The WNBA announced that Lynx center Nicky Anosike has been named to the 2009 WNBA All-Defensive First Team. Joining Anosike on the All-Defensive First Team were Indiana's Tamika Catchings and Tully Bevilaqua, and Seattle's Lauren Jackson and Tanisha Wright. A panel of the WNBA's 13 head coaches voted on the WNBA All-Defensive Team, selecting First and Second Teams by position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players from their own team. Players earned two points for each First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote. Anosike received the second-most votes among all players, totaling 13 votes.
A 2009 Western Conference All-Star, Anosike completed her second season in Minnesota in 2009, leading the team in all five major counting categories -- scoring (13.2 ppg), rebounding (7.4 rpg), assists (2.7 apg), steals (2.7 spg) and blocked shots (0.9 bpg) -- while logging 29.9 mpg. In doing so, the six-foot-three center became just the second player in WNBA history to accomplish that feat - Indiana's Tamika Catchings being the other. In 30 games (Anosike missed the last four games of the 2009 season due to a lateral meniscal tear in her left knee), including 29 starts, Anosike set franchise bests in 2009 with averages of 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Her 2.7 spg in 2009 was the highest average by a center in WNBA history, eclipsing Yolanda Griffith's 2.59 spg in 2000. She also became the fifth-fastest player in league history to reach 100 steals by crossing that mark June 23 vs. New York (the 42nd game of her career).
"I'm truly honored to have been recognized by the coaches around the league for my defensive play," said Anosike. "I've worked really hard to get to this level, but it's a team game and without them this honor wouldn't have been possible. I owe a lot of credit to my coaching staff for this. They've all put in a lot of hours with me and this year that paid off. We have a great young team and I'm looking forward to coming back 100 percent and helping this team reach our goal of the playoffs in 2010."
Originally drafted by the Lynx with the 16th pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, Anosike, an All-Rookie Team selection in 2008, ranked 2nd in the WNBA in steals, 7th in rebounds, 10th in field-goal accuracy (49.1%), 12th in blocks, 18th in scoring and 23rd in assists (3rd among post players) while shooting .696 percent from the free-throw line. Additionally, Anosike posted seven double-doubles on the season, boosting her career total to 12 and breaking franchise records in both categories.
In 2009, the Staten Island, N.Y. native set or tied franchise single-game marks in rebounds (16, August 13 vs. Indiana) and steals (7, June 30 at Atlanta). Anosike also blocked a career-high five shots June 10 vs. Los Angeles. In that game, she finished one steal shy of posting the second "5x5" effort in WNBA history (Candace Parker vs. Indiana, May 29, 2008).
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