KIAH STOKES 2015 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
- Named to the 2015 WNBA All-Rookie Team and was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year
- Named to the 2015 WNBA All-Defensive Second Team
- The WNBA Rookie of the Month for games played in August
- Averaged 5.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 54.7 percent from the field
- Led all rookies in rebounds, blocked shots and shooting percentage. Also ranked fourth in the WNBA in blocks and 11th in rebounding
- Blocked a franchise record eight shots in a win over the Connecticut Sun on July 16
- Scored in double figures six times and had nine games with at least 10 boards, posting three double-doubles
- The only rookie in the WNBA to record a double-double in 2015
- Scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in a win over Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals
- Had a career-high 13 rebounds in the series clinching win over Washington in the Eastern Conference Semifinals
When the New York Liberty traded up to draft Kiah Stokes with the 11th overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, the team knew it was getting a game-changing defender. But it would have been difficult to anticipate the extent to which Stokes would have an impact during her first year in the league.
Her abilities were evident from the very start of the year, as she posted her first double-digit scoring effort just three games into the season, and blocked at least one shot in each of her first five games, averaging a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game during that stretch.
While Bill Laimbeer is hoping to see continued improvement from Stokes on the offensive end, particularly when it comes to looking for her own shot, without question the foundation is there for her to take a big leap.
Averaging just 4.4 field goal attempts per game, Stokes shot an outstanding 54.7 percent from the field, which easily led all rookies. As anyone that has seen her regularly drain long-range shots during practice and pre-game shooting drills, there is no reason not to believe that as her attempts increase in the coming years, that shooting percentage shouldn’t see too much of a drop.
Stokes’ impact on the defensive end was so significant, she finished just a few votes behind Jewell Loyd in the Rookie of the Year voting despite the much lower scoring average.
Her season featured several signature moments. Her first-career double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds game in a win at then East-leading Chicago on June 30. Just before a West Coast road strip she dazzled the crowd a Madison Square Garden with a franchise record eight blocked shots against the Sun, five of which game during the fourth quarter.
After seeing her scoring and rebounding numbers slide a bit over the final two weeks of the regular season, Stokes re-emerged during the New York playoff run, posting 21 points and eight rebounds in the game-one win over the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With Stokes patrolling the paint for close to 30 minutes a game, New York established itself as the premier defensive team in the WNBA, limiting foes to just 71.1 ppg and 39.3 percent shooting. So long as Stokes is wearing a Liberty uniform there is no reason to believe that will not continue to be the case for years to come.