When A’ja Wilson steps onto the court for the Las Vegas Aces’ semifinals series against a to-be-determined opponent, it will be with MVP energy.
The WNBA announced on Thursday that Wilson — the Rookie of the Year in 2018 by unanimous vote and two-time All-Star — has been named the 2020 Most Valuable Player.
In the final game of the regular season, Wilson scored a team-high 23 points and, as representative of her season and abilities overall, contributed seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists to the Aces’ two-point win to eclipse the Seattle Storm for the No. 1 seed. With center Liz Cambage out for the season, the Aces’ offense has run through Wilson who, in 31.7 minutes per game for the 22-game season:
- Averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.23 steals
- Led the league in blocked shots, ranked second in scoring and finished sixth in rebounding
- Shot a career-high 48.0 percent from the field and 78.1 percent from the free throw line.
- Paced the WNBA in free throws attempted (151) and made (118)
- Scored at least 20 points in 15 of 22 games
- Contributed a season-high 31 points on Aug. 9 against the New York Liberty
- Recorded seven double-doubles in points and rebounds
- Blocked five shots in two different games
- Named Western Conference Player of the Month for August and September
Highlights: A’ja Wilson’s monster blocks
“Wilson received 43 of 47 first-place votes and 458 total points from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters,” according to a league press release.
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart, the 2018 MVP, and Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot were the only other players to receive first-place votes — three and one, respectively.
The vote totals were: Breanna Stewart (Storm), 308 points; Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), 219 points; Courtney Vandersloot (Sky), 135 points; and Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), 36 points.
Ten points are awarded for a first-place vote a player receives. Votes for second, third, fourth and fifth places receive seven points, five points, three points and one point, respectively.
Wilson is a protege of Hall of Famer Dawn Staley, head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks, and considers her a second mom. “A’ja has loved on the game of basketball for as long as I’ve known her, and the game is loving her back in the form of this recognition,” Staley said. “We are proud of her great work on the hardwood and being a change agent for social justice.”
In honor of her MVP season, Wilson will receive $15,450 and a trophy designed by Tiffany & Co.
Fans can celebrate Wilson’s accomplishment with a shirt from BreakingT featuring a design befitting a fierce and elegant basketball queen.