Brittney Griner Named Defensive Player of the Year
It’s official – Brittney Griner could be having the best week ever. Just days after getting engaged to fellow WNBA All-Star Glory Johnson, Griner was named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, according to ESPN. Her Phoenix Mercury Coach, Sandy Brondello, was also honored as the 2014 Coach of the Year, after the Mercury logged the best record in WNBA history.
In just her second year, Griner ended the season with a pair of impressive league records. She set the single-season block record at 127 and put up 11 blocks against the Tulsa Shock (her fiancée’s team) on June 29, the most blocks ever earned in a single-game by a WNBA player, reports AZCentral. After learning the news of the honor on Friday, Griner says she had her eye on the prize.
"I was shooting for it, honestly," Griner said. "Defensive Player [of the Year] award, that's like the MVP to me, so I'm happy." The 2014 MVP Award went to Lynx forward Maya Moore.
The 6-foot-8 center also gave credit to her award-winning head coach. "She pays amazing attention to detail,” Griner said of Brondello. "She knows every play the other team's going to run. It's amazing being able to go into a game that prepared to play our game. She's definitely been the key to our success."
The Mercury host the Sparks Friday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. The Mercury did not lose a single meeting with Los Angeles in the 2014 regular season.
Griner was also named an emerging voice in the annual Advocate's 40 Under 40 earlier this month.