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A'ja Wilson named WNBA MVP

It's the second major award this weekend for the Gamecock legend.
Credit: AP
Las Vegas Aces center A'ja Wilson (22) sets up to pass the ball during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Washington Mystics, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

LAS VEGAS — South Carolina Gamecocks legend and Columbia native A'ja Wilson has been named the 2020 WNBA Most Valuable Player.

The news was announced Thursday afternoon. Wilson collected 43 of 47 first-place votes and 458 total points from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

It's the second major honor for her this week following her being named AP WNBA Player of the Year.

"A'ja has loved on the game of basketball for as long as I've known her, and the game is loving her back in the form of this recognition," South Carolina women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley said in a statement. "We are proud of her great work on the hardwood and being a change agent for social justice."

RELATED: A'ja Wilson named WNBA Player of the Year

Wilson scored at least 20 points in 15 of 22 games, including a season-high 31 points against the New York Liberty on Aug. 9. She recorded seven double-doubles (points-rebounds) and had two games with five blocks. Wilson was named the WNBA Western Conference Player of the Month for August and September, with Las Vegas posting a combined 17-2 record in those two months.

Behind Wilson, the Aces tied for the best record in the WNBA (18-4) during the regular season and earned the top seed in WNBA Playoffs 2020 presented by AT&T. Las Vegas received a double bye into the WNBA Semifinals, which will begin on Sunday, Sept. 20.

RELATED: Statue of A'ja Wilson approved, will stand outside Colonial Life Arena

Wilson, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, became a three-time All-America at South Carolina, leading the team to the 2017 National Championship and was the unanimous national player of the year as a senior.

She's also the Gamecocks all-time leading scorer and became the first player ever to be named SEC Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons.  

Wilson is the first Gamecock to be picked number one in the WNBA Draft.

She's also the Gamecocks all-time leading scorer and became the first player ever to be named SEC Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons.  

Wilson is the first Gamecock to be picked number one in the WNBA Draft.

Wilson's teammate Dearica Hamby, was the AP's sixth woman of the year for the second consecutive season.

Candace Parker of Los Angeles earned defensive player of the year honors while Minnesota's Crystal Dangerfield was selected as the rookie of the year. The Lynx's Cheryl Reeve was chosen as the coach of the year. Seattle's Breanna Stewart was selected as the comeback player of the year and Atlanta’s Betnijah Laney as most improved player. Players were selected by a 16-member media panel that votes on the weekly AP power poll.