Taurasi Named 2009 WNBA Most Valuable Player
Phoenix Mercury guard/forward Diana Taurasi has been named the 2009 WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Kia Motors, the league announced today. Taurasi received 323 total points and 27 first place votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, earning her first career MVP award. Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings ranked second with 163 points (three first place votes) while her teammate Katie Douglas finished third with 128 points (five). Taurasi’s teammate, Cappie Pondexter, finished fourth with 99 points (one).
Rounding out the top eight vote getters were San Antonio Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon with 77 points (three), Seattle Storm forward Lauren Jackson with 73 points, Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker with 39 points and Detroit Shock guard Deanna Nolan with 27 points. In all, five different players received first place votes this year. Jackson is a two-time WNBA MVP (2003, 2007) and Parker won the award last year as a rookie (2008).
Taurasi caps a season in which she led the WNBA with 20.4 points per game and captured her third-career Peak Performer Award for scoring (2006, 2008, 2009). She shot a career-best 46.1 percent from the field and tallied 20 or more points in 20 games this season, including a season-high 34 at New York on July 26. She boosted her league-record for 30 point games to 23 with two 30-point performances. On Sept. 5, Taurasi became the fastest player to 4,000 career points doing so in 197 games to break Lauren Jackson’s record (209). She led the league in three pointers made with 79 and ranked seventh in the league in three-point shooting percentage (40.7). Taurasi ranks 13th in league history for points scored (4,029) and third in all-time points per game (20.3).
In 2009, Taurasi ranked among the WNBA’s top ten leaders in nearly every category, including points per game (first), three point field goals made (first), three-point field goals attempted (fourth), three-point field goal percentage (seventh), free throws made (third), free throws attempted (fifth), free throw percentage (sixth), field goals made (fifth), field goals attempted (10th), blocks per game (eighth) and defensive rebounds per game (sixth).
Taurasi was also named an All-Star, her fourth such appearance, and earned the Player of the Week Award on one occasion (Aug. 17). Her efforts helped propel the Mercury to the best record in the WNBA at 23-11, which also tied a franchise record, and the top overall seed in the 2009 WNBA Playoffs.
In honor of being named the WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Kia Motors, Taurasi will receive $15,000 and a specially-designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
For the first time ever, a single WNBA marketing partner will present the WNBA Most Valuable Player, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, WNBA Most Improved Player, and WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, grouped under the banner of “The WNBA Performance Awards presented by Kia Motors.” As a Proud Partner of the WNBA and the official presenter of the awards, Kia Motors will be incorporated into the formal award presentations and will receive prominent branding in the awards coverage on WNBA.com.