After leading the WNBA in scoring for the first time in her career with a 21.8 point-per-game average, Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart was named 2022 WNBA Player of the Year by the Associated Press. She also won the award in 2018, making Stewart the first player in WNBA history to be named Player of the Year twice in a career.
It was a close race between Stewart and Los Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson, as the two nearly split the 10-member media panel vote. Stewart just edged out Wilson, winning six votes to four. Wilson averaged 19.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game on 50.1 percent shooting for the Aces, who finished the regular season tied with the Chicago Sky for the best record in the League.
Stewart posted 21.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game on 47.2 percent shooting from the field during the regular season to lead Seattle to the No. 4 seed in the WNBA Playoffs. It’s been a big year for Stewart, who, on top of her on-the-court accolades, became the first woman to have a signature sneaker in a decade with the reveal of the PUMA Stewie 1 in July.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as the best in the league,” Stewart told the AP. “Since I started in the WNBA in 2016, just trying to get better. Elevate myself and the team, the League as a whole. A big honor, but we’re motivated by more, and that’s trying to win a championship.”
However, Wilson didn’t leave empty-handed, as the four-time All-Star was awarded AP Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 1.9 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Her Aces teammate Jackie Young received Most Improved Player while Atlanta Dream head coach Tanisha Wright became the first former WNBA player to win AP Coach of the Year.
Other award recipients included a pair of Connecticut Sun teammates, Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas. Jones, who averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game, earned Sixth Woman of the Year honors. In comparison, Thomas won Comeback Player of the Year after averaging 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.1 assists following an Achilles injury.
Atlanta Dream forward Rhyne Howard rounded out the list of winners, as the former No. 1 overall pick racked up 16.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season.
The WNBA Playoffs begin on Wednesday, starting with the No. 2 seed Sky facing off against the No. 7 seed New York Liberty at 8 p.m. The No. 1 seed Aces will then face the No. 8 seed, Phoenix Mercury, at 10 p.m.
Photos via Getty Images.