Sparks’ Jantel Lavender named 2016 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year

NEW YORK – Los Angeles Sparks center Jantel Lavender has been named the 2016 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year presented by Samsung, the WNBA announced today.  The six-year veteran center earned the award as the WNBA’s top reserve for the first time.

The 27-year-old Lavender received 26 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters.  Dallas Wings guard Aerial Powers and Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley, the Sixth Woman honoree in each of the past two seasons, tied for second place with three votes apiece.  Indiana Fever guard Shenise Johnson was next with two votes, followed by five players who received one vote each: Connecticut Sun center/forward Jonquel Jones, Fever forward Lynetta Kizer, Minnesota Lynx guard Renee Montgomery, New York Liberty center Kiah Stokes and Liberty guard Shavonte Zellous.

To be eligible for the award, players had to have come off the bench in more games than they started.  Lavender came off the bench in all 34 games this season, returning to the reserve role she held during her first three WNBA seasons before becoming a starter in 2014 and 2015.

With Lavender flourishing off the bench, Los Angeles went 26-8 and earned the No. 2 seed in the 2016 WNBA Playoffs presented by Verizon.  The Sparks won their first 11 games, the second-longest streak to open a season in WNBA history, and their 20-1 record through 21 games equaled the best one-loss start ever.

Lavender, chosen by the Sparks with the fifth overall selection of the 2011 WNBA Draft, ranked 40th in the WNBA in scoring (9.6 ppg) while averaging 19.4 minutes per game.  The former Ohio State standout was one of only two players among the top 40 scorers to average fewer than 20 minutes (Powers was the other).  Lavender scored in double figures 17 times, with six games of at least 15 points.  She also shot a career-high 53.8 percent from the field, the 10th-best mark in the WNBA.

On July 15, the Cleveland native recorded season highs of 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 98-92 win at Connecticut.  She also scored 22 points as Los Angeles defeated the visiting Liberty, 100-77, on June 7, and contributed 20 points in a 93-82 home win over the Washington Mystics on July 10.

This marks the third season that Samsung, an official WNBA marketing partner, is serving as the presenting partner of the WNBA’s highest individual honors.  The WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, WNBA Most Valuable Player, WNBA Most Improved Player, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, WNBA Rookie of the Year and the WNBA Players of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards are a part of the WNBA Performance Awards presented by Samsung program.

In honor of being named the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year presented by Samsung, Lavender will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.

Below are the voting results for the 2016 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year presented by Samsung and a list of past recipients:


Votes    Player Team
26 Jantel Lavender Los Angeles Sparks
3 Aerial Powers Dallas Wings
3 Allie Quigley Chicago Sky
2 Shenise Johnson Indiana Fever
1 Jonquel Jones Connecticut Sun
1 Lynetta Kizer Indiana Fever
1 Renee Montgomery Minnesota Lynx
1 Kiah Stokes New York Liberty
1 Shavonte Zellous New York Liberty




Year                Player                               Team
2016                Jantel Lavender             Los Angeles Sparks
2015                Allie Quigley                      Chicago Sky
2014                Allie Quigley                      Chicago Sky
2013                Riquna Williams                Tulsa Shock
2012                Renee Montgomery          Connecticut Sun
2011                DeWanna Bonner             Phoenix Mercury
2010                DeWanna Bonner             Phoenix Mercury
2009                DeWanna Bonner             Phoenix Mercury
2008                Candice Wiggins               Minnesota Lynx
2007                Plenette Pierson               Detroit Shock

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