Sandrine Gruda and Candace Parker Named WNBA Players of the Week

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2009Sandrine Gruda of the Connecticut Sun and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks were named the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for regular season games played Monday, August 17 through Sunday, August 23.

Gruda wins the first Player of the Week award of her career after averaging 18.0 points on 51.0 percent (25-49) shooting, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 2.0 assists. She led Connecticut to a 2-1 record with wins over New York and Minnesota. She ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference in both scoring and rebounding and was the only player in the top five in both categories.

Gruda set career highs for points (24) and rebounds (12) against the Liberty Friday night to secure her second double-double of the season. One game prior, she set a career high in blocks with four in Connecticut’s win over New York. Gruda capped her week Saturday with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists in the Sun’s come-from-behind win over Minnesota.

After missing the Sun’s first eight games due to the European Women’s Basketball Tournament, Gruda is averaging 13.4 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds. She also averages 1.7 blocks, which ranks third among league leaders.

Parker earns her second career Player of the Week award and her first in 2009 after averaging 16.0 points on 45.7 percent (21-46) shooting, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 3.3 assists. On the strength of Parker’s performance, the Los Angeles Sparks went 4-0, including wins over Atlanta and San Antonio. Parker, whose 10.5 rebounds per game tied a league high, was one of four players to average a double-double for the week.

Parker recorded two double-doubles last week to take the league-lead with nine in just 18 games played. Against Atlanta, she scored a season-high 23 points in the Sparks’ four-point road win. She scored 15 points and collected 12 rebounds while handing out five assists and blocking four shots in the week’s opening game against Washington. The game against the Mystics began a stretch in which Parker blocked four shots in three consecutive games.

The 2008 MVP and Rookie of the Year is averaging 11.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season after sitting out eight games while recovering from the birth of her daughter. In her last five games, she’s averaging 16.4 points and 9.8 rebounds. Parker is a former No. 1 overall pick and an Olympic gold medalist.

Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry, Detroit’s Katie Smith, New York’s Shameka Christon, Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi, Sacramento’s Nicole Powell, San Antonio’s Sophia Young and Seattle’s Lauren Jackson.

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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