It took one of the closest ballots in WNBA history, but Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker edged out Lynx wing Maya Moore for the league’s 2013 MVP honors.
Parker received the award Thursday night in Los Angeles before the Sparks opened their Western Conference playoff series against Phoenix. The 39-member national media voting panel gave Parker 234 points, while Moore had 218, according to the Associated Press.
That’s the closest finish since Sheryl Swoopes edged Lauren Jackson by two points in 2005.
Moore’s team may have had the better season in edging the Sparks for the Western Conference’s top seed, but voting members determined Parker put together the more impressive individual campaign.
It’s tougher to compare an all-around effective post to a forward that spends plenty of time on both the wing and the block, but Parker and Moore put up similar numbers during the regular season. Moore scored 18.5 points per game and averaged 6.2 rebounds, while Parker scored 17.9 but pulled down 8.7 boards per game.
Parker also ranked fourth in the WNBA in blocks per game with 1.84. Moore played more exterior than interior post-up defense and tallied 1.74 steals per contest.
Further exemplifying the race’s tightness, Moore and Parker each received 10 first-place votes. Chicago Sky rookie Elena Delle Donne ranked third in the voting with 189 points.
It’s the second MVP award for Parker, who also won the All-Star Game MVP this season while playing alongside Moore and three other Lynx players. Parker was runner-up to Indiana’s Tina Charles for last season’s MVP accolades.