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In a deep class, four WNBA All-Rookie selections stood out to coaches most

Cassandra Negley
·5-min read

Crystal Dangerfield, the unlikely Rookie of the Year ahead of the 2020 season, headlines the WNBA All-Rookie team released on Sunday. She’s the head of one of the deepest rookie classes in recent memory that includes sensation Sabrina Ionescu, though the Oregon alumna played only three games due to injury.

Dangerfield is joined by Julie Allemand, Chennedy Carter, Satou Sabally and Jazmine Jones. All but Jones received a maximum 11 votes from a panel of 12 WNBA coaches. They could pick five players regardless of position, though they couldn’t vote for their own rookie. Jones had six votes.

Here’s a look at the WNBA’s young stars. Dangerfield and the Minnesota Lynx are still in the playoffs. They’re down, 2-0, in the semifinal series with the Seattle Storm.

Crystal Dangerfield

Crystal Dangerfield became the first Rookie of the Year to be drafted in the second round. The Minnesota Lynx took her No. 16 overall.

The former UConn star averaged 16.2 points, ranking 11th in scoring, on 47.1 percent shooting while playing an average of 30 minutes a game. She averaged 3.6 assists and was named the rookie of the month for both August and September.

Chennedy Carter

Atlanta Dream guard Chennedy Carter brings the ball up the court during the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Atlanta Dream guard Chennedy Carter brings the ball up the court during the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Carter was the No. 4 overall pick by the Atlanta Dream and a favorite of WNBA veterans to win the Rookie of the Year award. She was hampered by missing six games due to an ankle sprain.

Carter led all rookies with 17.4 points per game, ranking eighth overall. It ranks 14th all-time for a rookie in average points per game. In August, against the stacked Seattle Storm, no less, she became the youngest player in WNBA history to score at least 30 in a game.

Carter was third among rookies in assists (3.4) and steals (0.9). The 5-foot-9 guard started all 16 games she played in and totaled at least 20 points in half of them.

Despite it being her first year, she led all players in usage percentage (31.9) and was joined by only one other rookie, the New York Liberty’s Jazmine Jones (27.1) in the top 10. The Liberty were playing with seven rookies on their roster to start the season. The Dream had three.

Julie Allemand

Indiana Fever point guard Julie Allemand became the first rookie in WNBA history to average eight points, five assists and four rebounds. The 5-foot-9 Belgian who plays on their national team tied franchise records this season for assists in a game (11) and 3-pointers made (6).

Allemand distributed the ball as needed, finishing second overall in assists per game at 5.8. She trailed only Courtney Vandersloot, who became the first WNBA player to average 10.0 assists per game.

Her 4.5 rebounds per game was second among rookies as was her 47.8 3-point shooting percentage.

Allemand ranked sixth in true shooting percentage (63.9 percent), fourth in effective shooting percentage (61.9) and 10th in assist percentage (27.5). She was heavily used in the wubble, averaging 32.5 minutes per game (sixth overall).

She was the Fever’s No. 33 pick in the 2016 WNBA draft and at age 19 had played two years of professional basketball in her home country. They drafted her knowing they wouldn’t get her immediately, and asked her to join this offseason.

Allemand plays for Belgium with Washington Mystics star Emma Meesseman.

Satou Sabally

Satou Sabally became the fourth rookie in WNBA history to average 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. It puts her in the elite company of Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, and Breanna Stewart, who is going for her second WNBA title.

Sabally had five double-doubles, but was hampered throughout the season first with a back issue and then a concussion that ended her WNBA year prematurely. Sabally, a 6-foot-4 forward out of Oregon, has the benefit of have leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale.

She is the youngest member of the league’s social justice council.

Jazmine Jones

Jazmine Jones was the No. 12 pick in the draft, one of the Liberty’s many new additions. She ranked fourth among rookies in points (10.8) and took over after No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu left the bubble with a Grade 3 ankle sprain.

She finished third among rookies in rebounding (4.1) and first in steals (1.4). Jones was primarily a bench player, starting only two of 20 games. The Liberty struggled, understandably, with a first-year coach, a roster full of rookies and new faces and the loss of their star. Jones’ development will be a bright spot for the Liberty in 2021.

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