Alana Beard and Cappie Pondexter Named WNBA Players of the Week

NEW YORK, July 13, 2009Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics and Cappie Pondexter of the Phoenix Mercury were named the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, July 6 through Sunday, July 12.

Beard earns her fifth career Player of the Week award and, like Pondexter, her second of the season after averaging 20.0 points on 40.5 percent (15-37) shooting, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 assists. Her 20.0 points per game led the league among players who appeared in multiple games and her steals average tied her for fourth in the Eastern Conference. She led the Mystics to a 1-1 record for the week including a win over the Los Angeles Sparks on July 11.

Against the Sparks, Beard scored a game-high 26 points, which marked the fifth time this season that she has scored 20 or more points. She also pulled in five rebounds and collected four steals in the game to lift the Mystics’ record over .500 and into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. She pushed the Mystics to an early lead against the Sparks by scoring the team’s first 13 points en route to a 22-7 lead after the first quarter. Beard also totaled 14 points at Minnesota while handing out three assists in a two-point loss to the Lynx.

Beard has been selected to both the Eastern Conference All-Star Team and the WNBA All-Defensive Team three times in her career. This season, she ranks fourth among qualified leaders in the WNBA in scoring (19.1 ppg) and third in steals (3.0 spg). She has scored over 2,800 career points, which ranks second in Mystics franchise history.

Pondexter earns the fourth Player of the Week award of her career and her second in as many weeks. She wrapped up the week averaging 19.5 points on 40.7 percent (11-27) shooting and 7.0 assists. Among players who played in more than one game, she ranked second in the WNBA in scoring and first in assists. She helped the Mercury retain first place in the Western Conference with wins over Chicago and Sacramento.

On the road at Sacramento, Pondexter scored a team-high 23 points. She recorded her eighth assist, a game high, on Temeka Johnson’s game-winning buzzer beater. In the game, she tied the Mercury record for most free throws made, none missed with 13 (Penny Taylor, September 11, 2007 vs. Los Angeles). Against the Chicago Sky on July 8, she tallied 16 points and assisted on six baskets in the Mercury win.

Pondexter ranks second (20.4 ppg) in the WNBA in scoring, only 0.2 points behind teammate Diana Taurasi, and fourth in assists (5.1 apg) in 2009. She is a two-time WNBA All-Star, a gold-medalist with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team and the 2007 WNBA Finals MVP.

Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Iziane Castro Marques, Indiana’s Katie Douglas, New York’s Essence Carson, Minnesota’s Nicky Anosike, Sacramento’s Courtney Paris, San Antonio’s Becky Hammon and Seattle’s Swin Cash.

About the WNBA
The WNBA is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement and diversity. Comprised of 13 teams, the WNBA is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world. The league concluded its historic 12th regular season with increases in attendance, ratings, Web traffic and merchandise sales. The 2009 WNBA season tipped off June 6 on ABC.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.

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