New York Liberty center Kia Vaughn named the 2011 WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year

New York Liberty center Kia Vaughn won the 2011 WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year award the league announced Friday. Vaughn received 15 out of 40 votes from a panel of local and national sportswriters and broadcasters, beating out Washington Mystics guard Matee Ajavon (10 points), Tulsa Shock forward Tiffany Jackson (10), Seattle Storm center Ashley Robinson (3), Atlanta Dream guard-forward Armintie Price (1), and .Chicago Sky guard Epiphanny Prince (1).

In her second WNBA season, Vaughn started all 34 games for the Liberty, recording career highs in points (10.1 ppg), rebounds (6.7 rpg), steals (1.2 spg), and assists (1.1 apg). Vaughn also shot career highs from the field (.497) and the free throw line (.786). She posted four points/rebounds double-doubles, and had a 10-game streak of double-digit scoring (June 30-July30). Vaughn led the Liberty in rebounds 12 times and in scoring on three occasions.

In a 94-82 win at Tulsa June 23, Vaughn scored a career-high 24 points and added 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double. On Sept. 9, she had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Liberty beat the first-place Indiana Fever 83-75.

A product of Rutgers University, Vaughn is the second straight Liberty player to earn Most Improved Player of the Year accolades (Leilani Mitchell, 2010) and the fourth in team history to receive the award. She also is the third player to win the award under the tutelage of head coach John Whisenant. It was during Whisenant’s stint as head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs that Nicole Powell (now also with the Liberty) and Erin Bueshcer earned the award in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

Complete voting results:


Votes Player Team
15 Kia Vaughn New York Liberty
10 Matee Ajavon Washington Mystics
10 Tiffany Jackson Tulsa Shock
3 Ashley Robinson Seattle Storm
1 Armintie Price Atlanta Dream
1 Epiphanny Prince Chicago Sky


Year Player Team
2011 Kia Vaughn New York Liberty
2010 Leilani Mitchell New York Liberty
2009 Crystal Langhorne Washington Mystics
2008 Ebony Hoffman Indiana Fever
2007 Janel McCarville New York Liberty
2006 Erin Buescher Sacramento Monarchs
2005 Nicole Powell Sacramento Monarchs
2004 Wendy Palmer/Kelly Miller Connecticut Sun/Indiana Fever
2003 Michelle Snow Houston Comets
2002 Coco Miller Washington Mystics
2001 Janeth Arcain Houston Comets
2000 Tari Phillips New York Liberty
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