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Liberty star Breanna Stewart named AP Player of the Year

New York Liberty forward and former WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart needs to update her resume.

That’s because Stewart was named Associated Press Player of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the first player to repeat as the award winner by edging out Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson by one vote.

Stewart, a Central New York native, also was named All-AP First Team for the sixth time in her career. 

The WNBA will announce the league MVP on Sept. 26 and Stewart is very much in the running.

Stewart set career-bests in points per game (23.0) and assists per game (3.8), while shooting 46.5 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three and 85.1 percent from the line.

Breanna Stewarts warms up.
New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart is the AP Player of the Year.

Breanna Stewart claps after a game.
Stewart won the award by one vote over Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson.

The basketball superstar set several league records in her first season in New York, including a single-season high four games in which she scored at least 40 points. 

“To be honored as the AP Player of the Year is an incredible honor,” Stewart told the AP. “It’s quite different after switching teams and coming to New York and having such a positive season going 32-8. It’s been a lot of amazing basketball going on this year and makes you feel good going into the playoffs.”

Stewart’s arrival in New York transformed the Liberty into one of the best teams in the league.

She helped lead the team to a franchise-record 32 wins this season and the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Breanna Stewart takes a shot.
Stewart led the Liberty to a franchise-record 32 wins this season.

Stewart’s arrival was part of a changing of the guard in the WNBA as the Liberty compiled a superteam by also signing five-time All-Star guard Courtney Vandersloot and trading for Jonquel Jones, the 2021 WNBA MVP.

New York already had rising WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu in the fold. 

Ionescu also earned AP honors on Tuesday when she was named All-AP Second Team. 

Breanna Stewart runs up the floor.
Stewart and the Liberty face the Washington Mystics in the first round of the playoffs, with Game 1 on Friday.

The talented group assembled by the Liberty has raised the team’s profile.

The franchise has seen more than 100 percent growth in overall ticket sales, an increase of 2,500 fans per game and a 58 percent increase in national TV ratings for Liberty games this season, according to The Athletic

The Liberty will begin its pursuit of the franchise’s first WNBA title on Friday when New York begins its first-round matchup against the Washington Mystics.

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NY Times

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