MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve is the WNBA coach of the year and Lynx center Sylvia Fowles is the league’s defensive player of the year.
The awards were announced Friday.
Reeve also won the coaching honor in 2011. She drew 17 votes from the national media panel after leading Minnesota to the best record in the WNBA. Los Angeles Sparks coach Brian Agler was second with 12 votes.
“When you’re around our team, the energy on this team is unbelievable,” said Reeves, whose team is playing for its fourth league championship in six years. “I think it’s because they all share in it, they all have ownership, they all have a piece of it. They all feel really important. I think that’s been a big part of it.”
Fowles has won the defensive player of the year three times. She joins Tamika Catchings (five) and Sheryl Swoopes (three) as the only players to win the award at least three times. The Lynx’s 6-foot-6 center received 19 of the 39 votes. Seattle’s Breanna Stewart was second with eight.
Fowles was the WNBA Finals MVP last season, her first with the Lynx after a seven-year stint in Chicago. She credited Reeve and her teammates with focusing her defensive effort.
“I know I was more of a roamer in Chicago. Once I got here all that changed. That was something I had to get used to, guarding my man and my man only,” Fowles said. “If it comes in the paint, I might have a chance to get it, but if not, don’t worry about it. That was one of the biggest differences from when I came here to Minnesota.”