The Minnesota Lynx are 6-0 on the season despite shooting 43 percent from the field as a team. Despite perennial MVP candidate Maya Moore shooting an incredible 31.5 percent. Despite Lindsay Whalen averaging a career low 6.2 points per game.
They are 6-0 largely because center Sylvia Fowles is kicking the league’s ass. The WNBA recognized that month of ass-kicking by naming Fowles the Western Conference player of the month for May.
Fowles has been absolutely dominating at both ends of the court. She is averaging 20 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, all of which place her in the top four in the league in those respective categories. Oh yeah, she’s grabbing two steals per game also. Just cause.
Fowles has always been a dominant defensive force, and in fact won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season, deservedly so. It was the third time she won the award. She commands the paint on defense, blocking shots and making finishes around the rim incredibly difficult for opponents. She is spearheading a terrific defense again this season, one that has allowed opponents to shoot only 41.6 percent on two-point attempts. The Lynx absolutely dominate the paint, in large part because of her presence underneath.
She is 6’6”, agile, strong, and forceful around the basket. She makes it so tough for players to get clean looks in the paint, and that has been a huge factor in the Lynx’ success this season. But it’s on offense that she has really made major strides this year.
Coach Cheryl Reeve made getting Fowles involved in the game offensively a major goal for the season, and so far its worked. She’s posting her highest career usage percentage (25.9) and her best offensive rating (126.) It helps that she’s dominating the offensive glass (17.5 percent,) but the Lynx are making it a point to get her the ball in both post-up situations and as the roller on the pick and roll. She’s dominated.
She’s shooting 61 percent from the field, getting to line nearly seven times a game in 29 minutes per, and shooting a career best 78 percent from the stripe. She is so good because she establishes fantastic, deep post position using her strength and agility to pin defenders and render them helpless. Notably, she’s been a lot more patient after the catch this season, getting balanced and making a decisive move, usually to either a half-hook or a step through that her size makes impossible to defend effectively.
Through the month of May, Sylvia Fowles has been the best player in the WNBA.
Reeve thinks she might be the best center in WNBA history.
“As far as a dominant center, I don’t know if there is anybody that has been better than Sylvia in terms of her career. The sheer strength and force that she plays with around the rim.
“I think she is the best center that our league has seen through its 20-plus years.”
Fowles and the Lynx get their toughest test so far tomorrow night when the are in Seattle to face the 4-1 Storm. Both she and the team will look to begin June the same way they ended May. Dominating. Winning.