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Big Syl Named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year

Big Syl received 19 out of 40 votes for the WNBA Best Defensive Player - one more than the runner-up, Indiana Fever forward and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings (18). Connecticut Sun center Tina Charles (2) and fellow teammate Sky guard Epiphanny Prince (1) received the remaining votes.

Fowles finished her fourth year in the WNBA and became only the second player in WNBA history to finish the season averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game – Chamique Holdsclaw (20.5 ppg and 10.9 rpg) for Washington in 2003. Fowles tied a WNBA record with 22 double-doubles in a season, while leading the WNBA in blocked shots for the second straight year (2.00 bpg), field goal percentage (.591), and minutes played (34.6 mpg). She ranked second overall in rebounds (10.2 rpg) and third in scoring (20.0 ppg).

The 6-6 Center from LSU has accomplished much in her short WNBA career, including three All-Star team selections, an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and a World Championship Gold Medal in 2010. This season Fowles finished third in MVP voting, was named Player of the Week three times during the season, and named Player of the Month for August.

With her fifth rebound at Los Angeles Sept. 10, Fowles became the all-time leading rebounder for the Sky, passing Candice Dupree’s mark of 980. She finished the 2011 season with 1,000 career rebounds. Her double-double versus Connecticut June 19, gave her 29, the most ever by a Sky player, breaking the team mark set by Candice Dupree (2006-2009); she recorded eight in a row from Aug. 7-28, a WNBA single-season record.

The three-time All-Star recorded her 200th career blocked shot against the Seattle Storm on July 19, which made her the 19th leading shot blocker in WNBA history. Fowles had 10 games of at least three blocks, including a season-high eight July 16, at Atlanta.

“I was very happy to learn that I had been named Defensive Player of the Year and immediately shared the news with my mother who was also very happy. The award made me stop and review my season and I give thanks to the Lord for letting all this play out the way it did. I also owe credit to my team mates and coaches who constantly encourage me and are out there battling alongside me every game.”

In honor of being named the Defensive Player of the Year, Fowles will receive $5,000 and a trophy specially designed by Tiffany & Co.

Below are the complete voting results for the 2011 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and a list of past recipients: 


19 | Sylvia Fowles | Chicago Sky
18 | Tamika Catchings | Indiana Fever
2 | Tina Charles | Connecticut Sun
1 | Epiphanny Prince | Chicago Sky

2011 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Kia Motors


2011 | Sylvia Fowles | Chicago Sky
2010 | Tamika Catchings | Indiana Fever
2009 | Tamika Catchings | Indiana Fever
2008 | Lisa Leslie | Los Angeles Sparks
2007 | Lauren Jackson | Seattle Storm
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