Lynx center Sylvia Fowles is a leading candidate for the WNBA player of the year award. But first things first: Fowles was named to the first-team WNBA All-Defensive team on Tuesday, further evidence of the career-best season the center is enjoying.
Fowles was the engine that powered much of the Lynx’s offense this season with 18.9 points a game. However, her shot-altering, ball-hogging presence in the paint is what helped separate the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year.
She averaged a franchise-record 10.4 rebounds a game and picked up career-bests with 1.97 blocks and 1.29 steals a game. She finished the regular season ranked second in the league in blocks and 12th in steals.
Sparks guard Alana Beard was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Cheryl Reeve said earlier this month that Fowles could have contended for that title, as well.
Along with Beard and Fowles, the first team is made up of Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, Sun guard Jasmine Thomas and Liberty forward Tina Charles.
Fowles, who became the seventh player in league history to reach the 500-block milestone this season, is a first-team selection for the seventh time in her career.
Her Lynx teammates Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson were second-team selections. They are joined by Mercury center Brittney Griner, Sun forward Alyssa Thomas and Fever guard Briann January.
Brunson is on the second team for the fifth time, while Moore, who was second in the WNBA in steals with 1.88 per game, has her second appearance.