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written by: Emily Arno

With the 2007 WNBA season coming to an end, media members are asked to look back at the season and make the difficult decision on who is most deserving of a post-season award. The panel includes 16 members of the national media and 39 representatives from the 13 WNBA markets. The media panel will vote for the following awards: MVP, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Woman of the Year (new in 2007), the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award and the First and Second All-WNBA Teams.

Rebekkah Brunson
Rebekkah Brunson
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
The Monarchs have been well received by media members in the past, winning such awards as the 2005 Coach of the Year (John Whisenant) and Most Improved Player of the Year (Nicole Powell). Last season, Erin Buescher continued the tradition by keeping the Most Improved Player Award in Sacramento for a second season.

This season is no different. The Monarchs will once again be in the running for the Most Improved Player Award by recognizing the major improvement that Rebekkah Brunson has made in her game. With a season-ending injury from DeMya Walker in June, Brunson had to step up and assume a new role on this team. Her numbers saw an immediate jump and others began to take notice. In June, Brunson was honored with the WNBA Player of the Week Award, the first Monarchs player to receive the accolade since 2002. By July, she was in her hometown of Washington DC as a first-time WNBA All-Star. She is a great athlete and she is great player, said Monarchs Head Coach Jenny Boucek, Her basketball IQ is growing and for a young player that is what you expect and for somebody with a good attitude and the intelligence that she has, the sky is the limit for Rebekkah.

Brunson has set career-highs in almost ever single category this season. She scored a career-high 21 points on June 5, against San Antonio. On August 9, Brunson pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds, one rebound shy of the Monarchs franchise record set in 2001 by Yolanda Griffith. Brunson currently leads the league in offensive rebounds per game and all her hard work has caught the attention of the WNBAs greatest offensive rebounder. Shes one of the top offensive rebounders in the league, said teammate Yolanda Griffith. Shes matured. Shes understanding what teams are giving to her and taking from her, and shes taking advantage of it.

Kara Lawson
Kara Lawson
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
New to the awards this season is the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Award. This award is given out to recognize the player that makes significant contributions off the bench. Kara Lawson exemplifies what this award is all about. She not only leads the Monarchs off the bench night in and night out but her consistent positive attitude and work ethic is an inspiration off the court. Coming off the bench has never been a problem for Lawson, "She has sacrificed to be willing to not start when she is capable of starting for most any team in this league, said Boucek, She's never had an ounce of attitude about that. She's embraced that role. There aren't a lot of pros who would do that." But that is what Lawson is, a consummate professional weather it be on the court or off.

This season Lawson was chosen by WNBA President Donna Orender to be a first-time member of the 2007 WNBA All-Star Team. Lawson was the only player on the roster who does not start for their respective team. In addition, Lawson is currently averaging a career-high 11.1 points per game in 31 games played all off the bench. Lawson has led the Monarchs in scoring eight times and scored in double digits, including a career-high tying 24 points, in 14 games.

Lawson has become such an integral part of the Monarchs team that her teammates have started looking at her as much more than a sixth woman. She is a coach out on the floor, noted Monarchs guard Chelsea Newton. She takes basketball very seriously on the court and off the court. She is an All-Star and having an All-Star coming off the bench and bringing a lot of energy and leadership is major.




Kara Lawson for Sixth Woman of the Year || Rebekkah Brunson for Most Improved Player








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MONARCHS LEADERS

Points
11.0
11.0
8.0
7.5
5.5
Rebounds
5.5
5.0
4.0
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3.5
Assists
2.5
2.0
2.0
1.5
1.0

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