Former UConn great Breanna Stewart named 2022 AP WNBA Player of the Year

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Former UConn women’s basketball great Breanna Stewart was named the AP 2022 WNBA Player of the Year, the Associated Press announced Tuesday.

This season Stewart led the league in scoring for the first time with 21.8 points per game. She becomes the first player to repeat as AP WNBA Player of the Year after previously doing so in 2018.

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

Stewart, along with Las Vegas Aces’ forward A’ja Wilson are the top two contenders for the WNBA’s Player of the Year award, which will be announced during the Playoffs.

Led by Stewart and fellow former Huskies Sue Bird, Tina Charles and Gabby Williams, the No. 4-seeded Storm begin the playoffs Thursday against No. 5-seeded Washington.

Sun win pair of AP Awards

The Sun’s Brionna Jones was named AP’s Sixth Woman of the Year and starting forward Alyssa Thomas was voted as AP’s Comeback Player of the Year.

Jones was last year’s WNBA Most Improved Player. This season she averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals and was named an All-Star, all from coming off the bench.

Thomas missed all but the last two regular-season games in 2021 due to recovering from an Achilles injury she suffered in January 2021 overseas. This season, she recorded the Sun’s first two triple doubles in franchise history and averaged 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.

Wilson was selected as the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year, edging Alyssa Thomas and Washington’s Natasha Cloud. Wilson anchored the Aces’ defense averaging 1.9 blocks and 1.4 steals a game.

Other AP Award winners

Coach of the Year: Atlanta’s Tanisha Wright

Most Improved Player: Las Vegas’ Jackie Young

Rookie of the Year: Atlanta’s Rhyne Howard

Defensive Player of the Year: Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson

All Rookie Team: Howard, Washington’s Shakira Austin, Chicago’s Rebekah Gardner, Indiana’s NaLyssa Smith and Phoenix’s Sam Thomas

All-WNBA First-Team: Stewart, Wilson, Chicago’s Candace Parker, Las Vegas’ Kelsey Plum and New York’s Sabrina Ionescu

All-WNBA Second Team: Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones, Los Angeles’ Nneka Ogwumike, Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot, and Phoenix’s Skylar Diggins-Smith