Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles has been named the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced Friday morning. Fowles received 19 of a possible 39 media votes for the award. It is her third time as Defensive Player of the Year, having won the award previously in 2011 and 2013 as a member of the Chicago Sky.
“I am honored to receive the Defensive Player of Year award,” Fowles said. “This has been an amazing year not just for me but for my team as well, who I give credit to for this award. They push me every day to be great, and for that I’m grateful.”
The Lynx finished with the best defensive rating in the WNBA, allowing only 96.4 points per 100 possessions, per WNBA.com. Fowles is at the literal center of those efforts with 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. She finished fifth in the league in block percentage by blocking 5.1 percent of opponents’ shot attempts while on the floor. Her defensive rebounding percentage of 24.8 percent also placed her in the top 10 in the league.
Seattle Storm rookie Breanna Stewart finished second with eight votes. Nneka Ogwumike and Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks finished third and fourth, respectively. Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner finished fifth with three votes.
The league also announced their two All-Defensive teams. The First Team includes Fowles, Beard and Ogwumike, as well as Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry and Indiana Fever guard Briann January. The Second Team is comprised of Griner and Stewart along with Fever forward Tamika Catchings — who also received a vote for Defensive Player of the Year — New York Liberty guard Tanisha Wright and Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas.