NEW YORK – 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 list of past recipients.
About the WNBA
Currently in its 25th season in 2021, 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, equity 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 (WNBPA) 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 platform, WNBA Changemakers, with AT&T, the WNBA’s Marquee Partner and inaugural Changemaker, as well as fellow inaugural Changemakers Deloitte and Nike, and the recent addition of Google. During the 2020 season, the WNBA and WNBPA launched the WNBA Justice Movement forming the Social Justice Council with the mission of being a driving force of necessary change and continuing conversations about race and voting rights, among other important societal issues.
For more information, visit WNBA.com.
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia America continues to top automotive quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands. Kia serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 750 dealers in the U.S., including several cars and SUVs proudly assembled in America.
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