Veteran forward spearheaded Houston's league-leading defense

Swoopes Swipes Top Defensive Honors

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 -- Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes has been named the 2002 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. She was previously honored as the league's top defender in 2000.

Swoopes received 22 of a possible 60 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, followed by Indiana Fever rookie Tamika Catchings with 18 votes. Other players receiving votes included Los Angeles' Lisa Leslie (6), Miami's Debbie Black (6) and Utah's Margo Dydek (5), among others.

Swoopes has the fastest hands in the West; only the East's Tamika Catchings had more steals this season.
Bill Baptist/WNBAE/Getty Images
Swoopes, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL in her left knee, set a Comets record with 88 steals this season, second overall in the WNBA. Her 2.75 steals per game were also the second highest recorded by a player this season. Swoopes led the Comets in scoring (18.5 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg), and grabbed 4.9 rebounds per contest. She led a tenacious Houston defensive unit that held opponents to league-lows of 59.1 points per game and .375 shooting from the floor.

As the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Swoopes 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.


Votes -- Player, Team
22 -- Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets
18 -- Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
6 -- Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
6 -- Debbie Black, Miami Sol
5 -- Margo Dydek, Utah Starzz
1 -- DeLisha Milton, Los Angeles Sparks
1 -- Chamique Holdsclaw, Washington Mystics
1 -- Teresa Weatherspoon, New York Liberty

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