Taurasi Earns Third Player of the Week Honor This Season
As this week’s Player of the Week, Taurasi has now earned her eighth-career award as well as her third this season and second-consecutive honor. In three games over the past week, Taurasi posted averages of 24.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and a league-high 6.7 assists on 54.8 percent shooting (23-42) and 50.0 percent (11-22) on three-pointers. She helped pace the Mercury to a 3-0 record with wins on the road over Washington, Chicago and Connecticut. With the three wins, Phoenix sits one game back of the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
At Washington on June 24, Taurasi filled the stat-sheet with 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists, marking the fourth game this season in which she has scored more than 30 points. She now has 15 performances of 30 points or more for her career, the third-most in WNBA history (Lauren Jackson, 18; Cynthia Cooper, 16). At Chicago, the former WNBA Rookie of the Year tied her career-high for assists with nine in the 10-point Mercury win. Three days later, she led Phoenix to a victory over the Sun with a game-high 25 points.
Taurasi is averaging 24.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season. Her 24.7 paces the league in scoring with teammate Cappie Pondexter (23.6 ppg) as the only other player to average more than 20 points. The former No. 1 overall pick is a three-time WNBA All-Star, two-time All-WNBA First Team member and a former winner of the Peak Performer award as the league’s top scorer (25.3 ppg, 2006).
Jones earns her second-career Player of the Week award in her seventh WNBA season after averaging 20.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor (30-67) and 85.7 percent (18-21) from the free-throw line in four games. A member of the 2007 Eastern Conference All-Star Team, she paced the Sun to wins over Detroit and on the road against Atlanta to push the Sun into a tie with the Shock for the league’s best record at 12-5.
In the past week, Jones totaled two of her highest-scoring games this season when she scored 30 against Atlanta and 20 in the front end of a home-and-home against Detroit. Her 30 points against the Dream fell one point short of her career-high (31, at Chicago, May 31, 2007), though she did tally a double-double in the game with 10 rebounds. Tied at the end of regulation, Jones poured in eight of the Sun’s 20 points in overtime against Atlanta to emerge with a 109-101 victory. The double-double was her first of 2008 and set a season-high for rebounds. Jones also tied her season-high with five assists in the contest.
Jones currently ranks among the league’s top 15 in scoring with 16.5 points per game and among the top 20 rebounding leaders at 6.1 rebounds per game. Her scoring average is tops on the Sun while she is tied with Lindsay Whalen for the team lead in rebounding. The Sun are currently tied with Detroit for first-place in the Eastern Conference.
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Betty Lennox, Detroit’s Deanna Nolan, Houston’s Sancho Lyttle, Los Angeles’ Candace Parker, Sacramento’s Ticha Penicheiro, San Antonio’s Sophia Young and Seattle’s Sue Bird.