Loyd would be the Storm's first Rookie of the Year award winner. Neither top overall draft picks Lauren Jackson (2001) nor Sue Bird (2002) won the honor despite remarkable first seasons.
The WNBA is expected to announce Jewell Loyd as its 2015 Rookie of the Year presented by Samsung. Official word should be released Thursday afternoon.
Loyd would be the Storm’s first Rookie of the Year award winner. Neither top overall draft picks Lauren Jackson (2001) nor Sue Bird (2002) won the honor despite remarkable first seasons. Jackson, a three-time league MVP, was outvoted by Jackie Stiles (Portland). Bird, who led Seattle to its first playoff appearance as a rookie, was topped in the vote by Tamika Catchings (Indiana).
The Rookie of the Year receives a trophy and $5,000 check.
Loyd, a 5-foot-10 guard, had a peculiar start to her professional career. The No. 1 overall draft pick was an early-entry due to an age exemption but eight games into the season Loyd requested she not start because she wasn’t ready for the role.
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The former Notre Dame star ended her rookie season well, averaging 13.6 points and 2.6 assists in her final five games. Overall, Loyd led all WNBA rookies in scoring (10.7 points per game) and was fourth among the newcomers in rebounding (3.5).
“It was really good for me,” Loyd said last week of her decision to not start 11 of her 34 games. “For me to realize I’m actually in the WNBA and the speed of the game, it was good for me to see that and insert myself in other ways. That really helped me grow and we have great vets that helped all of the rookies develop.”
Loyd, who turns 22 on Oct. 5, plans to play in Turkey during the WNBA offseason. She’s signed with Galatasaray Odeabank, which won the 2014 EuroLeague championship.
In addition to the rookie award, the WNBA will hold its draft lottery on Thursday. ESPN2 will telecast the event live during halftime of Phoenix-Minnesota Game 1 matchup of the Western Conference Finals, which tips at 5pm PT.
The lottery was scheduled for halftime of the Eastern Conference Finals but that Game 1 between Indiana and New York was moved to Wednesday due to the Pope’s scheduled mass at Madison Square Garden this week.
Seattle has the greatest odds to garner the No. 1 overall pick. It would be its fourth in franchise history.