The Lynx are just starting their quest to repeat as WNBA champions, but two of their own--coach Cheryl Reeve and center Sylvia Fowles--earned two of the league’s biggest honors Friday.
Reeve was named WNBA coach of the year for the second time, and Fowles was voted defensive player of the year for the third time. Reeve, in her seventh season, collected 17 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. Los Angeles coach Brian Agler received 12 votes.
Fowles captured 19 votes, well ahead of Seattle rookie Breanna Stewart, who received eight.
Under Reeve’s guidance, the Lynx continued their reign among the WNBA’s elite, finishing with the league’s best regular-season record for the fourth time in her tenure. The team went 28-6, setting franchise records for most victories and best winning percentage (.824). The Lynx have won at least 22 games and qualified for the playoffs for six consecutive seasons.
“I’m honored,’’ said Reeve, who also was voted WNBA coach of the year in 2011. “This season has been incredibly rewarding on so many levels. I’m thankful for the recognition this award brings to our staff, who I am indebted to for their countless hours of preparation.’’
The Lynx started the season 13-0, setting a WNBA record for most victories at the start of a season. Wednesday, they beat Phoenix 113-95 in Game 1 of the league semifinals, raising Reeve’s playoff record to 30-10. Her .750 postseason win percentage is the best in WNBA history.
The 6-6 Fowles ranked fourth in the WNBA in rebounding (8.5 per game), fourth in blocked shots (1.8 per game) and 11th in steals (1.3 per game). She anchored the league’s top-rated defense in the regular season, one that ranked second in points allowed per game (77) and opponents’ field-goal percentage (41.7).
Fowles also was the Lynx’s second-leading scorer in the regular season with 13.9 points per game and shot 59.5 percent, the fourth-best mark in the league. Throughout the season, she has given credit to her teammates for helping her continue to improve. Though she gets much of the praise, Fowles is quick to note the Lynx defense has been a collective effort.
“This has been an amazing year, not just for me, but for my team as well,’’ said Fowles, in her ninth WNBA season. “They push me every day to be great, and for that, I’m grateful.’’