New York's Cappie Pondexter and Phoenix's Diana Taurasi Named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week
NEW YORK, June 14, 2010 – Cappie Pondexter of the New York Liberty and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury were named the league’s Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week presented by Kia Motors, respectively, for regular season games played Monday, June 7 through Sunday, June 13.
This marks the first season that Kia Motors, an official marketing partner of the WNBA, has presented the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week award.
Pondexter and Taurasi, who helped the Mercury win two WNBA championships, are the first pair of former teammates in WNBA history to win the Player of the Week presented by Kia Motors award during the same week. For Pondexter, who was dealt to New York as part of a three-team trade in March, this is the sixth such honor of her career. She last won the award in 2009 when she captured it in three consecutive weeks during July.
Pondexter helped the Liberty to a 2-1 record as she led the league in scoring (25.3 ppg) while shooting 62.0 percent from the field (fourth best in the Eastern Conference) on 31 of 50 shots. She also ranked third in the East with 4.3 assists per game and contributed the identical number of rebounds.
The Rutgers product and Chicago native began her week with a season-high 31 points, along with five rebounds and three assists in an 85-70 win at Chicago that snapped the Sky’s four-game win streak.
Pondexter contributed 25 points, seven assists and three rebounds in a 91-79 defeat of Eastern Conference foe Atlanta. Pondexter closed out her week with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists in a loss at Washington. That effort placed her fifth in the league in scoring for the season (20.3 ppg) behind only Taurasi, Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry (20.8), Los Angeles’ Candace Parker (20.6), and Seattle’s Lauren Jackson (20.4).
For Taurasi, the Player of the Week presented by Kia Motors award is the eleventh of her career, fourth most in WNBA history behind only Lauren Jackson (16), Lisa Leslie (15) and Tamika Catchings (12).
Taurasi averaged 23.3 points on the back end of a stretch of 6 games in 12 days for Phoenix and led the Mercury to two wins in three games. That effort (second in the league only to Pondexter’s 25.3) helped Phoenix improve to 5-5 on the season and remain in second place in the Western Conference. Along the way, Taurasi also ranked in the top 10 in the conference in assists (4.0, tied for sixth) and rebounds (5.7, ninth). She also averaged one block per contest.
On June 10 the sixth year pro led Phoenix past Minnesota, recording her 26th 30-point performance – tops in WNBA history – on 10-of-18 (.555) shooting. The 31-point night marked the time this season she tallied 30-or-more points. Two days later the league's leading scorer recorded 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in just 19 minutes of action during a rout of Tulsa in which the Mercury set a WNBA regular season record in scoring with 116 points.
On June 8 Taurasi poured in 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a one point loss to Los Angeles, the third game between the two clubs this season decided by a point.
The University of Connecticut product emerged from the week with the WNBA’s longest active streak in terms of reaching double figures in scoring (31 consecutive games).
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week presented by Kia Motors were Atlanta’s Sancho Lyttle, Connecticut’s Renee Montgomery, Minnesota’s Rebekkah Brunson, Seattle’s Camille Little, Tulsa’s Kara Braxton, and Washington’s Monique Currie.
The WNBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week presented by Kia Motors are part of a series of on-court performance awards called "The WNBA Performance Awards Presented by Kia Motors." The series, currently in its second season, includes four of the WNBA's most prestigious year-end honors: Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Sixth Woman of the Year, along with the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month. Kia Motors has been an official marketing partner of the WNBA since 2008.
For more information on this week's Players of the Week presented by Kia Motors winners, visit www.wnba.com/awards.