(Photo credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart won the WNBA Most Valuable Player award, narrowly surpassing Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday.
It's the second MVP for Stewart, also honored in 2018 as a member of the Seattle Storm.
Stewart earned 446 total points in the voting by a national group of 60 sportswriters and broadcasters, topping Thomas' 439 points.
Stewart was named first on 20 ballots and earned 23 second-place votes and 17 third-place votes. Thomas garnered 23, 12 and 25 votes, respectively.
Las Vegas Aces center A'ja Wilson, the MVP in 2020 and '22, was third with 433 points (17 first-place votes, 25 second place, 17 third place and one fourth place).
Stewart, 29, becomes the eighth player in WNBA history to win the award on multiple occasions. Being named three times were Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes, and Stewart joins Cynthia Cooper, Elena Delle Donne, Candace Parker and Wilson as two-time MVPs.
This year's voting represents the second time in WNBA history, and first time since 2005, that the MVP runner-up was named on more first place ballots than the winner. The seven-point differential between Stewart and Thomas was the smallest between the first- and second-place finishers since 2005, when Swoopes narrowly beat Jackson by two points.
Stewart signed with the Liberty as a free agent before the 2023 season. New York finished the regular season with a 32-8 record and earned the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The Liberty recorded their largest average margin of victory (13.16 points) in a season in franchise history.
She had four regular-season games of 40 or more points and set single-season franchise records for total points (919) and rebounds (371).
Stewart averaged 23.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.6 blocked shots and 1.5 steals over an average of 34.1 minutes in 40 games. She was second in the WNBA in scoring, third in rebounding and fourth in minutes played. She is a four-time All-WNBA first-team selection and has career averages of 20.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals.
Thomas and Stewart will square off again Tuesday night when the Liberty host the Sun in Game 2 of the WNBA semifinals. Connecticut leads the best-of-five series 1-0.
--Field Level Media