WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart quotes Coco Gauff in speech

Brianna Williams, ESPNSep 26, 2023, 08:37 PM ET

Breanna Stewart was named the 2023 WNBA MVP in the closest three-way race in league history. The New York Liberty star edged out Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas by seven points and Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson by 13 points.

Stewart, a New York native, referenced this year’s US Open champion Coco Gauff in her acceptance speech.

“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.'”

Gauff dropped the line after defeating then-world No. 1 and reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka to win the first major of her career at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

Stewie ? Coco

2023 @Kia WNBA MVP @BreannaStewart takes notes from 2023 U.S. Open Champion @CocoGauff while accepting her #KiaMVP trophy pic.twitter.com/PXN6YzjZyD

— WNBA (@WNBA) September 26, 2023

Stewart last received the award in 2018, when she played for the Seattle Storm.

She joins Candace Parker, Yolanda Griffith and Cynthia Cooper as the only players in WNBA history to win the league MVP award in their first season with a team.

The Liberty’s “Stew York City” era began when Stewart dropped a franchise-record 45 points against the Indiana Fever in their home opener at Barclays Center. They went 32-8 in the regular season to secure the league’s second-best record and defeated the Washington Mystics in the first round of the playoffs.

Shortly after the announcement, Stewart and the Liberty took the court for Game 2 of their semifinal series against the Sun. Two more wins would place New York in the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2002.

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