WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard highlights 2019 WNBA All-Defensive First Team

NEW YORK – WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard of the Seattle Storm leads the 2019 WNBA All-Defensive First Team, the WNBA announced today.

Howard received the maximum 11 votes from the WNBA’s head coaches, earning All-Defensive First Team honors for the second straight season.

Along with Howard (55 points), the WNBA All-Defensive First Team features Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones (42), Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (36), Sun guard Jasmine Thomas (36) and Storm guard Jordin Canada (34).

The WNBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (34 points), Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins (27), Storm forward Alysha Clark (26), Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (25) and Mystics guard Natasha Cloud (25).

The WNBA’s 12 head coaches selected the All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position and were not permitted to vote for players from their own teams.  Players earned five points for each First Team vote and three points for each Second Team vote.  If a player received votes at multiple positions, she was slotted at the position where she received the most votes.

2019 WNBA All-Defensive First Team

Natasha Howard, Storm: The two-time All-Defensive First Team selection ranked second in the WNBA in steals (2.18 spg) and third in blocked shots (1.74 bpg).

Jonquel Jones, Sun: The 2018 Sixth Woman of the Year tied for the WNBA lead in blocked shots (2.0 bpg) with Griner en route to her first All-Defensive Team nod.  Jones also finished fourth in defensive rebounds with 6.4 per game.

Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks: Ogwumike ranked third in the WNBA in defensive rebounding (6.5 drpg) and fifth in steals (1.88 spg).  She was voted to an All-Defensive Team for the fifth straight season and to the First Team for the fourth time (2015-17).

Jasmine Thomas, Sun: This marks the third consecutive All-Defensive First Team honor for Thomas, a top on-ball defender who tied for eighth in steals (1.41 spg).  She also made the Second Team in 2016.

Jordin Canada, Storm: The league leader in steals (2.27 spg) was selected to her first All-Defensive Team in only her second WNBA season.

2019 WNBA All-Defensive Second Team

Brittney Griner, Mercury: This is the sixth consecutive All-Defensive Team selection for Griner, who was the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015.  Griner tied for the WNBA lead in blocks (2.0 bpg) after leading the category outright in each of her previous six seasons.

Ariel Atkins, Mystics: Atkins has earned All-Defensive Second Team honors in both of her WNBA seasons.  She finished sixth in the WNBA in steals with 1.45 per game this season.

Alysha Clark, Storm: Clark makes her All-Defensive Team debut in her eighth WNBA season after helping the Storm allow a league-low 75.1 points per game.

Alyssa Thomas, Sun: Thomas finished third in the WNBA in steals (1.94 spg) en route to her second All-Defensive Team selection (2017).  She also tied for 11th in total defensive rebounds (181).

Natasha Cloud, Mystics: Selected to her first All-Defensive Team in her fifth WNBA season, Cloud contributed 1.03 steals and 2.3 defensive rebounds per game for league-leading Washington.