Seattle’s Lauren Jackson Named 2007 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year

-- Edges Indiana's Two-Time Winner Tamika Catchings for Defensive Honor --

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2007 - Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm was named the 2007 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced today. Jackson received 20 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters to finish ahead of the Indiana Fever's Tamika Catchings. The Defensive Player of the Year in each of the past two seasons, Catchings garnered 16 votes.

The four votes that separated the two players equaled the smallest margin of victory in the history of the award. Sheryl Swoopes of the Houston Comets topped Catchings by the same margin in 2002.

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

Jackson, who is a leading candidate for the WNBA Most Valuable Player award to be announced later this postseason, is no stranger to accolades this season. In addition to having been selected to her sixth All-Star Game in July, Jackson garnered Western Conference Player of the Week honors a league-high five times and captured the league's Peak Performer Award for both scoring and rebounding after leading the league in both categories during the regular season.

The first overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft, Jackson also was named to the WNBA's All-Decade Team in 2006 and earned league MVP honors in 2003.

This season the seventh-year pro added "dominating defensive presence" to her already solid reputation as one of the elite offensive players in the WNBA.

A game-changing force, the Storm's all-time leader in blocked shots ranked second in the league in blocks (2.0 per game) behind only Margo Dydek of the Connecticut Sun (2.1). The Australian native's 63 total blocks also ranked second, trailing Dydek by just three despite playing in one less game.

One of the most complete players in the world, Jackson was the only player in the WNBA to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds and blocks in 2007. Her league-best 7.1 defensive rebounds per game were nearly two more than the 5.4 posted by the runner-up, Dydek.

Led by Jackson, the Storm ranked among the league leaders in rebounding (+2.1) and blocked-shot differential (+1.2). As a team, Seattle averaged 4.4 blocks, meaning Jackson accounted for almost half of the team's average.

In 2007, Jackson's 300 rebounds and 63 blocked-shots led the Storm for the seventh consecutive year and increased her franchise-record totals in both categories to 1,740 and 452, respectively.

With the award, Jackson becomes the first Seattle Storm player, as well as the first international player, to be named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Below are the complete results of the 2007 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year votes and a list of past recipients:

2007 WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR RESULTS

20 - Lauren Jackson - Seattle Storm
16 - Tamika Catchings - Indiana Fever
5 - Alana Beard - Washington Mystics
2 - Katie Douglas - Connecticut Sun
2 - Loree Moore - New York Liberty
1 - DeLisha Milton-Jones - Washington Mystics
1 - Deanna Nolan - Detroit Shock
1 - Margo Dydek - Connecticut Sun

WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS

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

About the WNBA
Featuring 13 teams and the greatest female basketball players in the world, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women's professional team sports league in U.S. history. The 2007 WNBA Playoffs tipped off on August 23 with complete coverage through the Conference Finals being provided by ABC, ESPN2 and NBA TV. The 2007 WNBA Finals begin on September 5 and will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2.

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