Ducks

Why Satou Sabally deserves the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year award

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The 2020 WNBA regular season is in the books which means awards season is upon us.

These include Most Valuable Player, All-WNBA team, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Woman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, All-Rookie Team and several coach/coaching staff awards. 

Throughout this shortened 22-game regular season, one name that was all too familiar to Oregon Ducks fans for the past three years kept popping up in Rookie of the Year conversations: Satou Sabally.

The 6-foot-4 dynamic and versatile wing/forward was selected No. 2 overall by the Dallas Wings in the 2020 WNBA Draft. 

Even though the Wings are packing up and leaving the ‘Wubble’ at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, it was still a season to remember as this very young squad narrowly missed out on the postseason but has a bright future ahead.

Sabally was a big reason why.

Satou Sabally 2020 regular season stats:

POINTS PER GAME
13.9
REBOUNDS PER GAME
7.8

Sabally was second on the Wings in total blocks (14), fourth in total assists (40) and led the team in total rebounds (124). A few points to note about that last stat: Sabally played in only 16 games (she missed eight games due to injury) and she normally played wing while sometimes getting shifted to forward/center for small ball.

Although the Wings did not make the playoffs, her efforts certainly did not go unnoticed.

Other potential Rookie of the Year candidates include: Crystal Dangerfield (Minnesota Lynx), Chennedy Carter (Atlanta Dream), Ruthy Hebard (Chicago Sky), Kaila Charles (Connecticut Sun), Julie Allemand (Indiana Fever).

 

Hebard and the Chicago Sky have made the postseason and the No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionesu's (New York Liberty) first year in the WNBA ended abruptly with an ankle injury in her third game.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon head football coach Mario Crisotbal].

Howard Megdal, editor-in-chief of The Next, had this to say on Sabally’s resume for Rookie of the Year:

“If versatility is your most vital criteria, Sabally is your pick. She’s second only to former Oregon teammate Ruthy Hebard in rebound percentage (7.8 rebounds per game) among rookies, and is north of 15 percent in assist percentage as well. Wings coach Brian Agler played her a good amount at the wing position, but thanks to a combination of her skill set and Dallas’s needs, she’s been a primary center of late as well and is thriving in that role, scoring 25 points against the Storm on Wednesday night.

Her efficiency has been her limitation so far this year: she is shooting just 36.8 percent from the field and 19.7 percent from three. But she’s excelled in as many different areas as any rookie.

Howard Megdal on Satou Sabally

Sound familiar Duck fans?

That is exactly what she did for three years in Eugene, Oregon and one of the reasons why the Dallas Wings selected the Oregon junior in the WNBA Draft.

When the Wings needed every bit out of Sabally with three games remaining on the schedule, she delivered. Against the Indiana Fever in a must-win situation, Sabally recorded 23 points and 17 rebounds.

Should Sabally win Rookie of the Year, she would join fellow Wings teammate Allisha Gray who won the award in 2017.

A national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters will cast their vote for Rookie of the Year, which begins on Monday. Each first-place vote is worth five points; each second-place vote is worth three points; and each third-place vote is worth one point. The player(s) with the highest point total, regardless of the number of first-place votes, wins the award.