Miami's Black Named Top Defensive Player for 2001

NEW YORK, Aug. 17 -- Miami Sol guard Debbie Black, who led the WNBA in steals (2.56 spg) during the regular season, has been named the 2001 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Defensive Player of the Year Debbie Black in action:
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Black received 22 of a possible 60 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Sacramento's Yolanda Griffith finished second with 14 votes. Other players receiving votes were Cleveland's Mery Andrade, Los Angeles' Lisa Leslie and DeLisha Milton, Utah's Margo Dydek, Minnesota's Katie Smith, Charlotte's Allison Feaster, Orlando's Taj McWilliams-Franklin, New York's Teresa Weatherspoon and Phoenix's Lisa Harrison.

In addition to leading the league in steals, Black topped the Sol with 3.8 assists per game (T-9th in the WNBA) and averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in the regular season, helping Miami (20-12) secure its first postseason bid. The 5-3 point guard spearheaded a defensive unit that held opponents to 59.3 points per game, second only to Cleveland in points allowed.

As the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Black will receive a Tiffany-designed trophy and $5,000. The 60-member voting panel consisted of 12 national media representatives, as well as media representatives from each of the league's 16 markets who cover the WNBA regularly.

Below are the complete results of the 2001 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year vote and past recipients:

Defensive Player of the Year Results

22Debbie BlackMiami Sol
14Yolanda GriffithSacramento Monarchs
7Mery AndradeCleveland Rockers
5 Lisa LeslieLos Angeles Sparks
4Margo DydekUtah Starzz
3Katie SmithMinnesota Lynx
1Allison FeasterCharlotte Sting
1Lisa HarrisonPhoenix Mercury
1Taj McWilliams-FranklinOrlando Miracle
1DeLisha MiltonLos Angeles Sparks
1Teresa WeatherspoonNew York Liberty

Defensive Player of the Year Winners
2000 -- Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets
1999 -- Yolanda Griffith, Sacramento Monarchs
1998 -- Teresa Weatherspoon, New York Liberty
1997 -- Teresa Weatherspoon, New York Liberty