Sparks guard Brittany Sykes was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive first team and finished second in the race for Defensive Player of the Year, with six first-place votes from a 49-member panel of players and broadcasters, the league won. announced on Sunday.
Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was named the league’s top defender after finishing second in rebounds, steals, and blocks per game – something no other player in WNBA history has in a single season.
He is joined in the first team by Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones, Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner and Sun guard Brian Jan.
Sykes made no secret about his goal of winning the “DPOY” this season after being named to the All-Defensive Second Team in 2020.
“I went for DPOY and came up ‘short,'” said the 5-foot-9 Sykes via a statement shared by Sparks’ public relations team. “Blessed to humbly earn the first team. I applaud my coaches, my team and my opponents for making me better this year! 2022 is the year a guard will grab the DPOY.”
Sparks assistant coach Latricia Trammell — the team’s defensive coordinator — congratulated Sykes, who led the WNBA in steals (58) and finished first in steals per game (1.8).
“I’m so proud of @BrittBundlez,” Trammell tweeted. “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind to something. From second team to first team and 6 first-place votes for DPOY! We’re already talking about expectations for next season.” We are just getting started.”
Sykes – or “Slim”, as she is known around the league – led the Sparks defense that finished third in the WNBA in defensive ratings and allowed the second-lowest number of points per game (77.1).
The fifth-year player also ranked in the top 10 in the league in defensive win shares per basketball context, and had several highlight-reel steals and blocks, including a game-saving disapproval of Sabrina Ionescu who played 86–83 on August 22. victory was preserved. And made the cut as one of ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays.
The league’s all-defensive second team: guards Jasmine Thomas (Sun) and Ariel Atkins (Washington Mystics), forwards Brenna Stewart (Seattle Storm) and Briana Jones (Sun), and Phoenix center Brittany Griner.
Sabrina Ionescu. Brittany Sykes with the block (and staring down) on winning the game
— dime (@DimeUPROXX) August 22, 2021
Brittany Sykes reaction, via @LASparks: “I went for DPOY and came up ‘short’. … humbly blessed to have earned the first team. I applaud my coaches, my team and my opponents for making me better this year! 2022 is that year When a guard will catch DPOY – Slim” https://t.co/bY1czg08sh
— Mirzam Swanson (@Mirjam Swanson) September 26, 2021
i’m so proud @britbundlease
It’s amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind to something. 2nd team to 1st team and 6 first place votes for DPOY! We are already talking about expectations for the next season. We are only getting started. I appreciate and love you#skinny pic.twitter.com/nkore6zLhG
— Coach Trammell (@TrammellCoach) September 26, 2021