in the WNBA.

15. Armintie Price in 2007

Rookie Year: 7.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 5.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game (290 games)

Armintie Price played college ball at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) before being drafted by the Chicago Sky with the third overall pick in 2007. She spent nine seasons in the WNBA with four different teams, but never managed to score more than 8.5 points per game. 

14. Candace Parker in 2008

Rookie Year: 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.3 blocks per game (33 games)

Career: 16.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks per game (392 games)

Candace Parker played college basketball at the University of Tennessee before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008. She has averaged at least 11.2 points per game in each of her 15 seasons and is a seven-time All-Star, two-time MVP, and 2013 All-Star MVP.

13. Angel McCoughtry in 2009

Rookie Year: 12.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.4 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 18.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.6 blocks per game (311 games)

Angel McCoughtry played college basketball at the University of Louisville before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Dream in 2009. After an impressive rookie season – mostly coming off the bench – the five-time All-Star scored at least 20 points per game in five of her next six seasons. 

12. Tina Charles in 2010

Rookie Year: 15.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.7 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 18.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks per game (391 games) 

Tina Charles played college basketball at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) before going No. 1 overall by the Connecticut Sun in 2010. She averaged at least 15 points per game in each of her first 11 seasons – she had 14.8 points per game in 2022. She’s an eight-time All-Star and was named MVP in 2012. 

11. Maya Moore in 2011

Rookie Year: 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.5 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks per game (271 games)

Maya Moore played college basketball at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) before going No. 1 overall to the Minnesota Lynx in 2011. The six-time All-Star (three-time All-Star MVP) spent her entire eight-year career with the Lynx and had a career-high 23.9 points per game in 2014 – a year she was named MVP. 

10. Nneka Ogwumike in 2012

Rookie Year: 14.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks per game (33 games)

Career: 16.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1. Steals, 0.6 blocks per game (320 games)

Nneka Ogwumike played college basketball at Stanford University before going No. 1 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks in 2012. The six-time All-Star has spent her entire 11-year career with the Sparks and has averaged at least 13.3 points per game in each season – including 18.1 points per game in 2022. 

9. Elena Delle Donne in 2013

Rookie Year: 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.8 blocks per game (30 games)

Career: 19.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.5 blocks per game (218 games)

Elena Delle Donne played college basketball at the University of Delaware before going No. 2 overall to the Chicago Sky in the 2013 draft. During her nine-year career in the WNBA, she has averaged at least 20 points per game three times. She’s a two-time MVP and six-time All-Star. 

8. Chiney Ogwumike in 2014

Rookie Year: 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks per game (31 games)

Career: 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks per game (160 games)

Chiney Ogwumike, the younger sister of Nneka Ogwumike, played college ball at Stanford University before going No. 1 overall to the Connecticut Sun in 2014. She averaged at least 12.6 points per game in each of her first three seasons, but her production has dropped since then – she also works full-time as an ESPN analyst.

7. Jewell Loyd in 2015

Rookie Year: 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.2 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 15.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks per game (252 games)

Jewell Loyd played college basketball at the University of Notre Dame before going No. 1 overall to the Seattle Storm in 2015. After an impressive rookie season, she has averaged at least 15 points per game in six of the past seven seasons – she was also named an All-Star in four of the past five years.

6. Breanna Stewart in 2016

Rookie Year: 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.9 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 20.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks per game (183 games)

Breanna Stewart played college basketball at UCONN before going No. 1 overall to the Seattle Storm in 2016. She has averaged more than 20 points per game in three of the past four years – coming close in 2017 (19.9 points) and 2020 (19.7 points). The four-time All-Star was named MVP in 2008. 

5. Allisha Gray in 2017

Rookie Year: 13.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.6 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 11.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks per game (180 games)

Allisha Gray played college ball at the University of North Carolina and University of South Carolina before going No. 4 overall to the Dallas Wings in 2017. She has been a consistent player for the team ever since, putting up 13.3 points per game in 2022. She’s still waiting for her first All-Star nod. 

4. A’ja Wilson in 2018

Rookie Year: 20.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.7 blocks per game (33 games)

Career: 19.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.7 blocks per game (149 games)

A’ja Wilson played college basketball at the University of South Carolina before going No. 1 overall to the Las Vegas Aces in 2018. She has been one of the best players in the WNBA ever since – earning four All-Star nods, being named MVP in 2020, and Defensive Player of the Year in 2022.

3. Napheesa Collier in 2019

Rookie Year: 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.9 blocks per game (34 games)

Career: 14.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.1 blocks per game (89 games)

Napheesa Collier played college basketball at UCONN before going No. 6 overall to the Minnesota Lynx in 2019. She was named an All-Star in 2019 (13.1 points) and 2021 – after putting up a career-best 16.2 points per game. She only played four games this season after having her first child. .

2. Crystal Dangerfield in 2020

Rookie Year: 16.2 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals per game (21 games)

Career: 8.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.1 blocks per game (85 games)

Crystal Dangerfield played college ball at UCONN before being drafted by the Minnesota Lynx in the second round of the 2020 draft. She became the first second round draft pick to win Rookie of the Year, but her production has dropped since then. She ‘s currently a starter for the New York Liberty.

1. Michaela Onyenwere in 2021

Rookie Year: 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks per game (32 games)

Career: 6.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks per game (66 games)

Michaela Onyenwere played college basketball at UCLA before going No. 6 overall to the New York Liberty in 2021. Her production dropped during the 2022 season, largely due to her coming off the bench – despite starting 29 of 32 games as a rookie. She only played 13.7 minutes per game in 2022.

Who Will Win WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2023?

Rhyne Howard Becomes 25th Player to Win WNBA Rookie of the Year; Who Are the Others?
via Instagram (@paigebueckers)

The WNBA Rookie of the Year wasn’t the only award handed out recently. The Las Vegas Aces saw A’ja Wilson win Defensive Player of the Year, Becky Hammon win Coach of the Year, and Jackie Young win Most Improved Player of the Year. It was an exciting season for all of them.

While four teams are still competing in the 2022 WNBA Playoffs, a majority of teams in the league are now shifting their focus to the 2023 WNBA Draft – where next year’s WNBA Rookie of the Year will be drafted. Which player will go on to win it and which team will draft them? 

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That’s the mystery that will haunt every WNBA team leading up to the draft, but there are definitely some names to keep in mind – like Aliyah Boston, Paige Bueckers, Haley Jones, Diamond Miller, Ashley Joens, Elizabeth Kitley, Ashley Owusu, and Aijha Blackwell

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