Presenting the 2023 WNBA Awards
It was a standout season for the WNBA, with players across the board having the seasons of their careers but unfortunately, there are only so many awards. Here are the selections for each WNBA award this season:
Most Valuable Player
Breanna Stewart is the 2023 WNBA MVP as announced on September 26. This is Stewart’s second MVP award, making her the second player to win two MVP awards with two different teams.
Stewart finished voting with a total of 446 points, with Alyssa Thomas finishing in second place with 439, and Wilson in third with 433 points. Thomas received more first-place votes than Stewart but Stewart was able to win based on second-place and third-place votes. The seven-point margin between Stewart and Thomas is the second-smallest margin between the MVP and MVP runner-up, with the smallest being two points in 2005 between Sheryl Swoopes and Lauren Jackson.
As for Stewart’s season, it was one to remember. In her first season with the New York Liberty, she found success and helped the team succeed. Stewart ranked second in the WNBA in scoring, averaging 23 points per game, and third in rebounding, averaging 9.3 rebounds per game. Stewart’s 2023 season was filled with highlights including a career-high and franchise record game with 45 points against the Indiana Fever in May. She set single-season franchise records for the Liberty with 919 total points and 371 rebounds. Stewart's play this season was impressive, and she is a fitting choice for MVP.
Defensive Player of the Year
On September 22, A’ja Wilson was announced as the 2023 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for back-to-back seasons. Wilson had another dominant season coming off a championship, MVP award, and Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022. The Aces star led the league with a career-high 2.23 blocks per game. Wilson ranked third in defensive rebounds, with 7.5 per game. She grabbed at least ten defensive rebounds in nine games this season.
Wilson’s impact and play are one of the biggest reasons the Aces have the amount of success. She helped the Aces to lead the league in defensive rating, blocks, and defensive rebound percentage. This defense is one of the biggest pieces of the Aces’s game and is integral to their success, and a big reason why they are in the Finals yet again this season. Wilson also recorded career highs in both scoring and rebounding, showing how dynamic of a player she is.
Coach of the Year
On September 17, Stephanie White of the Connecticut Sun was announced as the 2023 WNBA Coach of the Year in her debut season with the Sun. White had not coached professionally since 2016 so stepping into the Sun role was a big jump. The Sun were coming off the 2022 Finals but lost Jonquel Jones in free agency. White was still set with Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner, and Brionna Jones, but an early season Achilles tear ruled Jones out for the remainder of the year.
White still was able to make adjustments and help the Sun finish with a 27-13 record, for a franchise record in games won in a single season. She was one of the WNBA All-Star coaches alongside Becky Hammon from the Las Vegas Aces. White and the Sun ended their season in the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs against the New York Liberty but it was still a season to be proud of.
Most Improved Player
On September 21, Satou Sabally of the Dallas Wings was announced as the 2023 WNBA Most Improved Player. Sabally had a stellar season, helping to lead her team to the WNBA semifinals after they posted the most wins in a season with 22, and the highest regular season winning percentage since 2008. The Wings had a season to remember and that is greatly thanks to the high-level play from Sabally all season long. Sabally herself averaged career highs across the board, with 18.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game this season. Last season she averaged 11.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 0.5 steals per game in comparison.
Sixth Player of the Year
On September 18, Alysha Clark of the Las Vegas Aces was announced as the 2023 WNBA Sixth Player of the Year. Clark made the move from the Washington Mystics to the Aces this offseason and saw her role change in a big way. Clark started every game with the Mystics in 2022 but only one this season with the Aces. Yet, she still had a huge impact on the Aces and how they found success. She averaged 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game this season. Additionally, Clark scored in double figures in ten games this season while sitting in 17th in the league in three-point shot percentage.
Rookie of the Year
On October 2, Aliyah Boston of the Indiana Fever was announced as the unanimous 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year. She is the fifth player to ever win the award in unanimous fashion, alongside the likes of A’ja Wilson, Candace Parker, Elena Dell Donne, and Tina Charles. Boston started every game for the Fever this season, making an instant impact on the court. She averaged 14.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game in her opening season in the WNBA. Boston recorded 11 double-doubles while leading the league in shooting percentage with 57.8 percent. While the Fever may not have had the best season, Boston shined in her rookie year and is bound to continue to help the Fever grow over the next few years.