Bringing WNBA’s Best to Their Knees, 2023 MVP Breanna Stewart Steals a Page Out of Coco Gauff’s US Open Playbook

Published 09/27/2023, 6:32 AM EDT

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Over the past couple of weeks, the WNBA world has been buzzing in anticipation of the 2023 MVP award. Despite strong competition from Alyssa Thomas and WNBA champion A’ja Wilson, it was 29 YO Breanna Stewart who ended up bagging the prestigious award.

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Following her latest win, Breanna Stewart, the 2023 MVP, takes a page out of Coco Gauff’s US Open playbook.

Breanna Stewart wins the 2023 MVP award

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Breanna Stewart won the 2023 WNBA MVP award in a thrilling battle that had the closest three-way race in WNBA history. Alyssa Thomas (439) of the Connecticut Sun and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces (433) both had strong performances. However, Stewart of the New York Liberty won the prestigious honor by a razor-thin margin of 446 points.

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The start of ‘Stew York City’ for the Liberty came when Stewart broke the franchise record with an incredible 45 points in the team’s home debut at the Barclays Center. The Liberty secured the second-best regular-season record in the league with a record of 32-8 through this outstanding effort. Furthermore, they also triumphed over the Washington Mystics in the opening round of the playoffs.

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Following her latest victory, Breanna Stewart used her winning speech as an opportunity to honor Coco Gauff, the winner of this year’s US Open. She said, “Coco, what you said when you won the US Open stuck with me. ‘I try my best to carry this with grace. But honestly to those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas. And now I’m burning so bright.'” 

Coco Gauff delivered these inspirational remarks after defeating Aryna Sabalenka to win her maiden major championship at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

She continued, “I do my best to carry myself with grace and be a great teammate. And I want to be an example to Ruby (Breanna’s daughter) about what it means to approach life with the humility and grit necessary to lead teams to help others be great and to win at things that matter the most.” 

Following the MVP announcement, Breanna Stewart and team wasted no time heading to the court for Game 2 of their semifinal series against the Sun.

The New York Liberty cruise past the Connecticut Sun

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The New York Liberty evened their playoff series with the Connecticut Sun with strong performances from Betnijah Laney and Sabrina Ionescu. The Liberty won 84-77 in a crucial game to even the playoff semifinal series at 1-1 each. The 2023 MVP Sabrina Ionescu helped the team win with 21 points.

Betnijah Laney, meanwhile, contributed 20 points. One of Laney’s shots was a vital 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that shifted the tide in New York’s favor. The Liberty held a slim lead of 59-57 entering the fourth quarter in the hotly-contested game. However, New York went on a strong 10-2 run to take the game’s largest lead of 10 points. Breanna Stewart concluded the game with an outstanding stat line of 11 points, 11 rebounds five assists.

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Notably, all five of the Liberty’s starters put out strong efforts and scored in double digits. Along with Ionescu, Stewart and Laney, Courtney Vandersloot scored 19 points while Jonquel Jones pulled down an astounding 13 rebounds. The Liberty made 10 out of 26 three-point attempts and shot 44.6% as a team overall. After struggling in Game 1, Betnijah Laney’s accurate shooting from outside the arc (5-for-7) was crucial to the victory.

The best-of-five WNBA playoff semifinals, which are now drawn at 1-1, will next be played in Connecticut on Friday. With ‘Stewie,’ the 2023 MVP on the Liberty’s side, it’ll surely be a game to keep your eyes on.

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Written by:

Ranjitha Ramesh

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Ranjitha Ramesh is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. With a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Ranjitha has a strong foundation in reporting and writing. Her passion for basketball, particularly the Lakers and LeBron James, fuels her desire to delve into the lifestyle and off-court activities of NBA stars.
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Edited by:

Aayush Kapoor

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