NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2016 – Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx has been named the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung, the WNBA announced today. The 6-6 center earned the honor for the third time in her nine-year career, joining forward Tamika Catchings (five) and guard/forward Sheryl Swoopes (three) as the only players to win the award at least three times.
Fowles, the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in Lynx history, received 19 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart finished second with eight votes. Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike came in third with four votes, followed by Sparks guard/forward Alana Beard and Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner with three votes each. The Indiana Fever’s Catchings and Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne received one vote apiece.
Fowles, the 2015 WNBA Finals MVP, started all 34 of Minnesota’s regular-season games and ranked fifth in the league in defensive rebounds with 6.1 per game. She also placed fourth in the WNBA in blocks (1.8 bpg) and 11th in steals (1.3 spg). Behind Fowles, the Lynx led the WNBA in defensive rating (96.4) and ranked second in opponents’ field goal percentage (41.7) and points allowed (77.0 ppg).
On Sept. 4, the three-time All-Star tied a career high with five steals in a 93-79 home win against the Connecticut Sun. Fowles also recorded a season-best 14 rebounds in a 98-97 overtime victory at the Dallas Wings on July 17. Three days later, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm tallied a season-high five blocks in an 83-65 victory against the visiting Atlanta Dream. She averaged 6.4 defensive rebounds and 2.8 blocks during July, when Minnesota was a league-best 8-1.
Also this season, Fowles averaged 13.9 points and ranked fourth in the WNBA in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and field goal percentage (.595). Her contributions on both ends of the court helped the Lynx (28-6) register a franchise record for victories and earn a double bye as the No. 1 seed in the WNBA Playoffs presented by Verizon.
Fowles and the Lynx will play Game 2 of their WNBA Semifinals series against the Phoenix Mercury tonight at the Target Center (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Minnesota leads the series, 1-0.
This marks the third 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, Fowles will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
Below are the voting results for the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Samsung and a list of past recipients:
2016 WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG VOTING RESULTS
19: Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)
8: Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm)
4: Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)
3: Alana Beard (Los Angeles Sparks)
3: Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)
1: Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever)
1: Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
ALL-TIME WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG WINNERS
2016: Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)
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)
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)