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Aces guard Kelsey Plum earns pair of AP honors

Aces guard Kelsey Plum said again Sunday after a victory over the Phoenix Mercury that she’s not necessarily a bench player. But rather a basketball player who happens to come off the bench,

“Do I love it? No,” she said, “but that’s the role I’ve been given on this team and I’m going to make the most of it.”

That she has.

Plum on Wednesday was named the Sixth Woman of the Year by the Associated Press. The honor is separate from the WNBA’s awards, but is still reflective of the impact she made this season. In 26 games, the 27-year-old averaged a career-high 14.8 points while shooting 38.6 percent from 3-point range and adding 3.6 assists.

She finished the season with a flurry, too, averaging 21.7 points on 58 percent shooting in September to earn Western Conference Player of the Month honors.

“I’m just playing basketball. I’ve been doing this all year,” she said. “I’m confident. I’ve been confident. I will be confident. It just kind of is what it is.”

Plum also earned the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year award, having recovered from a torn Achilles en route to have the best season of her career. She sustained the injury last summer while playing three-on-three and missed the entire 2020 WNBA season, returning this year to help the Aces secure the No. 2 seed — and helping USA Basketball’s three-on-three team capture an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

Teammates and coaches have publicly campaigned for Plum to win awards this season, but she downplayed their importance on Sunday as well.

“Do I get a bonus? Great. Let’s move on,” she said. “I hope everyone else moves on, too.”

Plum’s teammate, A’ja Wilson, was also voted to the AP’s All-WNBA second team. Wilson led the Aces in scoring this year, averaging 18.3 points, and posted a career-high 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while playing all 32 games.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.