Aug. 3, 2010
NEW YORK - Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm was named the league’s Western Conference Player of the Month presented by Kia Motors for regular-season games played in July.
This marks the first season that the WNBA has honored a player from each conference with the Player of the Month award. The awards are part of the WNBA Performance Awards presented by Kia Motors, an official marketing partner of the WNBA.
Jackson helped lead Seattle to the best record in the WNBA during July. The Storm went undefeated at 8-0 and ran its franchise-record winning streak to 13 before losing at Minnesota Aug. 1, 72-71.
Jackson has led the Seattle Storm to a league-best 22-3 and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Storm is on pace to match the record for best winning percentage in a season, held by the 1998 Houston Comets (.900). Already named Western Conference Player of the Month in both May and June, this is the third consecutive month Jackson has won the award. In addition, Jackson has been named Player of the Week five times thus far in 2010, which ties her own mark for the most Player of the Week awards in a single season. She owns the WNBA career record for Player of the Week honors with 19.
In the month of July, Jackson averaged 23.0 ppg, only second overall behind Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury (24.6 ppg). The two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player also ranked third in the Western Conference and eighth overall with 9.1 rebounds per game, along with ranking seventh overall in free throw percentage (.878).
Jackson, who scored 20 or more points five times in July, displayed her dominant ability in two different games against the streaking Mercury, including a 31-point, 18-rebound outburst on July 14, and another double-double performance with 33 points and 11 rebounds in a nationally televised game on July 27.
Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month presented by Kia Motors. As Indiana’s do-it-all forward, Catchings leads her team in almost every major statistical category including points, rebounds, assists, steals, and three-point field-goal percentage. In July, the eighth-year pro led the league in steals (2.56 spg), and ranked third in the Eastern Conference and seventh in the WNBA in scoring (18.0 ppg). Catchings also posted the top three-point field goal percentage in the Eastern Conference (.469 on 15-for-32 shooting), was second in assists (4.6 apg), fifth in field-goal percentage (.508), and seventh in blocks (1.11bpg).
The perennial All-Star, who posted three double-doubles and four consecutive games of 20-or-more points during the month, demonstrated her versatility in back-to-back wins against the Atlanta Dream on July 16 and New York Liberty on July 18. Against Atlanta, Catchings registered 23 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and tied a season-high with six steals. The following game against New York she tallied 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
Other candidates for WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month presented by Kia Motors were Chicago's Sylvia Fowles, New York’s Cappie Pondexter, and Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi.
The WNBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Month presented by Kia Motors are part of a series of on-court performance awards called "The WNBA Performance Awards Presented by Kia Motors." The series, currently in its second season, includes four of the WNBA's most prestigious year-end honors: Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Sixth Woman of the Year, along with the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week. Kia Motors has been an official marketing partner of the WNBA since 2008.