The WNBA playoffs are rolling along, and the on-court action has been terrific with a number of thrilling overtime games already. Off the court, it is officially awards season. As always, the league recognizes the season's top performers with a series of major awards.
So far, the headliner is Jonquel Jones, who was named MVP for the first time in her career. She led a trio of Sun players and coaches to take home major honors this season, as the team was rewarded for finishing with the best record in the league. Still to come are the All-WNBA selections.
As the announcements continue, here's a rundown of all the award winners this season:
MVP: Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun
As expected, Jones was named MVP for the first time in her career. After sitting out of the bubble, she was spectacular in her return to play this season, putting up a career-high 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. She finished fourth in scoring, led the league in rebounding and was one of just two players to average a double-double. Thanks in large part to her, the Sun finished with the best record in the league at 26-6. Jones is now the first player in WNBA history to win all three of Most Improved Player, Sixth Woman of the Year and MVP.
Defensive Player of the Year: Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx
The Minnesota Lynx were eliminated from playoff contention already, but it was through no fault of Fowles, who was named Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time in her career. She joins Tamika Catchings as the only players in WNBA history to win the honor at least four times. Fowles averaged a career-high 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks per game, both of which were good for second in the league. She was also the anchor of a stout Lynx defense that finished fourth in defensive rating, allowing just 98 points per 100 possessions.
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Rookie of the Year: Michaela Onyenwere, New York Liberty
As expected, Onyenwere was named Rookie of the Year, and nearly did so in unanimous fashion by receiving 47 of the 49 votes. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, Onyenwere averaged 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game this season, leading all rookies in scoring and 3-pointers made (37). She is the first player in Liberty history to be named Rookie of the Year, and also made history by being just the fifth player to sweep the Rookie of the Month honors throughout the course of the season.
Most Improved Player: Brionna Jones, Connecticut Sun
Jones made a name for herself with some strong play in the bubble last season, and then came back this summer even better. The result was the first major honor of her career, as she won Most Improved Player. Retaining her spot in the starting lineup due to Alyssa Thomas' injury, Jones went for 14.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, all of which were career-best numbers. Jones was also an important part of the Sun's elite defense and was named to the All-Defensive Second Team.
Sixth Player of the Year: Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces
For the third straight season, the Sixth Player of the Year Award has gone to a member of the Las Vegas Aces. This time, however, it was Kelsey Plum. After a year on the sidelines due to a torn Achilles tendon, Plum returned in style this season to help the Aces finish with the second-best record in the league. Her scoring and shooting off the bench is a key part of their success, as we saw in Game 1 of the semifinals against the Mercury. Plum averaged 14.8 points per game, which was a career-high, and led all bench players in the league.
Coach of the Year: Curt Miller, Connecticut Sun
The Sun cleaned up the honors this season both on and off the court. Curt Miller was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. He is just the sixth coach to win the award multiple times. Under Miller's guidance, the Sun finished with the best record in the league at 26-6 and set a new franchise record for wins in the process. They also closed the season on a franchise-record 14-game winning streak.
Executive of the Year: Dan Padover, Las Vegas Aces
After losing in the Finals last season, the Aces are right back in title contention. That's thanks in large part to general manager Dan Padover, who was named Executive of the Year for the second straight season. His acquisitions of Chelsea Gray and Riquna Williams have given the Aces a much-needed boost in the backcourt and added an extra dynamic to the team's offense. Padover is the first multi-time winner of this award.
All-Defensive First Team
Los Angeles Sparks
All-Defensive Second Team
New York Liberty
New York Liberty