Basketball

WNBA honors Tokashiki

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

Seattle Storm forward Ramu Tokashiki was selected to the WNBA All-Rookie Team for the 2015 season, the league announced on Thursday.

The 192-cm Tokashiki, who was the third-best rookie in scoring at 8.2 points per game while starting in 16 of 30 contests, earned six votes from a panel of the league’s 12 head coaches, who each chose five players regardless of position. With the six votes, the 24-year-old was also fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Tokashiki, a Tokyo native, recorded a season-high 21 points on June 28 against the Tulsa Shock.

Seattle guard Jewell Loyd, the top overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, was named the Rookie of the Year with 10 votes. Loyd averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Storm, who finished with the league’s second-worst record (10-24).

Tokashiki missed four Storm games while playing for the Japan national team in the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship last month in Wuhan, China, where the 12-member squad successfully captured its second straight gold medal and a berth for next summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Tokashiki, who averaged 11.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, was awarded the MVP for the second consecutive tournament.

Tokashiki, who was the third Japanese to don a WNBA jersey following Mikiko Hagiwara (Sacramento Monarchs and Phoenix Mercury) and Yuko Oga (Mercury), has already returned to Japan.

“I didn’t want to come back,” Tokashiki joked to reporters after her arrival at Narita airport on Sept. 18. “I got used to the power and height, and my speed was effective (in the WNBA). With the objective of playing in the (United) States next year in mind, I would like to work on my outside game.”

A two-time WJBL MVP, Tokashiki is set to play for the powerhouse JX-Eneos Sunflowers, who have won the league title for the last seven straight years. The Sunflowers will open their 2015-16 season against the Denso Iris at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2 on Oct. 9.

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