Breanna Stewart edges A’ja Wilson for AP WNBA Player of the Year

Breanna Stewart goes up against A’ja Wilson during Sunday’s contest in Las Vegas. (David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the second year in a row, Breanna Stewart has been named the Associated Press WNBA Player of the Year.

After leading the WNBA in scoring for the first time in her career (21.8 points), the Seattle Storm forward becomes the first player in WNBA history to repeat as the AP Player of the Year. She also received the award in 2018.

Stewart received six votes, edging A’ja Wilson, who received the other four votes from the a 10-member media panel.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as the best in the league,” Stewart said. “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.”

Wilson was named the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year, narrowly beating Alyssa Thomas and Natasha Cloud. Wilson averaged 1.9 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for the Las Vegas Aces, who enter the WNBA playoffs with the top seed.

Her Aces teammate Jackie Young was named Most Improved Player.

Atlanta Dream coach Tanisha Wright was named Coach of the Year, becoming the first former WNBA player to win the award.

“It’s good practice to have former players on the bench whether they are head coaches or assistant coaches,” Wright said. “We’ve come up through the fire and put our stamp on the WNBA. I’m proud to be part of that group of players that have played in this league and impacted it in a different way now.”

Other AP award winners include:

  • Sixth Woman of the Year: Connecticut’s Brionna Jones was the unanimous choice one year after winning the AP’s Most Improved Player. She averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals off the bench for Connecticut.
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Jones’ Sun teammate Alyssa Thomas earned the award after missing all but two games during the 2021 regular season because of an Achilles injury she suffered in January 2021. Thomas averaged 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists.
  • Rookie of the Year: The No. 1 overall pick by the Atlanta Dream, Rhyne Howard averaged 16.2 points and 4.6 rebounds this season while helping Atlanta win six more games than last season. “Rhy put us on her back and made a statement for herself and the organization and franchise,” Wright said.