Johnson named WNBA Rookie of the Year

Temeka Johnson, the first-round pick of the WNBA's Washington Mystics and former LSU women's basketball point guard, was named the WNBA's Rookie of the Year on Wednesday night, it was announced by the league.

Johnson, who received 44 of the 50 possible votes by from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, started all 34 games for the Mystics at point guard. The New Orleans native averaged 9.3 points, 5.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game after being selected with the sixth pick of the 2005 draft.

"This is not something I planned on but it's an honor I'm very proud to receive," Johnson said. "My goal coming into the WNBA was just simply to practice as hard as I could and play smart to make my team better. I'm grateful to the Mystics organization for giving me the opportunity to prove I could play at this level; and I'm happy to share this award with my teammates and coaches."

Johnson led all WNBA rookies in points, assists, steals (1.29) and assists to turnover ratio (2.10), and was second in the entire league with her 5.2 assists per game and fifth in assist to turnover ration.

Last year as a senior, Johnson helped lead LSU to a 33-3 record, the first Southeastern Conference regular season title in the program's history and a return trip to the NCAA Final Four. For her effort she was named the Lieberman Award winner as the nation's top point guard and was a first-team All-American.

"My success in the WNBA started with my experience at LSU," Johnson added. "My coaches taught me everything from how to be leader and think the game to how to handle myself off the court (as a young woman). I spent four years being challenged to do my best; that kind of preparation stays with you for life."

During Johnson's career as a Lady Tiger, she scored 1,426 points, collected 527 rebounds and become the school's and SEC's career assist leader, finishing with 945, the fifth most in NCAA history.

"I'm ecstatic for Temeka but not surprised," LSU head coach Pokey Chatman said of Johnson's honor. "I witnessed first hand what makes her special; the vast individual talent coupled with an ability to make her teammates better and control the game. On top of that, she posses the kind of leadership and work ethic that breeds success."

Johnson was presented with the award prior to the first game of the WNBA Finals on Wednesday night.

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