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NEW YORK (AP) _ Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes was selected the WNBA's Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, winning the award for the second time in three years.

Swoopes, the leading vote-getter for this season's All-Star game, led the Comets to the playoffs for the sixth straight year _ the only WNBA team to play in the postseason every season. Houston won the first four league championships.

The Comets played the Utah Starzz on Tuesday night, in the first round of the WNBA playoffs. The winner of the game advanced to play the Los Angeles Sparks in the conference final.

Swoopes also won the league's award for best defensive player on Sunday, after a team-record 88 steals this season.

Swoopes, the MVP in 2000, missed all last season with a torn ligament in her knee.

Lisa Leslie of the Sparks finished second in the MVP voting, followed by Indiana Fever rookie Tamika Catchings. The award was voted on by 60 members of the media.

Washington's Chamique Holdsclaw was fourth in the voting and rookie Sue Bird of Seattle was fifth.