AP Source: Phoenix’s Griner WNBA defensive player of year

Brittney Griner is the WNBA defensive player of the year for the second straight season, said two people close to the situation.

The Mercury center will receive her award Thursday night before Phoenix’s playoff opener against Tulsa in the Western Conference semifinals, one person said. Both people spoke to The Associated Press Thursday morning on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has been made.

The 6-foot-8 center became the first player in league history to average at least four blocks a game with 105 in just 26 contests. She was suspended for the first seven games of the season following a domestic violence arrest.

She is the fifth player to win the award in multiple seasons. Tamika Catchings won it five times and Sheryl Swoopes three. Teresa Weatherspoon and Sylvia Fowles have won it twice.

Chicago’s Allie Quigley also is a repeat winner, as the WNBA has announced she is the league’s sixth woman of the year for the second consecutive season. She received 24 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. Quigley averaged 11.1 points in just 22.5 minutes a game.

Quigley is only the second player to win the award in back-to-back seasons joining Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner, who was honored three straight years from 2009-11. Chicago’s guard will receive the award Thursday night before the Sky open up the Eastern Conference playoffs against Indiana.

New York rookie Kiah Stokes finished second with 11 votes.

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