NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2015 – Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury, who averaged a WNBA-record 4.04 blocks per game this season, has been named the 2015 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung, the WNBA announced today. The 6-8 center becomes the first player to win the award in back-to-back seasons since Tamika Catchings in 2009 and 2010.
Griner, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, received 33 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. Kiah Stokes of the New York Liberty finished second with two votes. New York’s Tina Charles, Briann January of the Indiana Fever, Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream, and Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx received one vote each.
Griner swatted 105 shots in 26 games, improving on her average of 3.79 rejections last season, when she set a WNBA record for total blocks with 129. She also ranked second in the league this season in defensive rebounds with an average of 6.42 per game. Behind Griner, the fourth-place finisher in balloting for the 2015 WNBA Most Valuable Player Award presented by Samsung, the Mercury ranked second in the league in opponents’ field goal percentage (.393) and fourth in points allowed (72.3 ppg).
The three-year pro, who is the sixth multiple winner of the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Samsung, blocked at least two shots in 23 games and five or more shots in 11 games. Griner set a season high with nine rejections against the Lynx on Aug. 30, and she averaged 5.6 blocks during a five-game winning streak from July 28-Aug. 7.
A WNBA All-Star selection in all three years of her career, Griner’s defensive prowess and offensive contributions (15.1 ppg) helped the Mercury to a 20-14 record and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for the 2015 WNBA Playoffs presented by Boost Mobile. Phoenix opens the postseason tonight against the Tulsa Shock in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
This marks the second season that Samsung, an official WNBA marketing partner, is serving as the presenting partner of the WNBA’s highest individual honors. The WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, WNBA Most Valuable Player, WNBA Most Improved Player, WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, WNBA Rookie of the Year, and the WNBA Players of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards are a part of the WNBA Performance Awards presented by Samsung program.
In honor of being named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung, Griner will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy.
Below are the voting results for the 2015 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Samsung and a list of past recipients:
2015 WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG VOTING RESULTS
|33||Brittney Griner||Phoenix Mercury|
|2||Kiah Stokes||New York Liberty|
|1||Tina Charles||New York Liberty|
|1||Briann January||Indiana Fever|
|1||Angel McCoughtry||Atlanta Dream|
|1||Maya Moore||Minnesota Lynx|
ALL-TIME WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG WINNERS
2010Tamika CatchingsIndiana Fever
|2015||Brittney Griner||Phoenix Mercury|
|2014||Brittney Griner||Phoenix Mercury|
|2013||Sylvia Fowles||Chicago Sky|
|2012||Tamika Catchings||Indiana Fever|
|2011||Sylvia Fowles||Chicago Sky|
|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|