Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally has been named the 2023 WNBA Most Improved Player, the league announced on Thursday. This is the first major honor for Sabally, who put together a historic campaign as she led the Wings to their best season in over a decade.
Sabally won the award going away with 37 votes from the panel of 60 media members. Los Angeles Sparks guard Jordin Canada finished in second place with 18 votes, while Chicago Sky forward Alanna Smith was a distant third with three.
She put in the work & is now being rewarded for it 🧡@satou_sabally is your 2023 WNBA @Kia Most Improved Player— WNBA (@WNBA) September 21, 2023
Satou Sabally went from averaging 11.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, & 2.1 APG in 2022, to putting up career highs of 18.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 4.4 APG this season#KiaMIP #MoreThanGame pic.twitter.com/GHw3YWNRRQ
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, Sabally's career got off to a frustrating start. Her first season took place in a bubble in Florida amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and then injuries took hold, derailing her next two seasons. Heading into this summer, she had played just 44 games since being drafted.
This season, though, everything finally clicked into place. Sabally stayed healthy all season long, appearing in 38 of the Wings' 40 games, and made major leaps on both sides of the ball, as she ascended to true stardom. Simply put, there aren't many players capable of doing what Sabally does at her size.
She averaged career-highs across the board at 18.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.8 steals, while shooting 36.1% from 3-point land. Those marks were good for ninth in the league in scoring, 10th in rebounding, 13th in assists and fourth in steals; the only player in the top 15 of all four categories was Breanna Stewart, who may win MVP. Furthermore, Sabally joined Candace Parker as the only player in league history to average 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists for a season.
With Sabally leading the way, the Wings finished 22-18 to earn the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. That was their first winning season since 2015, when they played in Tulsa, and their first 20-win season since 2008, when they played in Detroit. Earlier this week, the Wings swept the Atlanta Dream in the first round of the playoffs to win their first playoff series since 2009.
Now, they'll face the defending champion Las Vegas Aces in the semifinals. If they want to pull off the upset and get to the Finals for the first time since 2008, they're going to need a huge series from Sabally.