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A'ja Wilson Named 2022 WNBA MVP; Aces Star Previously Won Award in 2020

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 7, 2022

Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

One day after helping dispatch the Seattle Storm from the 2022 WNBA playoffs, A'ja Wilson earned another victory over Storm star Breanna Stewart.

The Las Vegas Aces forward was crowned the WNBA MVP for the second time. She collected 31 first-place votes to 23 for Stewart.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

🚨 A'JA WILSON WINS THE 2022 WNBA MVP 🚨 <a href="https://twitter.com/HighlightHER?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HighlightHER</a> <br><br>DPOY and MVP in the same season. Tough.<br><br>A'ja's resume:<br>-2x MVP<br>-DPOY<br>-4x All-Star<br>-ROY<br>-NCAA champ<br>-1x gold medalist<br><br>All at 26 years old. <a href="https://t.co/DUybLxKKRy">pic.twitter.com/DUybLxKKRy</a>

Aces head coach Becky Hammon told her team the news Tuesday night following a 97-92 victory over Seattle:

Las Vegas Aces @LVAces

The moment <a href="https://twitter.com/BeckyHammon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BeckyHammon</a> told <a href="https://twitter.com/_ajawilson22?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_ajawilson22</a> that she just earned her second <a href="https://twitter.com/WNBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WNBA</a> M'VP 🥺❤️ <a href="https://t.co/Z302OWI4Th">pic.twitter.com/Z302OWI4Th</a>

A'ja Wilson @_ajawilson22

My teammates 🤍 OMG I love ‘em!!! <a href="https://t.co/KqkxP2ocXM">https://t.co/KqkxP2ocXM</a>

South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley congratulated her former player:

A'ja Wilson @_ajawilson22

Thanks Coach 🤍 <a href="https://t.co/KkPpWEYjCV">https://t.co/KkPpWEYjCV</a>

The voting reflects how Wilson and Stewart were neck and neck by the end of the regular season.

Stewart led the WNBA in scoring at 21.8 points per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc. She also averaged 7.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

The 2018 MVP was a vitally stable presence for a Storm squad that didn't hit its usual heights on the floor. Jewell Loyd shot the second-lowest percentage (39.6 percent) of her career. Sue Bird continued to show her age in her final season. And head coach Noelle Quinn had to alter her rotation to account for the midseason arrival of Tina Charles.

Were it not for Stewart, the fourth-seeded Storm might have had a fight on their hands just to secure a playoff berth.

But Wilson was more than simply the best player on the WNBA's best team.

The 26-year-old thrived under Hammon, who opened up Las Vegas' offense. After going 1-of-2 on three-pointers through her first four seasons, she shot 31-of-83 from deep in 2022.

Every year, basketball fans watch a traditional big hit a few long-range jumpers in an empty gym in the offseason and get irrationally excited. Wilson was one of the few exceptions for which it represented a peek into the future.

As she expanded her offensive repertoire, the 6'4" forward played at an elite level on the other end. She was crowned the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year on Aug. 30. Wilson's 2022 season is one for the history books.

For as much as she has achieved individually, though, she may not qualify this year as a success if the Aces don't go on to win their first WNBA title.

Having sealed a berth in the WNBA Finals, they await either the Connecticut Sun or the reigning champion Chicago Sky.

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