NEW YORK -- Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles was selected the WNBA's defensive player of the year for the first time on Thursday.
Fowles received 19 of 40 votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. She edged Indiana's four-time defensive player of the year Tamika Catchings (18). Connecticut's Tina Charles and Fowles' Sky teammate Epiphanny Prince received the remaining votes.
Fowles was second in the league in rebounding at 10.2 per game, including a league-best 7.3 defensive boards. She was also tops with 2.0 blocks per game.
The former LSU star finished third in scoring (22.0), becoming the second player in WNBA history to average 20 points and 10 rebounds in a season -- joining Chamique Holdsclaw, who had 20.5 and 10.9, respectively, for Washington in 2003.
Catchings -- who was selected as the MVP this year and was picked the top defensive player in 2005, '06, '09, '10 -- and Fowles also headlined the league's all-defensive team in balloting among the league's 12 coaches.
They were joined as first-teams selections by Seattle's Tanisha Wright, Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry and Minnesota's Rebekkah Brunson.
Catchings, picked for the seventh straight year, received 55 points and was the only player to get 11 first-team votes -- coaches are not allowed to vote for players on their own teams. Fowles received 48 points and nine first-team votes, followed by Wright (35, seven), McCoughtry (28, five) and Brunson (23, four).