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Liberty’s Charles, Seattle’s Bird Earn 2016 WNBA Peak Performer Awards

NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2016 – New York Liberty forward Tina Charles has won the 2016 WNBA Peak Performer Award as the league leader in scoring and rebounding, and Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird has won the Peak Performer Award as the league leader in assists, the WNBA announced today.

The WNBA presents the Peak Performer Awards annually to the players who lead the league in each of those categories during the regular season.  Each winner will receive a trophy crafted by Tiffany & Co. in honor of her accomplishments.

Charles topped the WNBA with 21.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, joining Chamique Holdsclaw (2002) and Lauren Jackson (2007) as the only players to lead the WNBA in both categories in the same season.  The 2012 WNBA Most Valuable Player also recorded a WNBA-high 20 double-doubles this season, including 19 with points and rebounds and one with points and assists.

Charles, who earned a WNBA-record seven Player of the Week honors this season and captured all four Eastern Conference Player of the Month presented by Samsung awards, edged the Chicago Sky’s Elena Delle Donne (21.46 ppg) for her first scoring title.  Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks ranked third (19.7 ppg), Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream was fourth (19.5) and Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx was fifth (19.3).

The rebounding title is the fourth for Charles, who also led the WNBA from 2010-12.  Charles was followed by Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm (9.3 rpg), Ogwumike (9.1),  Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx (8.5) and Elizabeth Williams of the Dream (8.1).

As a scorer, Charles tallied a league-high 21 games with at least 20 points, including one streak of nine such games from June 11 through July 3.   The stretch included a career-high-tying 32 points at Connecticut on June 16 and 31 points at Phoenix on July 1.  Charles also scored at least 22 points in each of her final six games of the season.

Charles recorded 317 total rebounds (tied with Stewart for the most in the WNBA), including 243 on the defensive glass and 74 on the offensive end.   The seven-year pro from the University of Connecticut grabbed at least 15 rebounds three times, including a season-high 16 against the Sparks on May 21.  She also had 15 rebounds on June 19 at the Indiana Fever and again on Sept. 3 against the Phoenix Mercury.

Bird, a member of the WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon and a nine-time WNBA All-Star selection, won her third assists title (5.8 per game).  The four-time Olympic gold medalist also led the league in assists in 2005 and 2009.  Jasmine Thomas of the Connecticut Sun ranked second (5.1 apg) and Candace Parker of the Sparks finished third (4.9), followed by Courtney Vandersloot of the Sky (4.70) and Briann January of the Fever (4.68).

A former UConn standout, Bird also led the league in total assists with 196 over 34 games.  Her total was 24 more than Thomas’ second-place tally of 172.  Bird twice dished out a personal season-high 10 assists, vs. the Liberty on June 5 and again at New York on July 6.

Bird, Stewart and the Storm are set to open the WNBA Playoffs presented by Verizon as the No. 7 seed.  The Storm will visit McCoughtry, Williams and the Dream on Wednesday, Sept. 21 (8 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS).  Earlier in the day, January and the Fever will tip off the WNBA’s 20th postseason when Indiana hosts the Phoenix Mercury (6 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS).

2016 WNBA Peak Performers – Final Statistics

Top Five: Scoring Average

Player (Team)                                                          G         FG       FT       PTS     PPG

  1. Tina Charles (New York Liberty)                      32        273      125      688      21.50
  2. Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)                     28        214      130      601      21.46
  3. Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)         33        244      146      650      19.7
  4. Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)                33        223      171      643      19.5
  5. Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)                        34        223      145      656      19.3

Top Five: Rebounding Average

Player (Team)                                                          G         OFF     DEF     TOT    RPG

  1. Tina Charles (New York Liberty)                      32        74        243      317      9
  2. Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm)                      34        40        277      317      3
  3. Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)         33        77        222      299      1
  4. Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)                       34        84      206      290      5
  5. Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream) 34          106      170      276                  1

Top Five: Assists Average

            Player (Team)                                                G         AST       APG

  1. Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)                                        34        196         8
  2. Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut)                           34        172         1
  3. Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks)                34        166         9
  4. Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky)                  30        141         70
  5. Briann January (Indiana Fever)                          29        136         68