Las Vegas Aces forward Alysha Clark was named 2023 WNBA Sixth Player of the Year, the league announced on Monday. The veteran forward was a key figure off the bench on an Aces team that set a new WNBA record for most wins in a regular season with 34 and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Clark got 35 of the 60 votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. DiJonai Carrington of the Sun and Dana Evans of the Sky finished second and third in the voting, respectively.
A second-round pick back in 2010, Clark has long established herself as one of the league's best role players thanks to her versatile defensive abilities and strong 3-point shooting. The two-time All-Defensive selection spent the first nine seasons of her career with the Seattle Storm, where she helped the team win two titles, before signing with the Washington Mystics in 2021. After two seasons in the nation's capitol, she decided to sign with the Aces in free agency last winter.
It didn't take long for her to become an important part of Becky Hammon's rotation. While Clark did not start a single game this season, she was often on the floor to close them out, and averaged 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 38.1% from 3-point land. While her numbers didn't stand out, few role players made as much of an impact on both sides of the ball.
Clark has been particularly important since Candace Parker went down with a broken foot in the middle of the season. When Hammon wants to go small, which is often, Clark slots into Parker's spot alongside the Aces' four All-Stars, and has performed admirably. That lineup, which is the Aces' second-most used five-person group at 254 minutes, has a plus-18.7 net rating.
During the first-round of the playoffs, Clark was especially impressive as the Aces swept the Sky. She had 13 points and four rebounds in Game 1, and 14 points and six rebounds in Game 2, while shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point land in both contests. The Aces will need more performances like that from Clark the rest of the way as they attempt to become the first team to repeat since the 2001 and 2002 Los Angeles Sparks.