Taurasi, Pondexter Named to WNBA All-Star Team
Phoenix Mercury guards Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter will represent the Western Conference as reserves in the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game presented by Vonage, the league announced today.
Taurasi and Pondexter become the first Mercury teammates to be selected to the All-Star team since Jennifer Gillom and Michele Timms in 1999. Phoenix is one of six teams with multiples players selected.
It is the second All-Star selection for third-year guard and former WNBA Rookie of the Year Diana Taurasi, who is third in the league in scoring as of July 8. Taurasi has made two All-Star teams in two opportunities (2005, 2006), and was a member of the USA Women’s National Team in her rookie season of 2004 when Team USA took on the WNBA All-Stars. Through 16 games in 2006, Taurasi is averaging a career-high 22.3 points per game on career-high 43.9 percent shooting from the field, including a career-best 39.8 percent from three-point range.
Pondexter, who just four months ago was leading her team through the NCAA Tournament, was the No. 2 overall selection in this year’s WNBA Draft and is one of three rookies selected to the All-Star Game (Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus and San Antonio’s Sophia Young). Pondexter is the league leader in scoring, averaging 22.7 points per contest. The first-year player from Rutgers is second among rookies in assists (2.5), fifth in rebounds (3.7), fourth in overall field goal percentage (46.2) and tops in three-point efficiency (43.0). She set a WNBA record with 226 points through her first ten career games and scored a league rookie-record 35 points at Detroit on July 6.
Both players have posted back-to-back 30-point games this season, becoming the third and fourth players respectively in league history to accomplish such a feat, joining league icons Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes of the Houston Comets. Pondexter had consecutive 30-point performances on June 2 at Seattle and June 6 vs. Sacramento. Pondexter was named the WNBA’s Player of the Week after those efforts.
Taurasi recorded her back-to-back games of 30 or more on June 13 at Los Angeles and June 16 vs. Connecticut, when she scored a career-high 35 points against the Sun. The duo also became the first teammates to score 30 in the same game when each had 30 points in a June 6 victory over the defending champion Monarchs.
The 2006 WNBA All-Star Game presented by Vonage, hosted by the New York Liberty, is Wednesday, July 12, and can be seen live on ESPN beginning at 4 p.m. in Phoenix.