Phoenix Mercury All-Star Brittney Griner has been named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, becoming just the fifth player in league history to win the accolade more than once, the team announced:
The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com) reported the news Thursday, indicating Griner will receive the award prior to tipoff of the evening's Western Conference semifinals showdown against the Tulsa Shock.
It comes as little surprise Griner won the award for the second year in a row considering she averaged four blocks per contest in the regular season. Also worth noting is that she played 30.7 minutes on average to reach that staggering swat total (h/t Basketball-Reference.com), which is unprecedented in WNBA history.
Mercury communications manager John H. Steinmiller highlighted how Griner has had an impact that transcends the defensive end of the court:
The former No. 1 overall draft pick out of Baylor has been the most intriguing women's basketball talent to come along in recent memory. Having already guided Phoenix to a championship last year, Griner is living up to the hype and seems to be only scratching the surface of what she can do.
Health permitting, it stands to reason the 24-year-old will remain a prohibitive favorite to be named the WNBA's top defender for years to come. As long as Phoenix deploys Griner at center and she continues to develop, the team will be a perennial contender for the WNBA title.