Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike was presented with the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award trophy Wednesday night, prior to the team’s playoff semifinal game.
The fifth-year stand out from Stanford received 31 of 39 first-place votes from a media panel to win the honor. She lead the league in field goal percentage (66.5 percent) and was third overall in both points and rebounds in guiding the Sparks to the playoffs and a 28-6 regular-season record.
Ogwumike said teammate Candace Parker, a two-time MVP herself, has been inspirational.
“Growing up I’ve always wanted to play against Candace,” she said. “I guess dreams do come true.”
“My chemistry with Candace… there’s so much to learn from her. I spent a lot of my rookie first years listening and watching her, examining how she sees the game. It’s fun that our chemistry is building now. We understand each other’s game and we’re always showing each other what we can do on the court, nothing personal though. It can only go up from here.”
Parker praised Ogwumike’s growth.
“It’s been an amazing journey to watch Nneka develop the way she has,” Parker said. “She always plays with the same amount of passion, energy and selflessness since she got to LA. The team has always known of her potential and has recognized her talents, but it’s nice to see that the rest of the league recognizes that now.”