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Mercury's Griner honored as top defensive player

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was named the WNBA's top defensive player on Friday.

Griner was a runaway winner, earning 31 of the 38 votes from a nationwide media panel. Atlanta's Sancho Lyttle received four votes, while Chicago's Jessica Breland, Minnesota's Maya Moore and Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry each picked up one.

In 34 games for the Mercury this season, Griner led the league in blocks with 129 and was ninth in rebounding average at 8.0 per game. She shattered the league record for blocks, which had been 114 set in 1998 by Margo Dydek, and posted a single-game record 11 blocked shots in a June 29 game against Tulsa.

Griner, in her second season out of Baylor, helped the Mercury to the WNBA's best record at 29-5. Phoenix set a league record for wins in a season and had the second-longest winning streak in WNBA history with a 16-game run.

A two-time All-Star, Griner averaged 15.6 points and ranked second in the league with a 57.8 field goal percentage. She was fifth in the MVP voting and became the first Phoenix player to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

08/22 10:30:22 ET