Amanda Zahui B was thrown for a loop to start the 2016 WNBA season, just her second in the league, when the New York Liberty acquired her from the Dallas Wings merely days before the season was set to tip off. Zahui B was able to get a practice under her belt, then suit up for the season opener at Washington, even playing 6 minutes in the victory.
The No. 2 overall pick in 2015, Zahui B averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game as a rookie for Tulsa. New York saw a versatile post player with a rare skill set, as Zahui B consistently was able to show off her range, defensive timing, and ability to finish at the basket as she grew more and more comfortable in Bill Laimbeer’s system. New York parted with its 2017 1st Round Draft pick in the trade, a move that appears to have already paid dividends as Zahui B wasted no time becoming a difference maker.
She became a critical component of the bench mob, the moniker New York’s second unit came up with to highlight the difference they often made in the outcome of games.
Zahui B had several stand out performances, whether it was her career-high 17 points in a win at Minnesota, or near double-double of 15 points and 9 rebounds at Washington. By the end of the year she was averaging 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, improvements from her rookie averages while demonstrating all of the signs that she was ready to break out for the Libs.
For Zahui B, her first season as a member of the Liberty was about showing all that she is capable of – scoring, rebounding, shot blocking. As she enters her 3rd year in the league, all eyes will be on her to see how those flashes throughout the 2016 season will be harbingers of what she will accomplish entering a familiar setting this time around.
June 29 @ Minnesota
Starting her first game of the season, Zahui B stepped in to scored 17 points with 9 rebounds in a big overtime win on the road against the Lynx
July 10 vs. San Antonio
Zahui B shot 6-of-9 from the field to finish with 14 points as the Liberty picked up a win over the Stars at Madison Square Garden
July 20 @ Washington
In the record setting win at Washington, where the bench scored 69 points, Zahui B contributed 15, narrowly missing out on a double-double with 9 boards
LIBERTY MAKES A ‘BIG’ TRADE
The second overall picks in the 2015 WNBA Draft made her way to New York as the Liberty sent its 2017 first round pick to the Dallas Wings in exchange for Amanda Zahui B. and a 2017 second round pick. Zahui B., who was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American at Minnesota in 2015, averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game during her rookie season. She also shot .333 from 3-point range and averaged 0.6 blocks per game.
STEPPING UP BIG TIME
With Tina Charles missing New York’s game at Minnesota on June 29, second-year center Amanda Zahui B stepped into the starting lineup for the first time in her career, and she more than made the most of the opportunity. Zahui B nearly recorded a double-double, pouring in a career-high 17 points (6-of-12 FG) with nine rebounds, posting a team-best +14 in her 34 minutes of action. She was able to get it done on the defensive end as well, swatting away three shots.
LIBERTY BENCH MOB SETS NEW WNBA RECORD
The Liberty saw its second unit combine for a WNBA record 69 points in the 88-81 win at Washington on July 20. Rebecca Allen led four New York reserves in double figures with a career-high 19 points on four 3-point field goals and Amanda Zahui B finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds. New York topped the previous all-time high of 63 points, set by Washington in 2014, but that came in an overtime effort, the non-OT record was 62, set by New York in 2008. The Liberty averaged 28.3 bench points per game which ranked 4th in the WNBA.