Chicago

Courtney Vandersloot finishes 4th in WNBA MVP voting

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The WNBA began the process of announcing its 2020 awards on Thursday with most valuable player, coach of the year and rookie of the year.

All three were decided in convincing fashion. A'ja Wilson took home MVP honors and 43 of a possible 47 first-place votes after averaging 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and two blocks per game for the league-best Las Vegas Aces.

Three of the remaining first-place votes went to Breanna Stewart (who finished second) of the Seattle Storm. The Sky's Courtney Vandersloot nabbed the last one, finishing fourth in the voting with 135 total points.

Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks finished third with 219 total points.

For true point guards, MVP acclaim is hard to come by in the WNBA, a league historically dominated by post players. In ESPN's Mechelle Voepel's estimation, Cynthia Cooper (1997, 1998) and Diana Taurasi (2009) are the only guards to win the award in league history.

Vandersloot has been good enough the past two seasons to chip away at that tradition. She also received two first-place votes in 2019 and All-WNBA first-team honors, which she'll surely receive again in 2020. 

Each of the past four seasons, Vandersloot has broken the WNBA's record for season-long assist average. In topping herself again this year, she became the only WNBA player to ever average 10 dimes per game and shattered the single-game assist record with 18 in an Aug. 31 victory over the Indiana Fever.

 

Her teammates lobbied for her MVP candidacy all season, and with good reason. Vandersloot also logged the highest scoring average of her career (13.6 ppg), moved into second on the Sky's all-time scoring list and captained the fourth-most efficient offense in the W amid widespread injury this year.

The Sky finished the 2020 regular season 12-10 before bowing out of the playoffs in a first-round, single-elimination defeat to the Connecticut Sun.

Coach of the year, which Sky head coach James Wade won in his first season with the team in 2019, went to Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx — another notch in the four-time champion's all-time accolade belt. Lynx point guard Crystal Dangerfield became the first second-round pick in league history to win Rookie of the Year.

Keep an eye out for the release of the rest of the awards. Kahleah Copper will certainly be in the running for most improved player.

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