Indiana Fever Forward Tamika Catchings Wins 2006 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award
NEW YORK, August 17, 2006 - Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever was named the 2006 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year today by the league office. In a landslide victory, Catchings received 43 of a possible 66 votes - 36 more than her nearest challenger - from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
As the defensive player of the year, Catchings will receive a Tiffany-designed trophy and $5,000. The award is the second major honor to be bestowed upon the 27-year old this year. In June, Catchings was named to the WNBA All-Decade Team in a vote among fans, media and WNBA players and coaches.
Catchings led the WNBA in steals with 2.94 per game and became the only player in history to lead the league in steals for three different seasons. After posting an identical 2.94 steals per game mark during her 2002 Rookie of the Year campaign, the University of Tennessee product led the league again in 2005 with 2.65 steals per game en route to her first Defensive Player of the Year title.
While not just a defensive force -- Catchings was the only player to finish the 2006 regular season ranked among the WNBA's top 10 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks - it was her efforts on the defensive end of the floor that drew the most attention. When she wasn't stealing passes, Catchings was pulling down rebounds and blocking shots. Her 172 defensive rebounds were tied for fifth most in the league and her 35 blocks more than doubled her output of a year ago. Catchings tallied more than 5 defensive boards in 19 of 32 games, including a season-high of 13 on June 29 vs. Detroit.
Led by Catchings, the Fever ranked atop the WNBA in terms of fewest points allowed per game at just 68.1.
Catchings' league-leading 94 steals far outpaced the number two theft artist in the league, teammate Tully Bevilaqua, who finished with 71, and moved her into elite company on the WNBA's all-time steals list. Catchings now ranks second in league history in steals per game (2.51), training only WNBA legend Kim Perrot (2.64).
Below are the complete results of the 2006 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year votes and a list of past recipients:
2006 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR RESULTS
43 - Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
7 - Katie Douglas, Connecticut Sun
2 - Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets
2 - Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
1 - Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock
1 - Margo Dydek, Connecticut Sun
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2006 - Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
2005 - Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
2004 - Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
2003 - Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets
2002 - Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets
2001 - Debbie Black, Miami Sol
2000 - Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets
1999 - Yolanda Griffith, Sacramento Monarchs
1998 - Teresa Weatherspoon, New York Liberty
1997 - Teresa Weatherspoon, New York Liberty
Featuring 14 teams and the greatest female basketball players from around the world, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women's professional team sports league in U.S. history. The 2006 WNBA Playoffs tip off on August 17 and complete coverage will be provided by ABC, ESPN2 and NBA TV through the conference finals. The 2006 WNBA Finals will be televised on ESPN2.