Joe Paige | Sports Editor
As the sun sets on yet another successful WNBA season, while all eyes will naturally be on the finals, there's still some hardware that needs to be given out. The league's end-of-season awards are decided via a panel of media members, this year there were 60 voters, and ballots were submitted on the final day of the regular season. The Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award and All-WNBA First and Second Teams will be announced on October 13th and October 24th respectively.
Starting with the biggest announcement, Breanna Stewart was named 2023 WNBA MVP, edging out forwards A’ja Wilson from Las Vegas and Alyssa Thomas from Connecticut. Stewart won by just seven points in what would result in the second-closest MVP race of all-time and did so despite Thomas having received the most first-place votes. The Liberty star becomes the eighth player to win MVP multiple times. She now joins WNBA legends Cynthia Cooper and Lisa Leslie as the only players to achieve multiple MVPs, finals MVPs, and championships.
While there was debate throughout the whole season about MVP, no matter who ended up winning, there’s no question that Stewart deserved this award. This season she’d average 23 points, 3.8 assists 9.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1.5 steals, setting career-best marks in assists and scoring, and finished second in the league in scoring. She even set a new league record as she’d put up four 40-point games this season.
As the anchor for the league's best defense, Las Vegas Aces star A'ja Wilson was announced the winner for Defensive Player of the Year. Wilson also won the award last year, a season where she’d also receive MVP honors and would go on to win the finals. She’s the first player since Alana Beard in 2017 and 2018 to win the award in back-to-back seasons, and is just the eighth player in league history to win it multiple times.
As expected, this year's No. 1 overall pick Aliyah Boston of the Indiana Fever was awarded Rookie of the Year honors after displaying a historic rookie season. After showcasing her talents on the NCAA stage in South Carolina, she separated herself from all other prospects as the premier choice for the No. 1 pick. Many wondered if her success in college would translate to the pros, it’s now safe to say that it most certainly has. She became the 5th player in league history to win the award unanimously, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since, coincidentally, another Indiana rookie Tamika Catchings would do so in 2002. Boston played in every game, averaging 14.5 points, 2.2 assists, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks, while shooting 57.8% from the field. She led all rookies in each of those categories and became the first rookie in league history to lead the league in field goal percentage. During the season, she was named an All-Star starter, becoming the sixth rookie ever to achieve such. Boston was the catalyst that helped Indiana win more games than they had in the last two seasons combined.
The Defensive Player of the Year and the MVP will face each other in the WNBA finals this year, as the New York Liberty seek to prevent the Las Vegas Aces from becoming back-to-back champions. Game 1 tips off on Sunday, October 8th.