MUNICH (Germany) – The voting for the EuroLeague Women Awards will see a number of top players recognized, but only one will be honored for the work on the defensive end.
Here are the 10 candidates to choose from in the fan voting for the Defensive Player of the Year honors why you might want to give them a thumbs up.
Jasmine Thomas – Fenerbahce
1.71m / 1989
Statistics: 8.0 PPG; 2.8 APG; 1.7 SPG ; 26.9 MPG
While attention has understandably centered around her offensively dominant teammates such as Alina Iagupova and Kayla McBride, the minutes handed to Thomas by Coach Lapena tell you everything about her value. She’s the rock-solid defensive base that allows others to go and do their thing down the other end of the floor.
Alysha Clark – LDLC ASVEL Feminin
1.81m / 1987
Statistics: 13.8 PPG; 51% FG; 5.0 RPG; 28.5 MPG
The experience, vibrancy, smarts and leadership of Clark are always at the surface whenever she is on the court and that helps Lyon tick in every facet of the game. That is also hugely important defensively and when the small forward was absent with injury, the French club looked like a major piece of the jigsaw was missing.
Jonquel Jones – UMMC Ekaterinburg
1.98m / 1994
Statistics: 13.3 PPG; 64% FG; 7.8 RPG; 20.1 MPG
It’s true that Jones was phenomenal offensively in terms of her shooting, but that should not deflect from the fact that she is also a power at the defensive end. Her size, physical strength and work on the glass means that she is a great match-up option for opposing anchors in the paint.
Gabby Williams – Sopron Basket
1.80m / 1996
Statistics: 16.8 PPG; 4.3 RPG; 3.0 APG; 2.3 SPG ; 31.7 MPG
With Sopron Basket having only tasted defeat once so far, it’s been an outstansing season for the Final Four bound Hungarians. A major driving force has been Williams who has scored, handed out assists, went to work on the board and has harvested a super 2.3 steals per game – the second-best haul in the competition.
Sarah Michel – Bourges Basket
1.80m / 1989
Statistics: 7.8 PPG; 4.2 RPG; 4.0 APG; 2.3 SPG ; 24.3 MPG
The guard is sitting proudly at the top of the steals chart this season with 2.3 per outing and that is evidence of how important and talented she is defensively. Her reading of the game and quick hands are always impressive and while she is predominantly backcourt and wings, she was still one of the leading rebounders for her team.
Tiffany Hayes – Perfumerias Avenida
1.78m / 1989
Statistics: 15.8 PPG; 4.0 RPG; 2.1 APG; 1.4 SPG ; 24.9 MPG
You could forgive anyone for overlooking the defensive work of Hayes because of her shooting ability and killer crossovers at the other end of the court. However, her Avenida colleagues and playcaller Roberto Iniguez rely on her to get it done defensively too and she has successfully set the tone for an amazing unbeaten campaign so far.
Brionna Jones – ZVVZ USK Praha
1.90m / 1995
Statistics: 17.7PPG; 9.0 RPG; 1.7 SPG ; 1.5 BPG; 31.7 MPG
A towering and imposing presence for ZVVZ USK Praha, the value of Jones is seen all over the floor and especially when doing her work defensively. A colossus on the boards and always looking to block a shot, she also has impressive hands and no center has as many steals in the competition.
Clarissa Dos Santos – Izmit Belediyespor
1.86m / 1988
Statistics: 16.3 PPG; 54% FG; 12.3 RPG; 2.0 SPG ; 30.3 MPG
While it was something of a disastrous rookie campaign for the Turkish club, Dos Santos was outstanding individually throughout. The Brazilian forward posted a spectacular double-double season and leads the competition in rebounds. Not only that, but she is the frontcourt player with the second most steals to her name.
Kiah Stokes – Fenerbahce Oznur Kablo
1.90m / 1993
Statistics: 6.4 PPG; 9.4 RPG; 1.6 BPG; 28.8 MPG
Another Fenerbahce Oznuer Kablo player who is rarely featured in the headlines – if at all. The hard work of Stokes is always apparent if you look closely at the way the Istanbul giants operate. She is immense on the glass and her importance can be measured by the fact that only Alina Iagupova and Kayla McBride play more minutes.
Steph Mavunga – Dynamo Kursk
1.91m / 1995
Statistics: 7.3 PPG; 8.8 RPG; 1.5 SPG; 1.7 BPG ; 20.5 MPG
While it was a roller-coaster campaign for Dynamo Kursk, one of the consistencies they did find was the defensive value of Mavunga. The combination of her mobility and strength make her a big defensive asset and she was always ready to go to work on the boards.
Click here to vote for the EuroLeague Women Awards.
Seen at: FIBA Euroleague