NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2016 – Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, the 2016 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung, leads the 2016 WNBA All-Defensive Team, the WNBA announced today. This marks the fifth All-Defensive First Team appearance for Fowles, who this season became the third player to be named Defensive Player of the Year at least three times, joining Tamika Catchings (five) and Sheryl Swoopes (three).
Fowles received four First Team votes and five Second Team votes (35 points) from a panel of the WNBA’s 12 head coaches, who selected First and Second Teams by position. Coaches 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.
Joining Fowles on the WNBA All-Defensive First Team are guard Alana Beard (55 points) and forward Nneka Ogwumike (37 points) of the Los Angeles Sparks, Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry (37 points) and Indiana Fever guard Briann January (34 points).
The WNBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (34 points), Indiana forward Tamika Catchings (33 points), Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (25 points), New York Liberty guard Tanisha Wright (21 points) and Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas (15 points).
Fowles ranked fifth in the league in defensive rebounds with an average of 6.1 per game. She also placed fourth in the WNBA in blocks (1.8 bpg) and contributed 1.3 steals. The three-time All-Star selection anchored a Minnesota defense that led the WNBA in defensive rating (96.4) and finished second in points allowed (77.0 ppg) and opponents’ field goal percentage (41.7).
Beard received 11 First Team votes, making her the only unanimous pick on the All-Defensive Team. This is her second career First Team nod to go with four Second Team selections. Beard ranked second in the league in steals (1.7 spg) this season for Los Angeles.
Ogwumike, the 2016 WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Samsung, makes her second straight appearance on the All-Defensive First Team. The three-time All-Star ranked third in the league in defensive rebounds with 6.7 per game, including a career-high-tying 14 in a 77-67 win over the Liberty on July 3. She also blocked a career-high five shots in an 84-75 victory against the Dream on June 30. Behind Beard and Ogwumike, the Sparks limited opponents to a league-low 75.9 points per game.
For McCoughtry, the All-Defensive appearance is her seventh overall and sixth to the First Team. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm tied for fourth in the league in steals (1.58 spg) and averaged a career-high 4.5 defensive rebounds.
January, a five-time All-Defensive Team honoree, was previously named to the First Team in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and to the Second Team in 2013. The eight-year pro contributed 1.2 steals per game and recorded a career-high six steals in the Fever’s 78-60 win over the Mercury on July 8.
The WNBA All-Defensive Second Team features Griner, a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year winner. The three-time All-Star led the WNBA in blocks (3.1 bpg) and tied for eighth in defensive rebounds (5.1 drpg).
Catchings, who recently completed her final WNBA season, added another honor to her 15-year playing career that includes a record five WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. This is the second All-Defensive Second Team nod for Catchings, who also has been a First Team selection 10 times. Catchings, the WNBA’s all-time steals leader, ranked first in the league in steals (1.8 spg) this season.
Stewart, the 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year presented by Samsung, grabbed a WNBA-record 277 defensive rebounds, surpassing Lisa Leslie’s previous mark of 276 in 2004. In addition, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm was third in the WNBA in blocks (1.9 bpg).
Wright, a five-time All-Defensive First Team selection, was named to the Second Team for the second time. The Liberty guard (26 steals) registered her 10th consecutive season with 25 or more steals.
Thomas made the All-Defensive Team for the first time in her six-year career, averaging a career-high 3.4 defensive rebounds and matching a career high with 1.2 steals for the Sun. On June 19, Thomas had a career-high eight defensive rebounds in a 93-90 win over the San Antonio Stars.