Wednesday, July 17, 2024

2022 WNBA Coach of the Year: Aces’ Becky Hammon earns honor in first season with Las Vegas

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Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon has been named 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year, the league announced on Friday. Hammon is the third former player to win the award and did so in her first season in charge of the Aces. 

Hammon received 27 votes from a national panel of 56 sportswriters and broadcasters, which gave her a fairly comfortable win over the Atlanta Dream’s Tanisha Wright, who received 18 votes. Chicago Sky head coach James Wade received eight votes to finish in third place, while Vickie Johnson (Dallas Wings), Vanessa Nygaard (Phoenix Mercury) and Mike Thibault (Washington Mystics) all received one vote. 

Under Hammon’s leadership, the Aces revamped their offensive system and became nearly unstoppable on that side of the ball. They played with the fastest pace in the league (98.64), shot the third-most 3-pointers per game (26.4) and led the league in both 3-point percentage (36.1) and offensive rating (109.6). As a result, they earned the No. 1 overall seed and set a franchise record with 26 wins. 

Hammon’s next goal will be leading the Aces to the first title in franchise history. After cruising through the first round of the playoffs with a two-game sweep over the Phoenix Mercury, the veteran Seattle Storm are up next in the semifinals. The two teams have history, with the Storm beating the Aces in the 2020 Finals in the bubble. Hammon was not the coach back then, and she’ll hope she can be part the difference this time around. 

Prior to taking over as the Aces’ head coach, Hammon spent eight seasons in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs working under the legendary Gregg Popovich. She became the first woman to be a full-time assistant coach in the NBA and in 2020 became the first woman to serve as head coach in an NBA game when she filled in for Popovich. 

As a player, Hammon spent 16 seasons in the WNBA, including eight with the Aces franchise when they were still the San Antonio Silver Stars. During her illustrious career she made six All-Star Games and four All-WNBA appearances. Her No. 25 was retired by the Aces and in 2021 she was named to the WNBA’s 25th anniversary team as one of the 25 greatest players of all time. 

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