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Lynx forward Napheesa Collier named Minnesota Professional Athlete of the Year

Minnesota Lynx's Napheesa Collier, right, shoots while defended by Los Angeles Sparks' Candace Parker during the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Photo: AP/ Ringo H.W. Chiu
Minnesota Lynx's Napheesa Collier, right, shoots while defended by Los Angeles Sparks' Candace Parker during the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019.

Updated: December 11, 2019 07:59 PM

Lynx forward Napheesa Collier was named Minnesota Professional Athlete of the Year presented by Fox Sports North at Wednesday night's Minnesota Sports Awards.

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. She becomes the second Lynx player to win the award after Sylvia Fowles won the award in 2017.

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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. She also ranked among the league's top 40 overall in all nine major statistical categories.

Collier also 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 addition to her work on the court, 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. And, the Missouri native hosted families from HopeKids at a Netflix movie screening in the Theater at Mayo Clinic Square where 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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