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Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx has done something that only one other WNBA player in history has ever done: win four Defensive Player of the Year awards.
The WNBA announced on Sunday that Fowles had won the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year award, making her just the second woman to win at least four Defensive Player of the Year award. The only other player? Tamika Catchings, who won it five times. Fowles also won the award in 2011, 2013, and 2016.
2011. 2013. 2016. AND 2021 🏆
In her 14th #WNBA season, @SylviaFowles is named the 2021 @KIA Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time in her career. Congratulations, Sylvia! 👏#CountIt pic.twitter.com/7Pgxmj6KpF
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 26, 2021
As far as voting, Fowles ran away with it. Out of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters, Fowles got 31 votes. Brittney Sykes of the Los Angeles Sparks came in second with six votes. Tied for third with four votes each is the Connecticut Sun's Jonquel Jones and the Phoenix Mercury's Brianna Turner.
Fowles put up great numbers in her 14th WNBA season, singling herself out as one of the absolute best defensive players in the league before a single vote was even cast. In the 2021, season, she was the only player to average at least 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. She finished second in the league in both steals (1.81) and blocked shots (1.81) and finished third in defensive rebounds (8.0).
There's more to Fowles' game than just defense — she's a threat at both ends of the court. In 31 games this season, she averaged 16 points and 10.1 rebounds and shot a WNBA-best 64 percent from the field. She also ranked second in the WNBA in rebounding and averaged double figures in rebounding for a league-record seventh time.
Fowles will continue to help her team on the court in the playoffs. The Lynx finished the season with the WNBA's third-best record (22-10) and will get to rest up with a well-earned first-round bye.