NEW YORK – Los Angeles Sparks forward/center Candace Parker has been named the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced today. This is the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Parker, who is in her 13th WNBA season.
Parker received 16 votes from a national panel of 47 sportswriters and broadcasters. Seattle Storm forward Alysha Clark finished in second place with 11 votes and Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas finished in third place with 10 votes. The other players to receive votes were Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner (four votes), Storm forward Breanna Stewart (three votes), Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier (two) and 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard of the Storm (one).
In the 2020 regular season, Parker averaged a WNBA-high 8.0 defensive rebounds, 1.23 blocked shots (eighth in the WNBA) and 1.18 steals in 22 games. She was one of five players to average at least one block and one steal per game, joining Collier, Stewart, Turner and 2020 WNBA Most Valuable Player A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces. Parker grabbed at least 10 defensive rebounds in a game nine times.
Behind Parker, the Sparks ranked third in the WNBA in defensive rating, allowing 98.8 points allowed per 100 possessions. The 6-4 Parker helped Los Angeles hold opponents to 31.3 points per game in the paint, the second fewest in the WNBA.
Parker’s defensive prowess was part of a season in which she averaged 14.7 points, a WNBA-leading 9.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 51.0 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three-point range. A two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, Parker finished in third place for the 2020 WNBA MVP Award. With Parker excelling at both ends of the court, the Sparks posted the WNBA’s third-best record at 15-7.
In honor of being named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Parker will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
Below are the voting results for the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and a list of past recipients.
About the WNBA
The WNBA is a bold, progressive basketball league that stands for the power of women. Featuring 12 teams, the W is a unique sports property that combines competition and entertainment with a commitment to diversity and inclusion and social responsibility. Through its world-class athletes, the in-game fan experience, TV and digital broadcasts, digital and social content and community outreach programs, the league celebrates and elevates the game of basketball and the culture around it.
In 2020, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association signed a groundbreaking eight-year CBA that charts a new course for women’s basketball – and women’s sports overall – with a focus on increased player compensation, improvements to the player experience, expanded career development opportunities and resources specifically tailored to the female professional athlete. Key elements of the agreement are supported through the league’s new partnership platform, WNBA Changemakers. Inaugural WNBA Changemakers include AT&T, Deloitte and Nike.
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