Taurasi Named Player of the Week, Month
After starting the season 0-3, Mercury Head Coach Corey Gaines positioned Taurasi as the “lead guard” in the starting lineup and vowed to return to the up-tempo style that helped Phoenix win two WNBA championships. In the new role, Taurasi has delivered, leading the club to seven wins in its last eight games, including a franchise-record five-straight road wins that have moved the Mercury into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
For the month, Taurasi averaged 24.2 points, 5.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. Her 242 points scored were nearly 100 more than any other player in the WNBA, and her assist average was fourth-best in the league. The five-time league scoring champion is averaging a WNBA-best 23.6 points per game this season and is just 205 points shy of becoming the fifth player in league history to score 6,000 career points. On her current pace, she will reach the milestone quicker than any other player.
Highlights of Taurasi’s month include two 30-point performances (she owns a league-record 36 for her career), seven games of at least 20 points (she owns a league-record 158 for her career) and two near triple-doubles. One June 16 at Tulsa, Taurasi recorded 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, the first player in league history to reach those benchmarks in a single game; and on June 25 at San Antonio she finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Making an early case for Most Valuable Player, Taurasi has twice recorded efforts with at least 30 points, five rebounds and five assists, giving her 12 such performances for her career, three times as many as any other player in league history.
Over the last week, Taurasi led the Mercury to a 3-0 road trip with wins at San Antonio, Washington and Connecticut. It marked the first time in franchise history the club has swept a road trip of at least three games. She averaged 21.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in the week.
The Mercury returns home Tuesday night to host Cappie Pondexter and the New York Liberty. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at US Airways Center. July is a pivotal month for the West playoff standings as six of Phoenix’s seven games come against conference foes, including three against West-leading Minnesota. Tickets are available by calling 602-252-WNBA or visiting phoenixmercury.com.