Aces forward Dearica Hamby is known as a big guard overseas, a title she playfully embraces with her teammates in Las Vegas.
But come Sunday, Hamby will be known as something else, too.
The WNBA’s Sixth Woman of the Year.
Hamby, 25, will receive the award Sunday at the Thomas &Mack Center before the Aces’ second-round playoff game against the Chicago Sky, a person with knowledge of the voting confirmed to the Review-Journal. The league will announce her as the winner Sunday morning, but she was notified late last week.
“Before I (re-signed) here, Bill (coach Laimbeer) kind of told me he envisioned my role.” said Hamby, who also was named Sixth Woman of the Year by The Associated Press. “I think it’s also cool, outside of numbers and averages, I think the way I play. Somebody who does all the dirty work. Works hard. Hustles.”
In her fifth season, Hamby averaged career highs of 11 points and 7.6 rebounds in 34 games, 25 of them as a reserve. She shot 48.8 percent from the field and was among the most productive offensive players near the basket, averaging 3.2 field goals within 5 feet per game, eighth in the league.
“I expected this from her this year. I actually expected more,” Laimbeer said.
Hamby also is among the league’s most versatile defenders — possessing the requisite strength to pester sturdy post players and the necessary foot speed to contain guards and wings — and competes with an infectious passion.
“She just brings a type of energy and determination in a lot of games that just saves us a lot of times,” guard Sydney Colson said. “It’s not necessarily a winning shot or layup or anything that she might do, but she changes the tide of the game a lot of the time just by exerting herself and being willing to put everything out on the line for the team.”
Laimbeer said he thinks Hamby can grow into a better player by mastering a post move or two and continuing to shoot from the perimeter with confidence. She attempted a career-high 1.6 3-pointers per game and converted 32.1 percent, leaving plenty of room for improvement.
“We’ll work on that for the future, but I’m happy for her for winning the award,” Laimbeer said.