WNBA blocks are pure speed, athleticism, and power on display. And they have the potential to be an absolute game changer. They amp up the bench and frustrate the offense. Plus, much like WNBA dunks, they leave the fans in awe.
So today, we’re going to take a look at some monster blocks. We’re talking “swat the ball into the third row” impressive. From a Candace Parker full out chase down rejection to an Elizabeth Williams block party, we’ll take a tour down savage moments memory lane. Plus, don’t miss Kalani Brown going full Anthony Davis on ’em (then again, she did it first!).
Just so we’re all on the same page here: a block occurs when a defender deflects an offensive field goal attempt to prevent scoring. What makes it tricky is that the defender is not allowed to make contact with the offensive player’s hand (unless the defender is also in contact with the ball) or a foul will be called. Now let’s check out some well executed blocks.
In 2017 as the Seattle Storm and the Los Angeles Sparks battle it out in the third quarter, Candace Parker issues a swat that says, “No, not today! Not on my watch.”
Breanna Stewart drives baseline. While Candace cuts across the court towards her from the opposite baseline. As Breanna goes up for the shot, Candace issues the clean block. And then nearly falls out of bounds trying to get control of the ball. But magically manages to get the over-the-back pass off to Chelsea Gray who guides it to safety.
In 2016, as the Dallas Wings take on the Seattle Storm, Jewell Loyd had a perfectly timed block in the post. Pienette Pierson doesn’t see Jewell coming over her shoulder. And Jewell’s able to get her hand out for a clean swipe. The coordination! The power!
Courtney Vandersloot feeds Stefanie Dolson up high deep in the post. Stef barely grabs the ball before it’s slammed out of her hands by Leilani Mitchell. This height match up is one for the books! And it’s certainly a great show of athleticism by Leilani.
In 2017, in the final two seconds of the third quarter, as The New York Liberty attack, the score was set 55 New York and 52 Phoenix Mercury. As Epiphanny Prince drives down the court and rises for the three, Brittney steps up to meet her at the arc, and shuts her down.
Brittany Brewer takes Satou Sabally to the bucket as the New York Liberty take on the Dallas Wings in 2020. And as she rises up to finish the layup, Satou perfectly cuts her off and cleanly rejects the shot with her right arm. Her great footwork, her reach, and her jumping ability all are on display.
This one is crazy! Kalani Brown goes full Anthony Davis in the NBA Finals in this play. Back in 2019 as the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Chicago Sky, Kalani plays the center, removing attacking guard Courtney Vandersloot’s easy bucket option. And Kalani tracks Courtney down meeting her near the top of the three, and sticking with her on the drive. She lefts Courtney slip under her, thinking she’s got the jump on her, and then out of nowhere totally knocks the ball away.
Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx is a brick wall. Here she defends the lane with glory and honor. As the Dallas Wings offense drives, she swipes the ball away with ease. No wonder she’s a three time defensive player of the year (2011, 2013, 2016) and a six time WNBA All-Defensive First Team player (2010–2012, 2014, 2016, 2017).
When it comes to blocking, we have to mention the queen twice. Her defensive tenacity is absolutely critical (we’re talking 2020 Defensive Player of the Year critical).
All the way back in 2013 as the Los Angeles Sparks took on the San Antonio Stars, Candace Parker hustled back on defense. Chasing Davellyn Whyte down the court, she catches her right as she rises up for the basket, and delivers an epic clean hit on the ball. You have to see it to believe it!
Back in September of 2019, Atlanta Dream Center Elizabeth Williams dropped a season-high 20 points and swatted away a career-high 8 blocks. Sometimes she cuts clean across the paint to stuff the shot, others she beats the offense (A’ja Wilson) to their spot and hits it down flat out. Elizabeth definitely came up big in this home win against the playoff-bound Las Vegas Aces.
In June of 2015, as the New York Liberty took on the Connecticut Sun, Kiah Stokes scored 7 points with a career high and franchise high of 8 blocks. Kiah displayed great foot work in the paint on the defensive end, making the right call about when to leave her person to help out for the block, or when to raise her arms and not bite on the pump fake. Kiah’s strong defensive presence led the New York Liberty to a victory (64-57). The block at 0:56 is savage!
Find out which teams and players hold the records for most blocks in a WNBA game, blocks per game, and total career blocks.
The WNBA player that had the most blocks in a single game is…drum roll please! Brittney Griner with 11 in a 2014 game performance that led her Phoenix Mercury to a win over the Tulsa Shock.
“I knew I had a couple of blocks, but I didn’t know how many,” Brittney said, via Channel 8 in Tulsa. ”To do that is pretty big, now I guess I have to try to beat it.
Her WNBA single-game block record is trailed by Lisa Leslie and Margo Dydek, both with 10. You can see the complete list of single game block stats here.
In 2020 A’ja Wilson led the league in blocks per game with 2. Though the highest average blocks per game of all time goes to Brittney Griner with 4.04 in 2015. You can see all the WNBA year-by-year block leaders here.
In 2020 the WNBA team with the most blocks per game was Brittney’s team, the Phoenix Mercury (5.6). Trailed by the New York Liberty (4.3). The Phoenix Mercury also had the most blocks in a game with 12.
The WNBA player with the most total career blocks is Margo Dydek with 877, who’s also the tallest player in WNBA history. Her record is followed by Lisa Leslie with 822. And, no surprises here, Brittney Griner with 658.
Written by Megan Mitzel, youth basketball coach, and Founder of Queen Ballers Club.
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