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Breanna Stewart Named WNBA Most Valuable Player

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Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart was named the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player, and she will receive the award later in the day as the Storm host Phoenix in a semifinal series opener at KeyArena.

Stewart has averaged 21.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 blocks for Seattle this season.

“In this league, I’m playing against however many former national players of the year, and going against the best competition every night,” Stewart said, according to ESPN”S Mechelle Voepel. “And really trying to play my best and show that to everyone.

“We have team goals, and I have individual goals for myself. And being MVP was a goal that I had. I wanted to prepare like this was going to be an MVP-type season. To go out and leave everything on the court.”

Stewart has made efforts to improve her fitness by practicing yoga, pilates, and a healthier diet.

“I’m making sure I’m getting enough calories and the right portions, plus just finding healthy snacks, and not having unhealthy snacks in my house. Because if I see them, I’ll eat them.”

Stewart also credits Sue Bird, whom she worked out with, along with Jewell Loyd, following her return from China.

“Sue has played a big factor in it for me,”Stewart said.”I got some guidance in what I should be doing.

“One of the things I talked to Sue about was, ‘If you could have started doing all this with your diet at 23, would you?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, definitely.’ That’s all I need to hear. She’s 37, and still remains the best of the best, and continues to be great.”

Stewart has been on a meteoric rise since coming into the WNBA a few short seasons ago.

“I think part of it is being more prepared for the strength and physicality of this league, and then understanding our system,” Stewart said. “We had a coaching change, but the way we played kind of remained the same. I know where I’m going to get my best opportunities to score.”

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International Tennis Federation Defends Umpire Who Cited Serena Williams

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Umpire Carlos Ramos, who cited Serena Williams three code violations during the US Open final has been defended by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body.

Ramos, who said his “decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules”, cited Williams three times during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka on Saturday, once for getting coaching signals, another for breaking her racket, and a third for calling Ramos a “thief”.

The call for breaking her racket cost Williams a point.

On Sunday, the tournament referee docked Williams $10,000 for “verbal abuse” of the chair umpire, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for breaking her racket, according to reports.

The ITF stated that Ramos’ citations were “reaffirmed by the U.S. Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offenses”, on Monday, adding “Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.”

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U.S. Ryder Cup Team Adds Tony Finau

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Tony Finau was the final pick by United States captain Jim Furyk to join the Ryder Cup team.

“There won’t be any locker room noise with me,” Finau said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “I can play with anyone. I feel that my personality is just that way. I can bring the best out of different guys playing with them, and them the same to me. I’m pretty easy to play with. And I’m playing some good golf, some world-class golf.”

“He has an unbelievable body of work this year,” Furyk said. “All those top-10 finishes, the play in big championships and the majors, and then his current form, a second, a fourth and an eighth in the playoffs. He checked a lot of boxes and made it impossible not to pick him.”

“I never thought I was on that team until I got that call,” Finau said. “I made sure I played that way; I played like I always had something to prove. And I let the guys on the team know that I’d be a great pick and I’d be ready to go. It’s definitely cool to accomplish something like this and to be able to play as well as I have under the circumstances, it’s something I’m extremely proud of.”

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Aces’ A’ja Wilson Wins WNBA Rookie of the Year

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Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson, the number 1 pick in the draft and college player of the year, became the unanimous choice for WNBA Rookie of the Year.

“It means a lot with that rookie class,” Wilson said. “There are so many great players.”

Although the Aces struggled this season to a 14-20 record, Wilson was a star, and averaged 20.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.67 blocked shots and her scoring average was second all time by a WNBA rookie, to Seimone Augustus’ 21.9 PPG rookie campaign back in 2006.

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