MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – Lynx Forward Napheesa Collier was named Minnesota Professional Athlete of the Year presented by Fox Sports North at tonight’s Minnesota Sports Awards presented by Sports Minneapolis at Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot. Collier won the award for her outstanding WNBA season as the league’s top rookie and for her work in the community in her first season in the Twin Cities. Collier becomes the second Lynx player to win the award after Sylvia Fowles won the award in 2017.
Coming off being named the 2019 WNBA Rookie of the Year, Collier wrapped up her debut season in the WNBA as the fifth rookie in franchise history to start every game (Nicky Anosike, Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Nicole Ohlde), averaging 13.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.91 spg and 0.94 bpg while leading the league in minutes played (33.3 mpg). Collier finished her rookie campaign shooting 49.0% from the field, 36.1% from three-point range and 79.2% from the free throw line and ranked among the league’s top 40 overall in all nine major statistical categories. The 6-1 forward became the fourth player in WNBA history to finish a season with at least 400 points, 200 rebounds, 75 assists, 50 steals, 25 blocks and 25 made three-pointers, joining Moore, Tamika Catchings and Sheryl Swoopes. The sixth overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, she became the lowest draft selection since Temeka Johnson (sixth pick in 2005) to win the award.
In her first season with the Lynx, Collier shined off the court and in the community. She was a Dream Team Mentor, where she was paired with a young lady from Big Brothers Big Sisters who was part of the Minnesota Lynx Dream Team. She spent one-on-one time with her mentee at a Lynx practice and at lunch in the team players’ lounge. The Missouri native hosted families from HopeKids at a Netflix movie screening in the Theater at Mayo Clinic Square. HopeKids is an organization that provides ongoing events, activities and a powerful, unique support community for families who have a child with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition. They watched an advance screening of “Tall Girl” a Netflix original comedy about Jodi, the tallest girl in her school, who never quite felt comfortable in her own statuesque skin.
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Sports Minneapolis leads the region in bidding, winning and executing major professional and amateur sporting events that impact the city of Minneapolis and beyond. Sports Minneapolis, a division within Meet Minneapolis, has played a major role in securing events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s Final Four, Major League Baseball All-Star Game, USA Girls’ Jr. Volleyball, CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer, X Games and more. Amateur and professional sports events increase visitor spending and tax revenue that benefits the local community. Sports Minneapolis and its partners, including the University of Minnesota, have secured upcoming NCAA championships and major events, such as the 2020 Division I Wrestling Championships, the 2021 Division I Men’s Gymnastics Championships, and the 2021 Division I Men’s Basketball Regional. In addition, Sports Minneapolis and its partners will be the local organizing committee for the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four.