Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Lindsay Whalen Capture 2008 WNBA Peak Performer Honors

-- Taurasi Wins Scoring Title;
Parker Garners Rebounding Honor;
Whalen Earns Assist Crown --

NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2008 – Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks and Lindsay Whalen of the Connecticut Sun were named the WNBA’s Peak Performers for 2008, the league announced today.

The WNBA Peak Performer awards are given annually to those players who lead the league in scoring, rebounding and assists during the regular season. Each player will receive a Tiffany trophy in honor of their accomplishments.

Taurasi earns the second Peak Performer award for scoring in her career after averaging 24.1 points per game. She also won the scoring title in 2006. The fifth-year professional was named Player of the Week four times in 2008, the most of any player in the league. She outpaced her teammate Cappie Pondexter (21.2 ppg) and Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus (19.1 ppg) to lead all scorers.

With 9.5 rebounds per game, Parker also beat out her teammate, Lisa Leslie (8.9 rpg), as well as Chicago Sky center Candice Dupree (7.9 rpg) to earn the rebounding award in her rookie season.

In the closest race of the three categories, Whalen dished out 5.4 assists per game to narrowly edge Sacramento Monarchs guard – and all-time WNBA assists leader – Ticha Penicheiro (5.2 apg), Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (5.1 apg) and Houston Comets guard Shannon Johnson (5.1 apg) for the assists crown.

Taurasi turned in the second-best performance in WNBA history for both single-season scoring average and total points, ranking behind the records she set in 2006 (25.3 ppg and 860 total points). She scored 30 or more points 10 times this season, including a season-high 37 at Seattle on June 11, and tallied over 20 points in 26 of 34 games. On July 8 against Houston, she became the fastest player to reach the 3,000-point plateau in league history, besting 2007 Peak Performer and WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson’s previous record by 11 games. Taurasi already ranks in the top 20 for all-time total points in a WNBA career (3,398) and in the top three for all-time scoring average (20.3 ppg).

Parker, who was named Player of the Week on one occasion this season, narrowly missed out on averaging a double-double (18.5 ppg) and was the only player to average more than nine rebounds per game. She tallied 10 or more rebounds on 17 occasions this season, including three of her first four games as a professional. Parker also tied her career-high of 16 rebounds three times in 2008, originally set on May 29 at Indiana. In that game, she tallied five or more in five statistical categories (16 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and five steals) to accomplish the league’s first “5x5.” Parker also led the league in double-doubles with 17.

Whalen, who set Connecticut’s all-time franchise assist record in 2008, now has 808 career assists including 166 this season. A two-time Player of the Week award winner in 2008, she set her season high for assists at nine in the team’s 78-68 win over Houston on July 1. She finished the year with 19 games in which she totaled five or more assists. She also became just the second player in league history to average 10 or more points, five or more rebounds and five or more assists for a season (Nikki Teasley, 2003, 11.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.4 apg). Whalen averaged 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

2008 WNBA Peak Performers Final Statistics

Top Five: Scoring Average

Player (Team)
G
FG
FT
PTS
PPG
1. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix)
34
258
215
820
24.1
2. Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix)
32
234
170
679
21.2
3. Seimone Augustus (Minnesota)
31
233
105
591
19.1
4. Candace Parker (Los Angeles)
33
231
137
610
18.5
5. Tina Thompson (Houston)
30
188
110
542
18.1

Top Five: Rebounding Average

Player (Team)
G
OR
ORPG
DR
DRPG
TOT
RPG
1. Candace Parker (Los Angeles)
33
84
2.5
229
6.9
313
9.5
2. Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles)
33
84
2.5
209
6.3
293
8.9
3. Candice Dupree (Chicago)
34
77
2.3
193
5.7
270
7.9
4. Ebony Hoffman (Indiana)
33
94
2.8
164
5.0
258
7.8
5. Ann Wauters (San Antonio)
32
47
1.5
192
6.0
239
7.5

Top Five: Assist Average

Player (Team)
G
AST
APG
1. Lindsay Whalen (Connecticut)
31
166
5.4
2. Ticha Penicheiro (Sacramento)
33
172
5.2
3. Sue Bird (Seattle)
33
169
5.1
4. Shannon Johnson (Houston)
33
168
5.1
5.Becky Hammon (San Antontio)
33
161
4.9
More

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