12:01 PM ET
Alexa Philippou ESPN
- Covers women’s college basketball and WNBA
- Formerly Hartford Deutschland has covered the University of Connecticut and the WNBA Connecticut Suns
- Stanford graduate and Baltimore native, in the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and Cincinnati Enquirer
The league announced Friday that Becky Hammon of the Las Vegas Aces was Named the 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year, making her the first former WNBA player-coach to receive the award in her first season as a head coach.
Harmon won 27 out of 56 votes in the sports media membership panel, while Atlanta Dream’s Tanisha Wright — another former WNBA player turned coach — — with 18. James Wade of the Chicago Sky scored eight points, while Dallas’ Vicky Johnson, Phoenix’s Vanessa Nygard and Washington’s Mike Tebow each scored one.
Hammon became one of seven coaches in WNBA history to receive Coach of the Year honors in their first seasons.
No. 1 seed ace Harmon, who led him to a 26-10 regular-season finish, will take on the No. 4-seeded Seattle Storm in a top-five semifinal series that begins Sunday . The Aces’ regular-season winning percentage (.722) is the second-highest ever for a rookie head coach.
Las Vegas looking to win the franchise’s first WNBA title has advanced to at least the semifinals in each of the first three years under Bill Laimbeer. If the Aces win the championship, Hammon will become the first first-year head coach to win a WNBA title since Van Chancellor won the WNBA title with the Houston Comets in the league’s inaugural season in 1997.
After Laimbeer left this past offseason, Harmon rushed to implement a rhythm and space, read-heavy offense that included a flurry of 3-pointers that matched the Beal’s more old-school approach premised on getting the ball is a far cry from entering the post. Aces flourished in new style: Hammon’s 9-1 start to the regular season marked the best 10-game start of a coaching career in league history, and the team’s .722 regular-season winning percentage was third in franchise history. Harmon also led the Aces to a 93-83 win over Chicago to win their second annual Commissioner’s Cup title last month, while also leading the Wilsons to a 2022 All-Star Game victory.
Along the way, Vegas’ new offense smashed a string of WNBA records: It made 23 3-pointers in the first round of last week’s playoffs against the Phoenix Mercury The 90.4 points per game marked the third-highest scoring average in league history and the most since 2010. (
Hammon’s starting five — A’ja Wilson, Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray and former reserves Kelsey Plum and Dearica Hamby — became the most lethal in the league One of the lineup. Four of the five made All-Stars earlier this season, including MVP candidate Wilson, most improved rookie Young and WNBA prospect Plum, while Gray received the MVP in the Commissioner’s Cup championship game. due return.
Hammon’s legendary WNBA career spanned 16 seasons, including eight with the San Antonio Silver Stars, the team’s pre-transfer Aces predecessor. She was recently named one of the 25 greatest players in league history. Following her career, Hammon spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, joining her as the first full-time female assistant in NBA history.