Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart named 2018 WNBA Most Valuable Player, teammate Natasha Howard earned Most Improved Player
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart is the 2018 WNBA Most Valuable Player. It is the first MVP award for the three-year veteran and the the second winner for the Storm, joining three-time MVP Lauren Jackson (2003, 2007 and 2010).
Stewart, selected by the Storm with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft, is a two-time WNBA All-Star and scored a Seattle-record 742 points and led the WNBA with 22 games of 20 or more points. She has the most points (2,019) and 20-point games (58) in the WNBA over the last three seasons. She earned the WNBA Western Conference Player of the Month in July.
This regular season Stewart was second in the WNBA in scoring (career-high 21.8 ppg), third in rebounding (8.4 rpg), seventh in blocked shots (1.44 bpg) and eighth in steals (1.35 spg). She earned career highs in field goal percentage (52.9, 10th in the WNBA) and three-point field goal percentage (41.5, eighth) and shot 82.0 percent from the free throw line.
Stewart garnered 33 of 39 first-place votes from a national media panel. Dallas Wings center Liz Cambage came in second in the voting with 231 points, including four first-place votes. Washington Mystics forward/guard Elena Delle Donne was third and received the other two first-place votes.
The MVP award comes with $15,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.
Natasha Howard is the MIP
Stewart’s teammate, forward Natasha Howard is the 2018 WNBA Most Improved Player. The five-year veteran is the first Storm player to earn the honor.
This summer marked Howard’s first season with the Storm. Seattle acquired the 26-year-old Howard in February in a trade with the Lynx.
Howard received 29 of 39 votes for the Most Improved Player honor. Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud finished second with four votes. Dallas Wings guard Kayla Thornton and Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot tied for third with two votes each. Las Vegas Aces guards Kayla McBride and Kelsey Plum received one vote apiece.
Howard averaged career highs of 13.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.97 blocked shots (third in the WNBA) and 1.29 steals in 25.6 minutes while starting 33 of the 34 games she played. Last season with the Lynx, she averaged 4.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.62 blocks and 0.53 steals in 11.7 minutes while coming off the bench in all 34 of her appearances.
Howard will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
Veteran guard Sue Bird added to Seattle’s award collection. She won the 2018 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. It is the third sportsmanship award for Bird, who also received the award in 2017 and shared the accolade with Ruth Riley in 2011.
The namesake of the award is the late Kim Perrot, who helped guide the Houston Comets to their first two WNBA championships before passing away in August 1999 after a seven-month battle with cancer.
After earning a double bye to start the postseason, Seattle will host the Phoenix Mercury in game 1 of a best-of-five semifinals series today at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2.