Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson was announced as the MVP of the WNBA on Thursday, while Crystal Dangerfield and Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx were named Rookie and Coach of the Year, respectively.
Wilson was selected in 43 ballots out of 47 of a national panel of sports players and broadcasters, who selected their top five for the award. Wilson was second on the second four ballots.
Brenna Stewart of the Seattle Storm received three votes for first place, and 34 for second place. Chicago Sky’s Courtney Vanderslot got the second place vote.
Wilson, who was the league’s top rogue out of South Carolina as the No. 1 pick in 2018, said knowing his name was now on the WNBA’s list of all-time greats “was something that is a child’s dream.” ”
Wilson was awarded the honor in a league bubble by WNBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbert on Thursday at IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“I was overwhelmed with emotions,” Wilson said. “I was probably crying before my speech was over from Kathy. In the offseason, in quarantine, I really focused on my game without getting too distracted because the world was stopped because of COVID. I was short- Got a chance to help with small things. I am more consistent all the time.
“I need my teammates to know that I’m going to produce X amount of money in every game, because how do you win when you can trust people. That’s probably the biggest thing for me to be an MVP is.”
6-foot-4 Wilson averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocked shots, her third season in the WNBA. He led Ines to the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs; Las Vegas received a double bye in the semi-finals and the Plessen play will begin on Sunday.
Stewart, the 2018 MVP, led the Hurricanes to the No. 2 seed after missing a torn Achilles tendon last season. Las Vegas and Seattle both finished 18-4, but the Aces defeated Stroker twice. In August, Wilson turns 24 and Stewart turns 26, and both are expected to be Olympic teammates for the United States in 2021.
Regarding the success of so many young players in the WNBA, Wilson said, “There are so many good people up and coming.” “I think the league is in good hands.”
One of them is Dangerfield, the lowest draft ever, to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year. He was taken at number 16, out of UConn, in the second round. The last lowest pick to receive the honor was No. 7 Tracy Reid in 1998, the first year the league presented a rookie award.
Injuries to the other three rogues, including No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu, who played just three games, initially helped open the door for Dangerfield to get into a Ronkey conversation. But he played so well for No. 4 seed Minnesota, led Lynn in scoring (16.2 PPG) and assists (3.6 APG), earning the award regardless of who was out.
Dangerfield received 44 of 47 votes. Atlanta Dream Guard Cheney Carter, the No. 4 draft pick, was second with two votes, and Dallas Wings, Satou Sabali, the No. 2 draft pick, was third with one vote.
Dangerfield said she is proud if she can become an inspiration to other players, who were not ready in the first round.
“Absolutely, because everybody still has to go there and play basketball,” she said. “The number you’re drafted doesn’t really matter when you step on the floor. I had the opportunity to do my job, and that’s what I’ve done.”
Dangerfield is the fifth Lynx player to win the rookie of the year, joining Betty Lennox (1999), Semon Augustus (2006), Maya Moore (2011) and Nephesa Collier (2019). This is the sixth Yukon player to receive the award, joining Diana Taurasi (2004), Tina Charles (2010), Moore (2011), Stewart (2016) and Collier (2019).
“They try to move us very fast,” Dangerfield said of Ucino’s success in preparing players for the pro ranks. “So this is a credit to him.”
But Reeve, who won Coach of the Year for the third time, attributes much of Dangerfield’s ability to absorb information quickly and make adjustments in games, despite not having much practice time in the bubble.
Dangerfield said that Reeve sat him down during the session and told him, “You’re doing great, but if I’m not hard on you, we’ll regret it because we didn’t get out of you.” Worked with me, and I could not ask for more. ”
Reeve lost star season Sylvia Foulkes (calf injury), but for seven matches of the regular season, and did not help last year’s team leader in scoring, until Odyssey Sims, the ninth game of this season, Did not get into the bubble. It was late in April after giving birth to her son. Reeve nonetheless led the Lynx to a 14–8 record and their 10th consecutive playoff appearance. Minnesota faces the second round on Thursday (ESPN2, 7 pm ET).
Bill Limebeer of Las Vegas was second and Derek Fisher of Los Angeles and Mike Thibault of Washington were third. Reeve became the third player to coach in three years, joining with Van Chancellor and Thibault. She previously won in 2011 and 2016.
“The award is a reflection of our great staff, and the tremendous work that we collectively bring to the Lynx to success,” said Reeve, commending her assistants Rebecca Brunson, Planet Pierson and Katie Smith, all of which the W.N.B.A. Is a former player of.