MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The WNBA announced today that Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles is the recipient of the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Samsung. Fowles received 19 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. This is Fowles’ third Defensive Player of the Year honor, joining Tamika Catchings (five) and Sheryl Swoopes (three) as the only players to win the award at least three times.
Fowles, the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in Lynx history, wrapped up her ninth WNBA season, second with Minnesota, by starting all 34 games for the first time since 2011, averaging 13.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.79 blocks and 1.32 steals in 28.5 mpg. Behind Fowles, the Lynx led the WNBA in defensive rating (96.4) and ranked second in opponent field goal percentage (41.7) and points allowed (77.0 ppg). Fowles completed the season ranked fourth in rebounding, fourth in blocks and 11th in steals, finishing as the league’s only player to finish in the top 12 in all three categories. Fowles shot 59.5% from the field, the second-best percentage in franchise history and fourth-highest in the WNBA this season, and hit 71.7% from the line.
The 6-6 center posted eight double-doubles in 2016, raising her career total to 107, including two 20-point/10-rebound games (40 career). Fowles became the sixth player in Lynx history to score 30+ points in a game when she registered a season-high 30 points Sept. 17 vs. Atlanta, marking her seventh career 30+ point game. She tallied 15.9 points, on 64.0% shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 2.08 blocks and 1.83 steals over the last 12 games of the season, in which Minnesota went 10-2.
Originally drafted second overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky, Fowles has averaged 15.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 238 career regular season games (229 starts). She was named a WNBA All-Star in 2009, 2011 and 2013, and is now a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the year (2011, 2013, 2016). Fowles is a two-time All-WNBA First Team selection (2010, 2013), as well as a four-time All-WNBA Defensive First Team selection (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
In honor of being named the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung, Fowles will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.