Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said before the season that forward Dearica Hamby is a top bench player on a championship caliber team.
Hamby spent the rest of season proving him right.
The fifth-year forward was named Sixth Woman of the Year by The Associated Press on Wednesday, receiving 12 of 14 votes from a panel comprised of media across the country. She averaged career highs of 11 points and 7.6 rebounds in 34 games — 25 of them as a reserve — and shot 48.8 percent from the field for the Aces, who finished 21-13 and captured the No. 4 seed in the WNBA playoffs.
Also for the Aces, center Liz Cambage was named to the AP’s All-WNBA second team and guard Jackie Young to its All-Rookie team.
Cambage, acquired in May from the Dallas Wings, averaged 15.9 points on 50.4 percent shooting and 8.2 rebounds. Young, the No. 1 overall pick in April, averaged 6.6 points and a team-high 4.5 assists.
Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne earned AP Player of the Year honors after a season in which she averaged 19.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. She shot 51.5 percent from the field, 43 percent from 3-point range and 97.4 percent from the free-throw line to become the first WNBA player in the 50-40-90 club.
The Mystics finished 26-8 and had the best offensive rating (112.9 points per 100 possessions) in league history.
The AP awards are separate from the WNBA awards. On Wednesday, the WNBA announced two award winners — James Wade of the Chicago Sky as Coach of the Year and Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard as Defensive Player of the Year.
AP WNBA awards
Player of the Year: Elena Delle Donne, Washington
Rookie of the Year: Napheesa Collier, Minnesota
Defensive Player of the Year: Natasha Howard, Seattle
Sixth Woman of the Year: Dearica Hamby, Aces
Most Improved Player: Leilani Mitchell, Phoenix
Coach of the Year: Mike Thibault, Washington
Comeback Player of the Year: Isabelle Harrison, Dallas
All-WNBA first team: Elena Della Donne, Washington; Brittney Griner, Phoenix; Courtney Vandersloot, Chicago; Chelsea Gray, Los Angeles; Jonquel Jones, Connecticut
All-WNBA second team: Natasha Howard, Seattle; Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles; Liz Cambage, Aces; Diamond DeShields, Chicago; DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix
All-Rookie team: Napheesa Collier, Minnesota; Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas; Teaira McCowan, Indiana; Jackie Young, Aces; Brianna Turner, Phoenix