WNBA Player Rankings: Week 4

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 12, 2007 -- Don, Dave and Gus, my friends since before I learned how to tie my shoes, all went to college at the University of Tennessee. I chose to stay in New Jersey and attend Fairleigh Dickinson (can I get a do over?).

Whenever we chatted on the phone or saw each other over the holidays, I would talk about classes or parties, but the topic of conversation from them always centered around some type of UT sporting event (maybe if I went to a bigger school I would have understood why).

With all of the success of the program, you can imagine how many times the subject of the day was the UT women's basketball squad. And in particular, All-American Chamique Holdsclaw.

And that is how I got my honorary membership card into the Holdsclaw Fan Club. In truth, my boys left me no choice.

After hearing that the forward elected to retire from the WNBA on Monday, it got me to thinking about everything she accomplished on the court.

Counting her college career, it could be argued that she was one of the top five female basketball players of all time. I'm not saying she is, I'm simply saying a case could be made.

Check out her resume:

  • She led the Lady Vols to three consecutive NCAA Championships (1996, 1997 and 1998) and was Tennessee's all-time leading scorer and rebounder with 3,025 points and 1,295 rebounds. She was only the fifth women's basketball player in NCAA history to reach 3,000 points

  • She was the No. 1 pick of the 1999 Draft and went on to win Rookie of the Year

  • She was an honorable mention selection to the All-Decade team

  • She was a member of the 2000 USA Olympic team that won gold

  • She led the WNBA in scoring once and in rebounding twice and was a six-time All-Star

    Line of the Week
    Diana Taurasi (Mercury)
    June 9 win vs. Monarchs
    26 points, 5-12 3 FG, six rebounds, eight assists

    As her play has shown this season, at the age of 29 she is just reaching her peak. She is averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and three assists per game for the Sparks (3-2).

    "This was not an easy decision, said Holdsclaw, who joined the Sparks in a trade from the Mystics in 2005. I put a lot of thought into it. I am very grateful for the career I have enjoyed in amateur and professional basketball and will take many fond memories with me. What I will miss most are my teammates and the great friendships I have developed through the years and the fans from arena to arena that have supported me. I want to wish the Sparks great success this season and in the years ahead.

    This is the second time in her WNBA career that she has left a team for undisclosed personal reasons. In 2004 while playing for the Mystics, Holdsclaw, who later revealed she was suffering from depression, left the team 23 games into the season.

    Although she hasn't won a WNBA championship, Holdsclaw, who has 3,975 points and 1,862 rebounds in her career, has little left to prove. She should take all of the time she wants to deal with her private matters and then re-evaulate if her heart is still into the game.

    And if it's not, thanks for the memories.

    Now here are the player rankings for the season through June 11.

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  • Race to the MVP - Overall Player Rankings

    1. Tamika Catchings, Indiana
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    17.9 7.9 4.4 3.0 1.3 .430 .882
  • Last Week's Rank - 1
    Hey, nobody is perfect, right? Despite 21 points and nine assists from Catchings, the Fever lost their first game of the season to the Liberty last Tuesday. She responded by leading Indiana to three straight wins.

  • 2. Lauren Jackson, Seattle
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    24.0 10.2 1.2 0.8 2.4 .506 .926
  • Last Week's Rank - 4
    The former MVP is having arguably her best season ever. She leads the WNBA in points, rebounds, blocks and player efficiency for the 3-3 Storm.

  • 3. Deanna Nolan, Detroit
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    14.0 3.5 4.5 1.8 0.5 .402 .818
  • Last Week's Rank - 3
    Will the Shock go an unthinkable 34-0 this season? Probably not. Still, it's a safe bet that Nolan and Co. will challenge the WNBA record for victories in a season of 28 by the Sparks in 2000 and 2001.

  • 4. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    18.4 4.0 4.0 1.3 1.1 .421 .889
  • Last Week's Rank - 5
    Taurasi had all of her skills on display in a showdown against the Monarchs last week, exploding for 26 points, while also handing out eight assists.

  • 5. Cheryl Ford, Detroit
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    14.0 9.5 1.2 2.3 0.7 .547 .765
  • Last Week's Rank - 7
    Slowly but surely, Ford is climbing up the charts. The inside muscle has helped the Shock get off to a 6-0 start, which is their best ever. Counting the WNBA Finals, Detroit has won its last eight.

  • 6. Becky Hammon, San Antonio
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    18.1 2.6 5.4 1.0 0.1 .464 .885
  • Last Week's Rank - 2
    The Silver Stars have dropped two in a row but don't blame Hammon who is in the middle of a career season. She leads the league in assists.

  • 7. Katie Douglas, Connecticut
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    15.9 5.4 5.3 1.3 0.1 .441 .864
  • Last Week's Rank - 6
    Known for her defense and scoring, it is surprising to see that Douglas is second in the league in assists for the always dangerous Sun.

  • 8. Asjha Jones, Connecticut
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    17.6 7.1 3.6 0.6 0.9 .443 .853
  • Last Week's Rank - 8
    The versatile forward has scored at least 19 points in five of the past six games. She is also eighth in the league in rebounding.

  • 9. Candice Dupree, Chicago
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    17.4 7.8 1.3 0.8 1.8 .500 .744
  • Last Week's Rank - 10
    After being held to just six points on Thursday, Dupree scored 22 to power the Sky to their first victory ever over the Silver Stars on Saturday.

  • 10. Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    18.4 3.5 3.8 0.5 0.4 .440 .800
  • Last Week's Rank - 11
    Pondexter is tied with Taurasi for leading-scorer honors on the Mercury, who have the second best record in the West.
  • On the Outside Looking In (season averages - last week's rank)
    11. Rebekkah Brunson (Sacramento): 13.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG - (unranked)
    12. Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles): 11.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.2 APG - (13)
    13. Seimone Augustus (Minnesota): 22.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.6 APG - (unranked)
    14. Erin Thorn (New York): 14.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.4 APG - (12)
    15. Cathrine Kraayeveld (New York): 13.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG - (unranked)

  • Dropped out: Tina Thompson (Houston), Alana Beard (Washington), Chamique Holdsclaw (Los Angeles).
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