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Aces’ Alysha Clark named WNBA Sixth Player of the Year

(David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Alysha Clark is the WNBA Sixth Player of the Year. 

The two-time WNBA champion joined Las Vegas in February as a free agent and beat out DiJonai Carrington and Dana Evans for this year’s award. Clark averaged 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.

Clark played an integral role in the team’s offense and defense, all while coming off the bench and joining the defending champion Aces as an outsider. And if you ask Las Vegas head coach Becky Hammon, she fit right in. The 36-year-old wing’s abilities allowed for Las Vegas to play smaller lineups but defend at a high level.

According to PBP Stats, the Aces have a 98.7 defensive rating and allow opponents to shoot 44.6% from 2-point range when Clark is on the floor. Those numbers go down whenever she isn’t in the game.

“What’s allowed her to fit in so seamlessly is that she’s a hooper, she fits right in,” Hammon told The Athletic. “She’s a great person, great teammate. Her IQ is pretty off the charts and her professionalism and approach, so I’m not really surprised how well she’s fit in. But I’ve loved how she’s fit in with our group.”

She’s a 12-year WNBA veteran, but this is her first individual award. She was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive First Team in 2020, her last year playing in the WNBA before 2023; she played in Europe in the interim.

While never the centerpiece of an offense, Clark has honed her skills playing on teams with Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, having played eight years in Seattle. When she joined the Aces, players like Jackie Young and A’ja Wilson told The Athletic they’re glad they no longer have to guard her.

“She’s a defensive guru,” Clark’s former teammate and current Seattle Storm coach Noelle Quinn said. “You put her on the floor and she can defend anybody.”

“She’s a huge piece for us on the court, for sure, just the level of versatility that she gives us on both ends,” Aces assistant coach Tyler Marsh added. “She gives us an ability to play big or play small depending on how we want to go with the lineups. She’s able to stretch the floor, and she’s able to guard the other team’s best defender. And she can guard one through four; at times, she can guard the five. When you have players who are as versatile as Jackie and A’ja as well defensively, that makes a ton of difference.”

Clark joins a long line of Las Vegas Aces players to win the Sixth Player of the Year award. She becomes the fourth in the last five years, joining Dearica Hamby (2019 and 2020) and Kelsey Plum (2022).