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Storm's Breanna Stewart Named 2022 AP WNBA Player of the Year; 1st 2-Time Winner

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 16, 2022

Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

The Associated Press named Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart its WNBA Player of the Year for the 2022 season.

Seattle Storm @seattlestorm

๐Ÿคฉ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐๐„๐’๐“ ๐Ž๐… ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐๐„๐’๐“ ๐Ÿคฉ<a href="https://twitter.com/breannastewart?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@breannastewart</a> is your AP Player of the Year and AP All WNBA First Team!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeCover?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeCover</a> <a href="https://t.co/QXbk4Wwsb0">pic.twitter.com/QXbk4Wwsb0</a>

"Itโ€™s an honor to be recognized as the best in the league," Stewart said, per the AP's Doug Feinberg. "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 weโ€™re motivated by more and thatโ€™s trying to win a championship."

The 6'4" forward was the AP's Player of the Year in 2018 as well, and her win could foreshadow the outcome of a tight WNBA MVP race between her and the Las Vegas Aces' A'ja Wilson.

Stewart led the league in scoring (21.8 ppg) and averaged 7.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. She also shot 47.2 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Although the Storm only finished fourth in the WNBA at 22-14, simply qualifying for the playoffs might've been a challenge were it not for Stewie's contributions. Her offensive output accounted for more than a fourth (26.4 percent) of Seattle's scoring.

Wilson, who was recognized as the AP Defensive Player of the Year, was the best player on the league's best team.

You have to go back to Nneka Ogwumike in 2016 to find the last WNBA MVP who didn't play on the team with the best record. The Los Angeles Sparks were merely the second-best team that year.

Wilson put together the best season of her career by expanding her offensive repertoire. Prior to 2022, the Aces center went 1-of-2 on three-pointers. This season she made 31 threes and hit 37.3 percent of her attempts.

Every year, basketball fans watch a post player hit a few long-range jumpers in an open gym and get irrationally excited about that player suddenly becoming a stretch big. With Wilson, it actually happened.

Las Vegas Aces @LVAces

Loadingโ€ฆ <a href="https://t.co/a7FK5iVHcV">pic.twitter.com/a7FK5iVHcV</a>

That coincided with a wider shift for Las Vegas. The team jumped from 11th in made three-pointers (5.1 per game) in 2021 to second (9.5) in 2022.

First-year head coach Becky Hammon wasted no time leaving her imprint on the offense, and that helped Wilson reach a level she hadn't before.

Fans will find out on Sept. 7 whether that was enough for her to outshine Stewart when the WNBA names its MVP.

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