Leilani Mitchell, DeWanna Bonner win
NEW YORK -- New York Liberty point guard Leilani Mitchell has been voted the WNBA's most improved player and Phoenix Mercury guard-forward DeWanna Bonner sixth woman of the year.
Mitchell received 29 of 39 votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. She beat out Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry, Indiana's Jessica Davenport and Washington's Crystal Langhorne and Monique Currie.
"It's nice, it shows that somebody's recognizing your hard work," Mitchell said Thursday night before the Liberty hosted Indiana in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
Mitchell increased her scoring average by nearly seven points to 9.3 and raised her assist average to 3.8. She led the league in 3-point percentage at 48 percent and was second in 3-point field goals made.
The Liberty underwent a roster overhaul in the offseason following a 13-21 season -- the second-worst in franchise history. The Liberty added Nicole Powell in the Sacramento Monarchs dispersal draft, acquired Cappie Pondexter from the defending champion Phoenix Mercury and signed veteran center Taj McWilliams.
Pondexter, shooting guard, was widely expected to play the point, a position she often plays overseas during the winter.
"We knew when [Pondexter] came she was a scoring guard but she could play the point guard if Leilani wasn't ready," Liberty coach Anne Donovan said. "But it became clear early on what Leilani gave us running the point. It was just a matter of her developing her confidence."
Bonner received 16 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. Liberty forward-center Plenette Pierson finished second with nine votes.
In 32 games this season, including 28 off the bench, Bonner averaged 12 points.
The Associated Press contributed to thsi report.
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