September 5, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: 2023 WNBA MVP Week — The case for New York Liberty’s Breanna Stewart 

Howard and Jackie make an MVP case for Stewart

It’s MVP Week at Locked On Women’s Basketball and we’re starting with New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart. Host Howard Megdal had New York beat reporter Jackie Powell on the show to talk about Stewart, who was one of the Liberty’s marquee signings last offseason. The 2018 MVP and five-time All-Star is the first of three frontrunners for WNBA MVP that we will cover on the show this week.

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Jackie started the discussion with a recent social media post by the Liberty that compared Stewart’s win share stats to those of Sheryl Swoopes and Sylvia Fowles in the 2000 and 2017 seasons, respectively. Both earned the MVP title in those campaigns.

As the graphic details, Stewart has 9.87 win shares, 6.59 offensive win shares and 3.28 defensive win shares. Entering Tuesday’s game against Dallas, Stewart is averaging a career-high 22.8 points along with 9.4 rebounds per game, according to Basketball Reference. Both stats are higher than her 2018 numbers of 21.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and she’s played a career-best 37 games.

“It took me about five seconds to decide who I was going to vote for for MVP in 2018,” Howard said. “It was a real easy one. I went back to look ahead of time and Liz Cambage had a great year in Dallas and Elena Delle Donne had a great year in her first year in Washington. But this one was an easy one. I would love to have an easier time of it this time around.”

Jackie also previewed her upcoming story, recapping a conversation with Stephanie Dolson about how she would argue for Stewart’s second MVP award.

“She said, an MVP is someone who makes the game easier for the people and players around her,” Jackie said. “That is a definition that sounds so simple. Yet it was one that I did not hear at all during this reporting process before she and I spoke. And so when you think about Breanna Stewart and how she helps everyone else out, that is how and that is why Sandy Brondello has her on the floor as much as she does. It’s not just about the scoring. It’s about okay, Stewie can initiate the offense when Courtney Vandersloot needs to take a break. We saw that happen against Chicago. I mean, Jocelyn Willoughby was sort of playing the one but sort of Breanna Stewart was playing the one as well. So that’s an example of Stewie making things easier for the other players on the floor.”

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