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A’ja Wilson is the 2022 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year

A’ja Wilson’s intensity, defensive rebounding and high stocks average allowed her to edge out Alyssa Thomas and Breanna Stewart.

Las Vegas Aces v Chicago Sky - 2022 Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

The WNBA announced on Tuesday that A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces is the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year.

Wilson beat out Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas by six votes (20 to 14), making the DPOY race closer than any of the other awards races announced so far. Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart came in third with 13 votes, while 2021 DPOY Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx center) received four, Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud received two, Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones received two and Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray received one.

Wilson’s 1.9 blocks per game average was No. 1 in the league and she also grabbed 1.4 steals per game (12th). Defensive rebounding was another big reason why Wilson won the award — she averaged a career-best 7.6 defensive rebounds, which trailed only Candace Parker’s 7.7. Wilson had nine games with 10-plus defensive rebounds. She also had four-plus blocks on seven occasions and three-plus steals on six occasions.

All-Defensive teams