Mercury’s Brondello, Griner earn WNBA awards

Sandy Brondello guided the Phoenix Mercury to the best record in WNBA history and Brittney Griner’s defense was a big reason why.

Both were honored by the league Friday, with Brondello winning coach of the year and Griner earning the defensive player of the year award. The Mercury finished the regular season 29-5 before heading into the playoffs.

“Defensive player of the year is MVP in my book,” Griner said. “Defense is my favorite part of the game and what I want to be known for.”

The second-year star broke the league’s single-season shot block record with 129, including 11 in one game against Tulsa on June 29. Griner was most proud that many of her blocks led to points on the other end for her team.

Griner, who averaged 15.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocks this season, received 31 of the 38 votes by a national media panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Atlanta’s Sancho Lyttle was second with four votes. Lyttle’s teammate Angel McCoughtry, Chicago’s Jessica Breland and Minnesota’s Maya Moore each received one vote.

Brondello also won in a landslide, garnering 33 of the 38 votes. Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve and Washington’s Mike Thibault each received two votes, while Atlanta’s Michael Cooper got one.

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