Lynx forward Collier making big push for WNBA Rookie of the Year

Over the course of the season, we periodically checked in with the Minnesota Lynx and gave updates on how the young players are performing on the court. With the regular season coming to a close next week, this is the 7th and final edition of the 2019 Young Lynx Tracker.


Forward Napheesa Collier

With two weeks remaining in the WNBA regular season, it’s become a two-player race for WNBA Rookie of the Year between Collier and Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale.

If Collier can finish out the final three games on a high note, the honor could be hers.

Collier has been the league’s most consistent rookie all season. The University of Connecticut product leads all first-year players in 3-point percentage (34.7; 100+ attempts) and ranks second in field-goal percentage (48.6), rebounds (6.4) and points per game (12.9) as well as second in total blocks (28).

Ogunbowale tops the rookie charts in points per game, but that’s really the only category she holds over Collier.

Napheesa Collier, MIN 31 33.0 48.6 34.7 6.4 2.5 1.9 0.9 12.9
Arike Ogunbowale, DAL 28 31.2 37.4 33.3 2.4 2.7 1.0 0.0 17.1

Collier is playing her best basketball of late, too. She’s notched double-digit points in 12 straight games and 22 of 31 contests this season. Her run has helped the Lynx clinch a ninth straight postseason appearance, something that was in question after Maya Moore announced she would sit out the 2019 campaign.

Ogunbowale’s Wings, on the other hand, sit deep in the cellar of the Western Conference with a 9-20 record.

The numbers speak for themselves. But Collier passes the eye test, too.

Collier’s 28th block of the season might have been her best. During the Lynx’s 93-85 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night, rookie Katie Lou Samuelson — her teammate at UConn and best friend – got loose in transition. Collier stalked her down the court and absolutely demolished Samuelson’s shot attempt.

It was savage.


— Second-year guard Lexie Brown poured in 20 points Aug. 20, just one point short of her career best. But in the three games since then, Brown has scored a combined 13 points on 3-of-10 shooting from downtown.

— Odyssey Sims has scored in double figures in eight of her last 10 games.

— Forward Damiris Dantas posted her second career double-double in Minnesota’s win over Chicago on Tuesday night. It was her first double-double since Sept. 9, 2015 when she was a rookie with Atlanta.

— Minnesota signed forward Bridget Carleton for the rest of the season, the team announced Thursday. Carleton, a second-round pick by Connecticut this spring, was named the Big 12’s Player of the Year after averaging 21.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game for Iowa State as a senior in 2018-19.