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Washingtons Alana Beard and Phoenixs Diana Taurasi Named WNBA Players of the Week

NEW YORK, August 6, 2007 – Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, July 30 through Sunday, August 5.

Beard averaged 19 points, five rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 steals and shot 46 percent (23-for-50) from the field and 73 percent (8-for-11) from the free throw line as the Mystics posted a 2-1 record on the week. The team currently holds the fourth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

On August 3, Beard recorded a game-high 24 points, along with seven rebounds, four assists, four steals, and converted 10-for-18 field goals and 3-for-4 free throws in an 80-68 victory over the New York Liberty.

Two days later, she led the Mystics to a win over the Chicago Sky (71-66) with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. The victory moved the Mystics into fourth place ahead of the Sky in the Eastern Conference rankings.

Beard currently ranks third in the league in steals with 2.1 per game, and fifth in points with 18.3 per game. She is 43 points shy of 2,000 for her career.

Taurasi earns the fifth Player of the Week award of her career and her second this season after helping the Mercury post a 2-1 record on the week, clinching the team’s first playoff berth in six seasons and the first postseason of her career.

In all three games, Taurasi led the team in scoring, averaging an overall 23.7 points, three rebounds, three assists, 1.3 blocks, one steal and shooting 46 percent (26-for-56) from the floor and 36 percent (12-for-33) from behind the arc.

The league-leader in three-point field goals (with 77 made), Taurasi recorded four on July 31 against Houston. She tallied an overall 19 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks, two steals and made 7-for-17 field goals as the Mercury defeated the Comets 76-74.

Two days later, Taurasi’s game-high 24 points helped the Mercury to their six consecutive win, 84-79 over San Antonio. Despite a 45-38 deficit at the half, Taurasi scored 19 points and six three-pointers in the second half to secure the victory and the top spot in the Western Conference.

Other candidates for the WNBA's Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week awards were Connecticut’s Katie Douglas; Detroit’s Plenette Pierson; Indiana’s Tamika Whitmore; Sacramento’s Yolanda Griffith; San Antonio’s Sophia Young and Shanna Crossley; and Seattle’s Lauren Jacksonand Betty Lennox.

About the WNBA
The WNBA tipped off its second decade of play on May 19, 2007, featuring comprehensive national television coverage. ESPN2 and ABC will combine to televise up to 36 games nationally during the 2007 regular season and playoffs. The second straight year of “WNBA Tuesdays” on ESPN2 includes five doubleheaders and WNBA action on 11 of 14 Tuesday nights in-season. NBA TV will complement ABC and ESPN2's coverage by televising 70 regular-season and up to nine playoff games. On July 15, the WNBA reached a major milestone, announcing a new, eight-year agreement with ESPN to have ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 televise games through the 2016 season. The agreement extends the WNBA’s relationship with ESPN, which began with the league’s inaugural season in 1997, to 20 seasons.