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    Tuesday, November 28, 2023

    Aces' Wilson repeats as WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Sun’s Thomas second

    Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas, right, speaking to head coach Stephanie White during an opening-round playoff series with Minnesota, was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive Team on Friday. The Sun begin play in the league semifinals Sunday vs. the New York Liberty. (Abbie Parr/AP Photo)

    Las Vegas Aces star A'ja Wilson was honored as the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in a row.

    She is the eighth player to win the award multiple times.

    Wilson received 32 of 60 votes from a national media panel. Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas was second with 24. No other player received more than three votes.

    In playing for the league's top-rated defense, Wilson also led the WNBA in defensive efficiency rating (93.2) and blocked shots (2.2). She was third in defensive rebounds per game (7.5) and 10th in steals (1.4). This is the third time in four years Wilson led the league in blocked shots.

    Wilson also was selected to the league's defensive first team for the third time. Also making the team were the Sun's Thomas, Brittney Sykes of the Washington Mystics, Breanna Stewart of the New York Liberty and Jordin Canada of the Los Angeles Sparks.

    On the second team were Betnijah Laney of the Liberty, Ezi Magbegor of the Seattle Storm, Nneka Ogwumike of the Sparks, Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx and Elizabeth Williams of the Chicago Sky.

    Wilson, Thomas and Stewart are the frontrunners for league MVP, which will be announced Tuesday.

    It is the second time Thomas has received first team defensive honors in her 10-year career. A four-time WNBA All-Star, Thomas led the league in rebounding (9.9) and was third in steals (1.8).

    In addition, this season Thomas became the WNBA’s all-time leader in regular-season triple-doubles (8), owning 10 triple-doubles in all.

    The semifinals begin Sunday with the No. 4 Dallas Wings at No. 1 Las Vegas and the No. 3 Sun at the No. 2 Liberty.

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