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Sylvia Fowles named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year

Sylvia Fowles
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year on Sunday, becoming the first player announced among this season’s award recipients.

Fowles was the runaway winner of the award receiving 31 of the 49 total votes with the closest competitor being Brittney Sykes of the Los Angeles Sparks receiving six votes.

This is the fourth Defensive Player of the Year award in the 14-year career of Fowles the second most of any player in WNBA history (Tamika Catchings, 5). She is now the oldest winner of the award, winning it 10 days shy of her 36th birthday.

In 31 games, Fowles became the first person to ever finish a season second in rebounds (10.1), steals (1.8) and blocks (1.8) leading the Lynx to the third-best record in the league at 22-10 clinching a first-round bye in the playoffs.

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She had nine games this season in which she recorded at least two steals and two blocks recording a double-double in five of those games.

Notable games included a June 25 matchup against the Las Vegas Aces where she finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four steals and four blocks. There was also her August 24 performance against the Seattle Storm in which she recorded 29 points, 20 rebounds, four steals and three blocks.

In addition, Fowles was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team alongside Sykes, Brianna Turner of the Phoenix Mercury, Jonquel Jones and Briann January of the Connecticut Sun.

Meanwhile, the All-Defensive Second Team features Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm, Ariel Atkins of the Washington Mystics, Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury, Brianna Jones and Jasmine Thomas of the Connecticut Sun.

Fowles and the Lynx will tip off their playoff run Sunday night when they play the Chicago Sky in an elimination game matchup. The winner advances to the best of semifinals.