Taurasi and Pondexter Look to Spice Up All-Star Festivities

By Andrew Nicholson, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: July 10, 2006

Halfway through the 2006 WNBA season Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter have become the highest scoring combo in WNBA history. On Saturday they were named to the Western Conference All-Star team.

“It’s awesome,” Taurasi said of teaming with her rookie teammate in the annual showcase of the league’s best and brightest stars. “We’ve worked so hard this year and she’s played great. This is kind of an award for the first half of the season and hopefully we can continue (playing great) through the second half of the season.”

The All-Star Game will feature six teams with multiple players on the roster, but only the Mercury can claim to have the most prolific duo.

Pondexter has quickly shown veteran leadership in her first season as a pro, and is currently third in the league in scoring at 21.9 points per game.

“It’s definitely a privilege to play along with all the great players,” she said. “To be considered to be a great player at a young age is pretty cool.

Taurasi is leading the league in scoring at 23.2 points per game and will be the first Mercury player to appear in her second All-Star Game. Taurasi also put on a show Sunday in New York that Michael Jordan would be proud of, scoring a career-high 36 points against the New York Liberty, saving her highest career scoring outing for the most historic of venues, Madison Square Garden.

“Whenever you are an All-Star it means a lot, especially when you are named by the coaches,” the third-year guard said. “It’s a little extra special because you deserve it and they think you have been playing at a high level.

Both Mercury players have a chance to break the WNBA record for scoring average in a season of 23.1 points per game. The current record was set by then-Minnesota Lynx and current Detroit Shock, Katie Smith, in 2001.

Before the All-Star Game on Wednesday night there are two contests on Tuesday afternoon. First, Pondexter will represent the Mercury when she tries to upset reigning Skills Challenge winner Sue Bird for the “Dribble, Dish and Swish” title. Then Taurasi will take on the best of the best in the WNBA from downtown in the WNBA 3-Point Shootout.

“I’m going to win the 3-point contest,” Taurasi said with absolute confidence. “Put it in ink, I’m winning it.”

The game itself is about having fun and putting on a show for the fans, something “CP 23” and Dee look forward to doing throughout the festivities.

“We’re just going out there to have fun and whatever happens, happens,” Taurasi quipped. “The All-Star Game is always fun because everyone always comes out here with a good attitude and just hangs out, and has a good time.”

The Mercury pair didn’t admit to having a plan to score 30 points apiece or garner the All-Star game MVP, but they did hint at an exciting intro.

“We’re going to find something funky to do,” Pondexter said.

As she often does, her running mate spiced things up with a bit bolder of a statement of what is to come.

“I might do a little strip tease when they announce me,” Taurasi said with a laugh.