Tauarsi Named Western Conference Player of the Week
NEW YORK – Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Deanna Nolan of the Detroit Shock were named the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, June 16 through Sunday, June 22.
Taurasi earns her seventh-career Player of the Week award and second this season following a week in which she averaged a league-high 28.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists on 57.4 percent shooting (27-47). Taurasi helped the defending WNBA champions to a 2-1 record on the week, including wins over Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut and Chicago. In both games, the Mercury scored over 100 points, including 112 points against Chicago (112, Aug. 3, 2006 vs. Charlotte) to tie a franchise record.
On Friday, June 20, Taurasi (33) and Cappie Pondexter (31) combined to become the first set of teammates to score 30 or more points in a single game twice in WNBA history (June 6, 2006 vs. Sacramento). In the game, the 2004 WNBA Rookie of the Year notched season-highs in rebounds (10), assists (5) and blocked shots (4). Her 33-point performance marks the third time she’s scored 30 or more points in a game this season and it is the 14th such occasion of her career, putting her in a tie for second-place in league history (Lauren Jackson, 18; Katie Smith, 14). A former No. 1 overall pick, Taurasi also scored 32 points in her previous game against Connecticut.
Taurasi currently averages 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game this season. Her 24.9 points per game places her first in the league in scoring, narrowly ahead of Pondexter. A three-time WNBA All-Star and two-time All-WNBA First Team member, Taurasi won the 2006 Peak Performer award as the league’s top scorer.
Nolan collects her first-career Player of the Week award in her seventh WNBA season after averaging 26.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. The four-time WNBA All-Star boosted the Shock to a 2-0 record on the week, including an overtime win against Minnesota and a 21-point win at Atlanta.
On Friday June 20 against Minnesota, Nolan scored a career-high and franchise-record 44 points to break her own franchise-record of 36 points (July 24, 2007 at Connecticut). She closed out the game by scoring 28 points combined in the fourth quarter and overtime. Trailing by three points with four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the 2006 WNBA Finals MVP was fouled while taking a three-pointer and sank all three free throws to force overtime.
Nolan, who was a member of Detroit’s two WNBA championship teams (2003, 2006), is averaging 15.5 points per game and 5.7 assists per game this season, ranking behind only Seattle’s Sue Bird (6.1 apg) among league leaders. She is the second Detroit Shock player to be named Eastern Conference Player of the Week this season. Nolan’s teammate Katie Smith won the award for the week ending June 8.
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week were Connecticut’s Asjha Jones, Houston’s Shannon Johnson, Los Angeles’ Candace Parker, Sacramento’s Rebekkah Brunson, San Antonio’s Becky Hammonand Seattle’s Sue Bird, Washington’s Monique Currie.