The WNBA announced that Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was voted as the 2017 WNBA Most Valuable Player. Fowles received 35 votes from a national panel of 40 sportswriters and broadcasters. Her previous highest finish in MVP voting was third in 2011.
“Since Sylvia arrived in Minnesota in 2015, one of her main goals was to grow her game to become a better player in this league,” said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. “Her play this season shows the tireless work Sylvia put in that has culminated in her winning this award. We are all proud of the player she has become and know that her strong play will continue throughout the postseason.”
Fowles, the second WNBA Most Valuable Player in Lynx history (Maya Moore 2014), wrapped up her 10th WNBA season, third with Minnesota, by starting all 34 games, averaging a double-double for the fifth time in her career, collecting 18.9 ppg and a club-record 10.4 rpg while adding a career-best 1.5 apg, 1.29 spg and 1.97 bpg in 30.8 mpg. She shot a career-high 65.5%, the fourth-best FG percentage in league history and second-highest by a Lynx player behind Tamika Williams’ WNBA-record 66.8% in 2003. Fowles finished the season leading the league in FG accuracy while ranking fifth in scoring, second in rebounding, second in blocks and 12th in steals.
The 6-6 center posted a league-best 12 20/10 efforts in 2017, raising her career total to 52, including 19 double-doubles. Fowles was named Western Conference Player of the Month three times (May, June, July) and earned Player of the Week honors on five occasions.
“I’m so thrilled that Sylvia was named the 2017 WNBA MVP,” said Head Coach Cheryl Reeve. “She is a special individual who achieved special things on the basketball court this season. It is so fulfilling as a coach to be around a player who is incredibly unselfish and driven to improve for the good of her team. I am proud of the way Syl met the many challenges thrown at her throughout the 2017 season.”
Highlights from Fowles’ 2017 season include pulling down her 2500th career rebound in an 81-72 victory over Atlanta on August 8 as she finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds. She scored the 4000th point of her WNBA career in an 81-66 win against Phoenix on July 16. Fowles totaled 21 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and five blocks vs. Washington on June 23, her second 20+ pts/10+ reb/5+ blk game this year (sixth career) and the third in Lynx history. She registered 21 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in the May 23 victory vs. Connecticut.
Originally drafted second overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky, Fowles has averaged 15.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 272 career regular season games (263 starts). She was named a WNBA All-Star in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017 as well as bring named a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the year (2011, 2013, 2016). Fowles is a three-time All-WNBA First Team selection (2010, 2013, 2017), as well as a five-time All-WNBA Defensive First Team selection (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2017).