Bonner Again Recognized For Efforts

By Brad G. Faye,
Posted: August 26, 2010

Last season, Mercury Head Coach Corey Gaines said DeWanna Bonner could have been Rookie of the Year had he been in a position to start her and give her regular minutes. This year, Gaines proclaimed she could have been an all-star had the situation not again been similar. It looks like for the time being, Bonner will just have to settle for a resume that includes being a two-time Sixth Woman of the Year recipient and a WNBA Champion.

On Thursday, the WNBA again recognized Bonner for her contributions off the bench this season, naming the 6-4 forward the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year for a second-straight season.

“It’s very exciting and an honor to repeat winning this award,” Bonner said. “So many people could have gotten this award, especially out East, so I’m honored to have received it again.”

After averaging 11.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and under one assist per game in her inaugural campaign, the player out of Auburn came back even stronger for her sophomore season, finishing with averages of 12 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest.

Regarding her improvement, Bonner said she felt she did a good job of maintaining the energy that helped her win the award last season while also working on expanding her play in some new areas.

“I just try to come in each game off the bench knowing that my role is to provide the team with positive energy,” Bonner said. “I feel I improved my guard play this season, working on my shot selection and my 3-point shot.”

Bonner’s attempt to enhance her game in the shooting department paid off, as she not only improved her percentage in every category this season, but she also netted 17 more shots from 3-point land despite playing in two less games than she did in 2009. Bonner even connected from downtown in Thursday night's Game 1 performance against the Silver Stars en route to a nine-point outting.

Bonner's improved range from the field led to a number of memorable performances during the regular season. She scored a career-high 24 points against the Storm on May 22, a total she matched just a couple of weeks later against the Sparks. She also closed the season strong against the WNBA's fourth Western Conference playoff team - and her team's current first-round opponent – finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds against the Silver Stars this past Sunday.

Following Thursday night's playoff win against San Antonio, however, it was Bonner's defensive effort which Mercury Head Coach Corey Gaines chose to acknowledge.

"We had a bigger lineup out there and DeWanna was so valuable for us in picking up (Becky) Hammon in the full court," Gaines said. "DeWanna made sure to chase her around and didn't allow her any open, easy shots. DeWanna never gave her a chance to get into a rhythm."

In her two WNBA seasons as a pro, Bonner has both times been named the league’s top reserve. But following Thursday's win, she told that defending the personal title isn't as important to her as defending the team's WNBA title.

"It really is an honor with all of the great players that could have won this award, but I really just go out there and do whatever I can to help this team win the game. Tonight I was looked upon to provide a defensive spark and that's what I went out and tried to do."