A'ja Wilson earns WNBA MVP honors for 2nd time

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Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson (22) smiles while walking off the court after winning Game 3 of a WNBA basketball semifinal playoff series against the Seattle Storm, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

A'ja Wilson earned WNBA MVP honors for the second time in her young career Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Las Vegas Aces forward received 31 of 56 first-place votes from a media panel. Seattle forward Breanna Stewart was second, garnering 23 first-place votes and finishing 32 points behind Wilson, who had 478 points.

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Wilson also won the award in 2020 and is the seventh player to win it more than once.

"I just did not imagine this. I called my parents last night, and I was like ‘You can’t tell anyone, but like, we did it,’ and they just started screaming like they did the first time,” Wilson said. “It was just a feeling that just never gets old. I’m so glad that they’re able to enjoy this moment with me ... because without them, there’s no me. This was definitely a top-three exciting moment.”

She averaged 19.5 points and 9.4 rebounds this season while shooting 50% from the field and had 17 double-doubles. She led the league in blocks per game with 1.9.

The award was announced one day after Wilson helped the Aces reach the WNBA Finals by knocking out Stewart and the Storm. Wilson also earned Defensive Player of the Year honors this year. She's the fifth player to win both awards in the same season; the last to do it was Lauren Jackson in 2007.

“Just to have my name on that list is truly a blessing,” Wilson said. “Hopefully I can add a couple more of course, but just to be there and so young ... our league is hard. It’s full of elite and great players, so for my name to now be on it, I’m blessed and thankful.”

Wilson's Las Vegas teammate Kelsey Plum finished third and Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas and Chicago's Candace Parker — a two-time MVP — rounded out the top five in the voting.

Wilson was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft — the franchise's first year in Las Vegas. She led the team to the WNBA Finals in 2020 where the Aces lost to Seattle when the season was played in Florida because of the coronavirus.

The Aces had the best record in the league this year and will host the WNBA Finals on Sunday against either Connecticut or Chicago. Those teams will play a decisive Game 5 on Thursday.


More WNBA playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-playoffs and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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