After 10 years, one of the most universally beloved stars in league history gets her due. And with a win on Sunday, she’ll have her team back in the Promised Land.

NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2011 – Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings has been named the 2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player, the WNBA announced today.  Catchings received 292 points (21 first place votes) from a national panel of 40 sportswriters and broadcasters.

Tamika Catchings - 2011 WNBA MVP

Connecticut Sun center Tina Charles finished second with 209 points (six first-place votes) and Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles finished third with 148 points (six).  Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird finished fourth with 106 points (two) and Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen finished fifth with 104 points (four).

In her 10th season, all with the Fever, Catchings captured her first MVP Award after finishing among the top three in balloting five times and among the top five in eight different seasons. She was the runner-up in 2003, 2009 and 2010.

This season Catchings led the Fever to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, averaging 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals. The only member of the Fever to lead the team in points, rebounds and assists in the same game, Catchings did so three times. She recorded four double-doubles, and grabbed at least 10 rebounds six times during the 2011 campaign. She shot a career-high .883 from the free throw line and converted .438 of her field goal attempts, the second best percentage of her career.  Currently the league’s all-time career steals leader (775), Catchings, who has been voted WNBA Defensive Player of the Year a league-leading four times, was the top vote-getter in this year’s All-Star balloting for the third time in her career.

Throughout her career, the 6-1 forward out of the University of Tennessee has garnered numerous accolades including seven All-Star team selections, two Olympic gold medals and the 2002 WNBA Rookie of the Year Award. Additionally, she was honored as the first recipient of the WNBA’s Dawn Staley Leadership Award in 2008, which is presented to the player who best exemplifies the characteristics of a leader in the community and reflects Staley’s leadership, spirit, charitable efforts and love for the game.

On Aug. 13, in an 82-71 home win versus New York, Catchings tied her career-high of 32 points, making her the sixth player in WNBA history to reach the 5,000-point mark and the first with 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.  She is the only player to rank in the league’s all-time career top 10 in points (sixth), rebounds (sixth), assists (ninth), and steals (first).

Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.

In honor of being named the WNBA Most Valuable Player, Catchings will receive $15,000 and a specially-designed trophy.

Below are the complete results of the 2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player of the Year award votes and a list of past recipients:


Points                Player        Team
292                Tamika Catchings        Indiana Fever
209                Tina Charles        Connecticut Sun
148                Sylvia Fowles        Chicago Sky
106                Sue Bird        Seattle Storm
104                Lindsay Whalen        Minnesota Lynx
70                Angel McCoughtry        Atlanta Dream
65                Diana Taurasi        Phoenix Mercury
33                Seimone Augustus        Minnesota Lynx
18                Becky Hammon        San Antonio Silver Stars
10                Penny Taylor        Phoenix Mercury
9                Cappie Pondexter        New York Liberty
5                Candace Parker        Los Angeles Sparks
1                Rebekkah Brunson        Minnesota Lynx
1                Maya Moore        Minnesota Lynx


2011        Tamika Catchings        Indiana Fever
2010        Lauren Jackson Seattle Storm
2009         Diana Taurasi            Phoenix Mercury
2008        Candace Parker        Los Angeles Sparks
2007        Lauren Jackson        Seattle Storm
2006        Lisa Leslie                 Los Angeles Sparks
2005        Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets
2004        Lisa Leslie                 Los Angeles Sparks
2003        Lauren Jackson        Seattle Storm
2002        Sheryl Swoopes        Houston Comets
2001        Lisa Leslie                   Los Angeles Sparks
2000        Sheryl Swoopes        Houston Comets
1999        Yolanda Griffith        Sacramento Monarchs
1998        Cynthia Cooper        Houston Comets
1997        Cynthia Cooper        Houston Comets

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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