NEW YORK, May 29, 2012 -- Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks, a pair of WNBA Most Valuable Players and University of Tennessee products, were named the WNBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week presented by Boost Mobile, respectively, for games played May 18-27.
This marks the first season that Boost Mobile – the leaguewide marquee partner of the WNBA – has presented the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week awards.
For Catchings, the reigning league MVP, the Player of the Week award presented by Boost Mobile is the 15th such honor of her career, third most in league history. Now in her 12th WNBA season, the winner of an unprecedented four WNBA Defensive Player of the Year titles led Indiana to a 3-0 record during the season’s opening week of play, including home and road victories over the defending Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream. Catchings paced the Fever in scoring (21.0 ppg), rebounds (7.3), defensive boards (6.0), steals (2.67), and minutes (31.3). In so doing, she also ranked among the Eastern Conference leaders in a variety of categories, including scoring (third), steals (fourth), and rebounding (tied for sixth).
Catchings opened the season with 16 points, seven boards and three steals in a 92-84 win over the visiting Dream. She then tallied 22 points, five assists, four steals, three rebounds, and two blocks in an 83-72 road win over the Chicago Sky before closing out the week with a double-double in a 78-62 victory at Atlanta, where she notched season highs of 25 points and 12 boards and made all nine of her free throw attempts. It was in that latter game that Catchings scored 14 of her game-high 25 points in the second quarter, helping the Fever erase an 11-point deficit to take a four-point lead at halftime.
In guiding Indiana to a share of the top spot in the Eastern Conference and its first 3-0 start first since 2007, Catchings helped position the Fever as just one of three remaining undefeated teams in the league and the only such club with a pair of road wins.
For Parker, who earned league MVP and Rookie of the Year accolades in 2008, the Player of the Week award presented by Boost Mobile is the sixth such honor of her career. The award also is indicative of a fast start just one year after she put up solid numbers during an abbreviated season in which she missed 15 games at midseason due to a knee injury.
Parker led the Sparks, who missed the playoffs a year ago, to a 3-1 mark, second best in the Western Conference behind only the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx. Los Angeles’ wins included home and road decisions over the 2010 champion Seattle Storm and a road win over the 2009 champs, the Phoenix Mercury.
The fifth-year pro led the league in blocks (2.7 bpg), ranked third in the Western Conference in scoring (20.5 ppg), and tied for third in rebounds (7.8 rpg). She finished the week with three consecutive games of 20-or-more points and a pair of double-doubles.
After helping Los Angeles overcome a 21-point deficit to win its opener at Seattle, 72-66, the Naperville, Ill., native led the Sparks past the visiting Storm just days later with an all-around performance that included 21 points, 10 boards, six blocks, four assists and three steals. She then added 23 points and six boards in a 92-84 defeat at the hands of the Lynx before closing the week with personal season-highs of 27 points and 11 rebounds – while also adding four blocks – in a 99-88 win at Phoenix.
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week presented by Boost Mobile were Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry, Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles, Connecticut’s Tina Charles, and Washington’s Crystal Langhorne in the East, as well as Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus, Phoenix’s Candice Dupree, San Antonio’s Shameka Christon, and Tulsa’s Ivory Latta in the West.
The WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week presented by Boost Mobile are part of a series of on-court performance awards called the WNBA Performance Awards presented by Boost Mobile. The series, currently in its first season, includes the WNBA Players of the Month presented by Boost Mobile and four of the WNBA's most prestigious year-end honors: WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Boost Mobile, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Boost Mobile, WNBA Sixth Woman presented by Boost Mobile, and WNBA Most Improved Player presented by Boost Mobile.