Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson, who comprise the centerpiece matchup in a thrilling WNBA semifinals, battled all season for the league’s MVP award, which went to the Aces star by a narrow margin. 

Wilson received 31 first-place votes and Stewart got 23 from a national panel of 56 sportswriters and broadcasters. No one else had more than one vote. 

It’s the second WNBA MVP for the 26-year-old Wilson, who won the award in 2020. Stewart also has one MVP in 2018.

Wilson becomes the seventh multiple WNBA MVP winner joining Sheryl Swoopes (2000, 2002, 2005), Lisa Leslie (2001, 2004, 2006), Lauren Jackson (2003, 2007, 2010), Cynthia Cooper (1997, 1998), Candace Parker (2008, 2013) and Elena Delle Donne (2015, 2019). 

Despite finishing behind Wilson for the league’s MVP, Stewart was outstanding this year for the Storm, most recently pouring in a playoff-tying record 42 points in Tuesday’s season-ending loss to Wilson’s Aces.

Stewart scored in double figures in all 34 games she played, led the WNBA in scoring (21.8 points per game) while shooting 47.2% from the field, 37.9% on three-pointers and 83.7% on free throws. She also ranked second in the player efficiency rating, seventh in rebounding (7.6), fifth in steals (1.6), 16th in blocks (0.9) and 28th in assists (2.9).

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Still, her six-year dominance — she sat out the 2019 season due to an Achilles injury — has been no less remarkable. 

“We’re watching greatness,” Storm coach Noelle Quinn said. “She sets the tone obviously with her ability, but she brings so much more than what shows up on the stat sheet and that’s saying something because she can fill up a stat sheet. 

Early in her tenure with the Storm, Stewart said she wanted to play her entire career in Seattle much like Bird and Jackson. 

However recently, Stewart, who is an unrestricted free agent after the season, has been noncommittal about her desire to return next season. 

“Anything is possible,” she said before the postseason opener. “That’s why we need to capitalize on this season and make the most out of this playoffs run.”