Sylvia Fowles returning to Minnesota Lynx for 15th, final WNBA season

US Sylvia Fowles (front) vies with Serbia's Nikolina Milic (back) and Sasa Cado (R) during the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament match between Serbia and USA, on February 6, 2020, in Belgrade.  ((Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images))

The team announced Tuesday morning that Fowles is returning to the Lynx for her 15th WNBA season, and it will be her last. Fowles is a two-time WNBA champion with the Lynx, and was the WNBA Finals MVP for both championships.

"I cannot understate our appreciation for not only Sylvia Fowles the basketball player, but more importantly, Sylvia Fowles the person," Lynx head coach and GM Cheryl Reeve said in a statement released through the team. "Her loyalty and belief in our franchise is beyond measure. I am thrilled that Syl is returning to the Lynx for her final season in the WNBA and look forward to her continuing to etch her mark as the greatest center in WNBA history." 

Fowles is coming off a 2021 season where she won the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time in her 14-year career. She was second in the WNBA last season in rebounding (10.1), steals per game (1.8) and blocks per game (1.8). She’s the first player since Yolanda Griffith in 1999 to rank in the top five in all three categories in the same season.

She also averaged 16.1 points per game, marking the sixth time she’s averaged a double-double over a full season.

"There are a few reasons why I chose to play another year", Fowles said in a statement. "The main reason for my return had a lot to do with our fans. I wanted to make sure I gave them the opportunity to see me play my final season. It feels right that my playing career finishes in Minnesota; there's nowhere else I'd rather be."

Fowles won the WNBA MVP Award in 2017, and won the WNBA Finals MVP in 2015 and 2017. She’s entering her eighth season with the Lynx and is the franchise leader in field goal accuracy (60.9 percent), rebounds per game (9.8), blocks per game (1.6), total blocks (309) and double-doubles (88). She’s the franchise’s all-time leader in rebounds (1,880), is third in franchise history in points per game (15.9) and fifth in total points (3.056).

Fowles was the No. 2 overall pick by the Chicago Sky in 2008, and traded to the Lynx in 2015. She’s a seven-time All-Star. Last July, Fowles won her fourth straight Olympic gold medal with the USA Basketball Women’s National Team in Tokyo. In September, Fowles was named to the W25, a list of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history, joining former Lynx players Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Katie Smith and Lindsay Whalen. 

Fowles’ final regular season home opener with the Minnesota Lynx is set for 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 8 against the Washington Mystics at Target Center.