Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum has been named the 2021 Kia WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, the WNBA announced today.
Plum has been selected as the league's top reserve for the first time in her career. This marks the third consecutive season in which a member of the Aces has earned the honour, with Las Vegas forward Dearica Hamby having won the award in 2019 and 2020.
Plum received 41 votes from a national panel of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters. Hamby finished as the runner-up with five votes. Dallas Wings guard Marina Mabrey received two votes and Connecticut Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman received one vote. To be eligible for the WNBA Sixth Player of the Year Award, a player had to come off the bench in more games than she started.
Coming off the bench in every game in which she played this season, Plum recorded eight games of at least 20 points - the most in a single season by a reserve in WNBA history. Her two games of at least 30 points tied a league record for players coming off the bench, set by Angel McCoughtry, then of the Atlanta Dream, in 2012.
In her fourth WNBA season, Plum averaged a career-high 14.8 points. She also averaged 3.6 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 28.3 minutes in 26 games. She ranked 16th among all WNBA players in scoring and 14th in assists, pacing reserves in both categories. Her 663 minutes played as a reserve were second only to Hamby (710). She also logged nine games with at least five assists.
Plum helped the Aces earn the second-best record in the league (24-8) and the No. 2 seed in the WNBA Playoffs 2021 presented by Google. Las Vegas, seeking to win its first WNBA championship, hosts the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury in Game 2 of a Semifinals series tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Las Vegas holds a 1-0 advantage in the series.
Plum capped the regular season as the Kia WNBA Western Conference Player of the Month for September, when she averaged 21.7 points, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals while helping the Aces to a 5-1 record. She also earned the final Western Conference Player of the Week award of the regular season, averaging 24.3 points in Las Vegas' 3-0 week.
Plum, 27, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft, has spent her entire WNBA career with the Aces' franchise after a standout collegiate career at the University of Washington. She holds career averages of 10.1 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 122 games (80 starts) in the WNBA.
In honour of being named the WNBA Sixth Player of the Year, Plum will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.
Below are the voting results for the 2021 Kia WNBA Sixth Player of the Year Award and a list of past recipients.
|Kelsey Plum||Las Vegas Aces||41|
|Dearica Hamby||Las Vegas Aces||5|
|Marina Mabrey||Dallas Wings||2|
|Natisha Hiedeman||Connecticut Sun||1|
|2021||Kelsey Plum||Las Vegas Aces|
|2020||Dearica Hamby||Las Vegas Aces|
|2019||Dearica Hamby||Las Vegas Aces|
|2018||Jonquel Jones||Connecticut Sun|
|2017||Sugar Rodgers||New York Liberty|
|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|