Breanna Stewart becomes Liberty’s 1st-ever WNBA MVP Award winner

Breanna Stewart Liberty
New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart holds her WNBA MVP trophy during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, at Barclays Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

For the first time in franchise history, the WNBA MVP resides in Brooklyn. Breanna Stewart was named the league’s 2023 Most Valuable Player in the most tightly-contested race in league history.

“I take pride in showing up every day and doing the hard things because that’s what it takes and why I’m standing here today,” Stewart said. “I am grateful for this award and I am grateful for the privilege to play and do what I love.”

Stewart, Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun, and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces were the consensus top three players in the WNBA this season. The award was decided by the most narrow of margins, with Stewart accumulating 446 points, Thomas with 439, and Wilson tallying 433. The seven points separating Stewart and Thomas is the smallest difference between first and second place in the history of WNBA MVP voting.

While Thomas received 23 first-place votes to Stewart’s 20, the Liberty forward racked up 23 second-place votes, 11 more than Thomas to ultimately secure the award.

“I am also grateful for the people who didn’t [vote for me], or the people who are mad at the people who did because the buzz around this race is too good for our league,” Stewart said. “Rivalry is good and the business does not go on without our fans, so thank you.” 

Breanna Stewart liberty
New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart, center, drives to basket against Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas during the fourth quarter of a WNBA basketball game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Stewart, now a two-time recipient of the MVP award, has made an immediate impact in her first year in New York, averaging 23 points per game, 9.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals. She has led the Liberty to their first semifinal appearance since 2015 and has them two wins away from their first WNBA Finals since 2002. 

The New York native has had a tremendous supporting cast since coming back to her home state, including former Rookie of the Year Sabrina Ionescu who averaged 17 points per game during the regular season and 18.3 points per game so far in the postseason. Veteran Courtney Vandersloot has also played a key role in the success of Stewart, averaging 8.1 assists per game during the regular season. 

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey but I wouldn’t want to wish it any other way, just to continue to show that resiliency works. No matter the highs and lows you just continue to keep pushing forward,” Stewart said when reflecting on what this MVP means to her. “This one is for all of us… and we’re not done.”

For more on Breanna Stewart and the New York Liberty, visit AMNY.com