A'ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, the two 2022 MVP candidates who were in a tight race for the award, are unanimous selections to the All-WNBA first team, the league announced on Thursday ahead of Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.
Wilson earned MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors in leading her No. 1-seeded Las Vegas Aces to the Finals. She is on the first team for the second time with top votes from all 56 media and broadcasters who vote on the major awards. Voters were asked to list their first- and second-team selections regardless of position for the first time this award season.
The Seattle Storm's Stewart also received all 56 votes for the first team. It is her fifth All-WNBA selection and the third consecutive year she's been on the first team.
All-WNBA full teams
A'ja Wilson, Aces
Breanna Stewart, Storm
Kelsey Plum, Aces
Skylar Diggins-Smith, Mercury
Candace Parker, Sky
Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty
Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks
Jonquel Jones, Sun
Sylvia Fowles, Lynx
WNBA Finals: All-WNBA players
Wilson is joined on the first team by Kelsey Plum, who took over Game 2 against the Connecticut Sun to put the Aces one win from their first championship. Plum finished third in MVP award voting after averaging 20.2 points per game (second behind Stewart) and 5.1 assists per game (ninth). Plum was on 50 ballots at first team and five for the second team.
But the two are the only Las Vegas players on the 10-player team. Chelsea Gray, who has been strong after the All-Star break, did not make the list. Gray also missed out on the All-Star team, a snub she has used to torch just about everyone she faces in the playoffs. Sun head coach Curt Miller said on Thursday that Gray has made 27 of 33 contested shots in the playoffs so far.
The Sun are represented by forward Alyssa Thomas, who averaged a packed line of 13.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 6.1 apg and 1.72 spg. Thomas finished a close second in DPOY voting, but fell to a second-team All-Defensive vote. That's a separate vote and many voters listed Wilson as a forward, instead of center where she played the majority of the season, leaving only one spot for either Stewart or Thomas. Thomas was on 20 first-team ballots and 25 second-team ballots, falling eight points short of a first-team nod.
Jonquel Jones, the 2021 MVP, is also on the second team after leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. It is her third selection.
The Phoenix Mercury's Skylar Diggins-Smith had a near-career season with 19.7 ppg (third in the league), falling short of her 2014 season where she averaged 20.1. She averaged 5.5 assists per game, seventh in the WNBA, and 1.53 steals (eighth). She played a league-high 34 minutes and carried a Mercury squad that struggled on and off the court this season.
The Chicago Sky's Candace Parker also made a first-team nod, averaging 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds (third) and 4.5 assists. Her two triple-doubles brought her career total to three, tied with the New York Liberty's Sabrina Ionescu for most in WNBA history. Ionescu earned her first All-WNBA selection after a comeback season following two years of ankle issues.
The Los Angeles Sparks' Nneka Ogwumike made her fifth All-WNBA team, averaging 18.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 1.68 spg, and the Minnesota Lynx's Sylvia Fowles, who retired following this season, was the final selection on the second team. She averaged 14.4 ppg and led the league with 9.8 rpg. It's her eighth All-WNBA selection of her 15-season career.