Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson was named MVP of the WNBA for the second time in her illustrious career, reports ESPN.
The news came on Wednesday following the Aces closing out their semifinal series against the Seattle Storm to advance to the WNBA Finals.
Wilson joins three-time winners Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, and Sheryl Swoopes and two-time winners Cynthia Cooper, Elena Delle Donne, and Candace Parker as the only multiple MVP winners in league history.
In the final voting tally, Wilson received 31 of 56 first-place votes and 478 total points narrowly beating out Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm who came in second with 446 points (23 first-place votes). Las Vegas guard Kelsey Plum was third in the voting with 181 points, Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas was fourth with 94, and Chicago's Parker was fifth with 78 points, including one first-place vote.
"It doesn't even sound real," Wilson said. "It's something you don't really even dream of. You look at the list of people who have won more than one, and it's incredible to think about. I smile just to have my name in [the] MVP conversation because our league is so tough."
Posting another banner season, Wilson led the league in blocks (1.9) and double-doubles (17), and was second in defensive rebounds per game (7.6). She was also named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year this season.
Wilson credited her parents and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley for preparing her to transition into the WNBA.
"My role this year is to really be a vocal leader and also the emotional leader of the team," she said. "But I'm not bossing people around. It's got to be about mutual respect. And I've formed relationships and bonds with each of my teammates in a way where I know I can hold them accountable, and they can do the same for me.
"It's all a part of how I'm still developing who I am as a player and a person, '' she continued. It hasn't all been easy, but I wake up every day like, 'All right, I get another opportunity to have fun and do something that I love.”
Wilson and the Aces are looking to win the first WNBA championship in the history of the franchise.
They will face Connecticut on Sunday, September 11 in the first game of the WNBA Finals.