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Tully Bevilaqua is as tough a defender as there is, but always does it with a smile.
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
NEW YORK, Aug. 31, 2007 - The WNBA announced today that Tully Bevilaqua of the Indiana Fever was named the recipient of the 2007 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. With 15 votes, Bevilaqua narrowly edged out Vickie Johnson of the San Antonio Silver Stars who tallied 14 votes.
Designed to honor a player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court -- ethical behavior, fair play and integrity -- the award is named for the late Kim Perrot, who helped guide the Houston Comets to their first two WNBA championships before passing away in August, 1999, after a seven-month battle with cancer.
A native of Merredin, Australia, Bevilaqua becomes the first international player to win the award since China's Haixia Zheng in 1997. The honor is Bevilaqua's second post-season award this season, as she has already been named to the All-WNBA Defensive Second Team. She previously finished third in the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship voting in 2003.
"One, she has leadership ability and two, she has an all-inclusive way of getting along with everyone," said Fever Head Coach Brian Winters. "Tully has a real zest for life and she touches the lives of others around her. Her ability to get along with people and give a lift to those around her is reflected in the locker room, in our travels, off the court, everywhere we go and in everybody she touches. She leaves people feeling better about themselves."
One of the most accomplished female athletes in Australia, Bevilaqua is in her ninth WNBA season with her fourth team. Prior to joining Indiana, she was a member of the Portland Fire, Cleveland Rockers and Seattle Storm, where she was part of the squad that won the 2004 WNBA Championship to give Seattle its first major professional sports title in 25 years. While she counts the WNBA Championship and her 2006 World Championship with the Australian Opals as her two greatest moments in basketball, another of her favorite memories came when Bevilaqua played against her mother in a junior/senior league game back in Australia.
No matter what jersey she wears, Bevilaqua has been a model of professionalism and dedication on the court, in addition to every aspect of life.
Off the court, Bevilaqua has shown dedication to worthy causes such as cancer research, the armed forces and care to animals.
In honor of being named the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award winner, Bevilaqua will receive $5,000 and a specially-designed trophy from Tiffany & Co. An additional $5,000 will be donated to the charity of Bevilaqua's choice, the Tamika Catchings Catch the Stars Foundation.
Below are the results of the 2007 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award voting.
2007 KIM PERROT SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD RESULTS
15 - Tully Bevilaqua - Indiana Fever
14 - Vickie Johnson - San Antonio Silver Stars
5 - Margo Dydek - Connecticut Sun
4 - Erin Thorn - New York Liberty
3 - Nicole Ohlde - Minnesota Lynx
2 - Swin Cash - Detroit Shock
2 - Penny Taylor - Phoenix Mercury
1 - Dominique Canty - Chicago Sky
1 - Temecka Dixon - Houston Comets
1 - Chelsea Newton - Sacramento Monarchs
1 - Laurie Koehn - Washington Mystics
PAST KIM PERROT SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD WINNERS
2007 - Tully Bevilaqua - Indiana Fever
2006 - Dawn Staley - Houston Comets
2005 - Taj McWilliams-Franklin - Connecticut Sun
2004 - Teresa Edwards - Minnesota Lynx
2003 - Edna Campbell - Sacramento Monarchs
2002 - Jennifer Gillom - Phoenix Mercury
2001 - Sue Wicks - New York Liberty
2000 - Suzie McConnell Serio - Cleveland Rockers
1999 - Dawn Staley - Charlotte Sting
1998 - Suzie McConnell Serio - Cleveland Rockers
1997 - Haixia Zheng - Los Angeles Sparks
About the WNBA
Featuring 13 teams and the greatest female basketball players in the world, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women's professional team sports league in U.S. history. The 2007 WNBA Playoffs tipped off on August 23 with complete coverage through the Conference Finals being provided by ABC, ESPN2 and NBA TV. The 2007 WNBA Finals begin on September 5 and will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2.