Las Vegas Aces star A'ja Wilson wins AP's WNBA Player of the Year honors

Las Vegas Aces star and 2018 No. 1 overall pick A’ja Wilson has made the most of the unusual environment she finds herself in. The third-year pro was named the AP WNBA Player of the Year on Tuesday after leading the Aces to the No. 1 seed in the upcoming WNBA playoffs.

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Wilson averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in the 22-game regular season. She finished second in the league in scoring as Las Vegas posted an 18-4 record. The Aces beat the Seattle Storm behind Wilson’s 23 points to clinch the top spot in the standings on Sunday.

The 24-year-old made an immediate impact for the Aces as a rookie, averaging 20.7 points and eight rebounds en route to winning Rookie of the Year in 2018. She made the All-Star team for the second year in a row last season and led the Las Vegas franchise to its first playoff appearance since 2014.

As she has evolved into one of the best players in the WNBA, Wilson has not lost sight of who is ultimately in control of her life.

“I think God has really been showing me and teaching me that I am made for this,” she told Sports Spectrum last year. “He wouldn’t put me in this situation if He knew I couldn’t handle it. The road’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be glamorous. That’s what I have to continue to understand — that God is in control.”

The 2017 NCAA national champion has Deuteronomy 31:6 listed in her Twitter bio. The verse says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Wilson also says prayer is a consistent part of her life and part of her routine before every game.

“Prayer has just really helped me out through my whole basketball career,” she told Sports Spectrum. “It’s a part of my pregame ritual, it’s a part of my warmup. It’s always involved because I know that it’s so much more than what’s at stake and what’s in front of me. I just have to give thanks, that’s the biggest thing. Prayer is my peace.”

Wilson and the Aces will begin their quest for a championship on Sunday after earning a double-bye into the semifinals. The WNBA playoffs tip off Tuesday tonight with two single-elimination games in the opening round.

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