The WNBA announced today that LA Sparks guard Brittney Sykes earned All-Defensive First Team honors. Members of the All-Defensive Team were selected by a 49-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. This is Sykes’ second All-Defensive Team honor. Last season, Sykes earned Second Team honors.
Sykes also received six first-place votes for Defensive Player of the Year, finishing second in the ballot for that award. Recently, basketball analytics site Pivot Analysis endorsed Sykes as the WNBA’s most impactful defender in 2021. According to their metrics, Sykes posted the best statistical defensive season for a guard in the past five seasons. She also finished second in the WNBA in estimated contribution, per Positive Residual, and finished Top 10 in the WNBA in defensive win shares, per Basketball Reference.
Sykes led the WNBA in total steals (58) and was tied for first in steals per game (1.8). She anchored a Sparks defense that finished third in the WNBA in defensive rating and allowed just 77.1 opponent points per game, the second-best mark in the league.
Sykes had several highlight-reel steals and blocks throughout the season, including her game-saving block of Sabrina Ionescu to preserve an 86-83 victory for LA on Aug. 22 at Barclays Center. The play made ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 plays.
The Syracuse graduate joins Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones, Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner and Sun guard Briann January on the First Team. The Second Team consists of guards Jasmine Thomas (Sun) and Ariel Atkins (Washington Mystics), forwards Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm) and Brionna Jones (Sun), and center Brittney Griner of Phoenix.
via: Sparks PR