Israeli-American hoopster Alysha Clark wins Sixth Player of the Year Award

Sep 20, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

American-Israeli basketballer, Las Vegas Aces forward Alysha Clark, was named as the 2023 WNBA Sixth Player of the Year earlier this week, winning for the first time in her decorated career. She polled 35 votes of 60 from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, finishing ahead of Connecticut Sun guard-forward DiJonai Carrington (13 votes) and Chicago Sky guard Dana Evans (9 votes). Kalani Brown, the Dallas Wings center who won the State Cup with Maccabi Bnot Ashdod earlier this year and has signed again for the 2023-24 Israeli season with Ashdod, polled one vote. New York Liberty guard Marine Johannès and Seattle Storm guard Sami Whitcomb each also polled one vote.

Clark, who was drafted with the 17th overall pick in the second round of the 2010 WNBA draft by the now defunct San Antonio Stars, joined the Aces over the summer after previously playing in the W with the Seattle Storm – where she won two Championships, made an All Defensive First Team and Second Team and twice led the WNBA in three-point field goal percentage – and the Washington Mystics.

Clark has also had a lot of success in Israel since first appearing with Hapoel Rishon LeZion in the 2010-11 season, including winning multiple Israeli League Championships (in 2014-15 and 2015-16 with Ashdod and with Elitzur Ramla in 2022-23) and an Israeli State Championship (2015-16 with Ashdod), along with back-to-back awards for Player of the Year, Domestic Player of the Year and Forward of the Year awards in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

This WNBA season, Clark averaged 6.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.2 blocks in 22.5 minutes across 39 games, helping the Aces to a league-best 34-6 record. She also played a key role off the bench in Vegas’s first round sweep of the Sky, with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in the 87-59 game one victory, followed by 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in the 92-70 game two victory.

Alysha Clark – Photo Credit: Derek White/NBA Photos

Although Israeli fans will hope to see Clark live in action again soon, the focus for her now is of course the playoffs.

“Yeah, maybe, I’ve been talking to a few teams, so we’ll see,” Clark responded when The Sports Rabbi asked her of our chances of seeing her in Israel next season in an interview last month. “But right now, I’m focusing on finishing out strong in playoffs and family life stuff right now. If I do it, it’ll be in the second half of the season for sure.”

Clark and the Aces, led by MVP candidate A’ja Wilson and other All Stars Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum, will play against the Dallas Wings, featuring Brown and Veronica Burton (who has signed with Elitzur Holon for the upcoming Israeli season) in the best-of-five semifinal series, which begins on Sunday September 24 in Las Vegas.

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