Brittney Griner Engaged, Wins Defensive Player of the Year Award

Brittney Griner Engaged, Wins Defensive Player of the Year Award

- in Top News, Sports
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Juan Ocampo/NBAE/Getty Images
Juan Ocampo/NBAE/Getty Images

Brittney Griner has fallen in love with someone on the other team. The other basketball team, that is.

The Phoenix Mercury player proposed to her girlfriend of a few months, Tulsa Shock’s Glory Johnson.

“Last Night was a Night to Remember. I became the happiest person on this earth!” Griner, 23, captioned a picture her down on one knee via Instagram. “(Almost pass[ed] out but when that one word came out I came back to life) Me and my baby @missvol25 are in it for Life!”

The 6-foot-8-inch 23-year-old was also named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year this week.

With 31 votes out of 38 from a national panel of sports writers and broadcasters, Griner was happy.

“I was shooting for it, honestly,” she said. “It’s the only award [I wanted], because that’s my favorite part of my game. Defensive Player [of the Year] award, that’s like the MVP to me, so I’m happy.”

For Griner, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2013, this is the first Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung honor of her career.

The Houston native and Baylor University product shattered the WNBA single-season mark for blocked shots while helping guide the Mercury to a league-best 29-5 record and the Western Conference’s No.1 seed for the playoffs.  In the process, she helped Phoenix win 16 straight games, marking the second-longest streak in WNBA history.

Griner played in all 34 games for the Mercury and paced the league in blocks per game (3.79).  With 129 total blocks, Griner surpassed the previous single-season mark of 114, set by Margo Dydek in 1998.  Griner blocked more shotsindividually this season than eight other WNBA teams combined.  She also posted a WNBA single-game record with 11 blocked shots on June 29 at Tulsa, topping the previous mark of 10, set by Dydek and Lisa Leslie.

The two-time All-Star selection finished the season ranked second in the WNBA in field goal percentage (.578, 219-of-379), 10th in scoring (15.6 ppg), eighth in defensive rebounds (6.1 drpg), and ninth in rebounds (8.0 rpg).

During the Mercury’s 16-game winning streak, Griner was named Western Conference Player of the Week presented by Samsung on June 23, following a pair of spectacular performances.  For the week, she ranked second in the West in scoring (27.5 ppg) and tied for second in rebounding (11.0 rpg).  She also paced the West in field goal percentage (.767, 23-of-30) and blocks (4.0 bpg), while sharing the lead in free throw accuracy (1.000, hitting all nine shots from the charity stripe). She opened the week with a huge effort in a 92-79 win over visiting Minnesota on June 18, pouring in a then career-high 27 points and matching her career high of 18 rebounds. Two days later, Griner reached a new personal best in scoring with 28 points and added six blocks in a 91-80 victory over Tulsa.

In honor of being named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung, Griner will receive $5,000 and a specially-designed trophy.

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