Sky's Wade named coach of year; Howard DPOY

ByMechelle Voepel via ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Chicago's James Wade, in his first season with the Sky, was named the WNBA's coach of the year. Seattle forward Natasha Howard was named defensive player of the year. Both awards are voted on by a media panel.

Wade led the Sky to a 20-14 record and the No. 5 seed in the WNBA playoffs, which begin Wednesday. He will be presented his award before the Sky's first-round game against visiting Phoenix at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2). Howard will get her award before the No. 6 seed Storm's game vs. No. 7 Minneapolis (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

"He deserves this award so much," Chicago guard Allie Quigley said. "He has given us everything he has since day one. Every single day, he's told us how good we are and can be. This belief in ourselves and each other grew all summer because of him.

Wade, who previously was a WNBA assistant in Minnesota and San Antonio, got the Sky back into the postseason after the team missed the playoffs the past two years. Wade also was espnW's choice for coach of the year.

"What he was able to do for this franchise, to turn us around and put us back into the playoff run in just one year, it's incredible," Chicago point guard Courtney Vandersloot said. "Him being recognized in this way just makes me that much more excited for the future, and we still have more work to do."

Howard averaged 18.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocked shots for the Storm, who were without 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and veteran point guard Sue Bird all season because of injuries.

"Big play after big play, Natasha's ability to read her opponent and make stops has propelled our defense this season," Seattle coach Dan Hughes said.