NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2020 – Los Angeles Sparks forward/center Candace Parker has been named the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced today.  This is the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Parker, who is in her 13th WNBA season.

Parker received 16 votes from a national panel of 47 sportswriters and broadcasters.  Seattle Storm forward Alysha Clark finished in second place with 11 votes and Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas finished in third place with 10 votes.  The other players to receive votes were Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner (four votes), Storm forward Breanna Stewart (three votes), Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier (two) and 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard of the Storm (one).

In the 2020 regular season, Parker averaged a WNBA-high 8.0 defensive rebounds, 1.23 blocked shots (eighth in the WNBA) and 1.18 steals in 22 games.  She was one of five players to average at least one block and one steal per game, joining Collier, Stewart, Turner and 2020 WNBA Most Valuable Player A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces.  Parker grabbed at least 10 defensive rebounds in a game nine times. 

Behind Parker, the Sparks ranked third in the WNBA in defensive rating, allowing 98.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.  The 6-4 Parker helped Los Angeles hold opponents to 31.3 points per game in the paint, the second fewest in the WNBA. 

Parker’s defensive prowess was part of a season in which she averaged 14.7 points, a WNBA-leading 9.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 51.0 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three-point range.  A two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, Parker finished in third place for the 2020 WNBA MVP Award.  With Parker excelling at both ends of the court, the Sparks posted the WNBA’s third-best record at 15-7.

In honor of being named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Parker will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.

Below are the voting results for the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and a list of past recipients.


Player                               Team                                          Votes

Candace Parker              Los Angeles Sparks                                          16

Alysha Clark                     Seattle Storm                                          11

Alyssa Thomas                 Connecticut Sun                                          10

Brianna Turner                 Phoenix Mercury                                          4                                         

Breanna Stewart               Seattle Storm                                          3

Napheesa Collier              Minnesota Lynx                                          2

Natasha Howard               Seattle Storm                                          1


Year                Player                                     Team

2020                Candace Parker                    Los Angeles Sparks

2019                Natasha Howard                     Seattle Storm

2018                Alana Beard                            Los Angeles Sparks

2017                Alana Beard                            Los Angeles Sparks

2016                Sylvia Fowles                         Minnesota Lynx

2015                Brittney Griner                       Phoenix Mercury

2014                Brittney Griner                       Phoenix Mercury

2013                Sylvia Fowles                         Chicago Sky

2012                Tamika Catchings                   Indiana Fever

2011                Sylvia Fowles                         Chicago Sky

2010                Tamika Catchings                   Indiana Fever

2009                Tamika Catchings                   Indiana Fever

2008                Lisa Leslie                              Los Angeles Sparks

2007                Lauren Jackson                       Seattle Storm

2006                Tamika Catchings                   Indiana Fever

2005                Tamika Catchings                   Indiana Fever

2004                Lisa Leslie                              Los Angeles Sparks

2003                Sheryl Swoopes                      Houston Comets

2002                Sheryl Swoopes                      Houston Comets

2001                Debbie Black                          Miami Sol

2000                Sheryl Swoopes                      Houston Comets

1999                Yolanda Griffith                     Sacramento Monarchs

1998                Teresa Weatherspoon             New York Liberty

1997                Teresa Weatherspoon             New York Liberty