NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2021 – Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles has been named the 2021 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced today. This is the fourth WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Fowles, who joins five-time winner Tamika Catchings as the only players in league history to win the award four or more times.
Fowles received 31 votes from a national panel of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters. Los Angeles Sparks guard Brittney Sykes finished in second place with six votes. Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones and Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner tied for third place with four votes each. Phoenix center Brittney Griner received two votes and Connecticut guards Briann January and Jasmine Thomas received one vote each.
In her 14th WNBA season, Fowles ranked second in the league in both steals (1.81 spg) and blocked shots (1.81 bpg) and finished third in defensive rebounds (8.0 drpg). She was the only player to average at least 1.50 steals and 1.50 blocks per game this season. Fowles recorded five games with at least four steals and four games with at least four blocks. She grabbed at least 10 defensive rebounds in a game eight times.
Behind Fowles, the Lynx ranked fourth in the WNBA in defensive rating, allowing 98.0 points per 100 possessions. The 6-6 Fowles also helped Minnesota hold opponents to 32.8 points per game in the paint, the fourth fewest in the league.
Fowles averaged 16.0 points and 10.1 rebounds and shot a WNBA-high 64.0 percent from the field in 31 games this season. She ranked second in the WNBA in rebounding and averaged double figures in rebounding for a league-record seventh time.
With Fowles excelling at both ends of the court, the Lynx posted the WNBA’s third-best record (22-10) and earned a first-round bye in the WNBA Playoffs 2021 presented by Google. Minnesota tips off its quest for a league-record fifth championship tonight when it hosts the Chicago Sky in a second-round, single-elimination game at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
A two-time WNBA Finals MVP (2015 and 2017) and the 2017 regular-season MVP, Fowles is the league’s career leader in total rebounds (3,712), defensive rebounds (2,654), rebounds per game (9.8) and field goal percentage (59.7).
In honor of being named the 2021 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Fowles will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
Below are the voting results for the 2021 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and a click here for a list of past recipients
2021 WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS
Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx): 31
Brittney Sykes (Los Angeles Sparks): 6
Jonquel Jones (Connecticut Sun): 4
Brianna Turner (Phoenix Mercury): 4
Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury): 2
Briann January (Connecticut Sun): 1
Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun): 1