Phoenix’s Taurasi Nears WNBA Record With 17th Player of the Week Award; Atlanta's de Souza Garners First Such Honor
NEW YORK, June 9, 2014 – Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Erika de Souza of the Atlanta Dream were named the WNBA’s Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played June 2 through June 8.
For Taurasi, a seven-time All-WNBA First Team selection (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004) and former league MVP (2009), the Player of the Week award is the 17th of her career. Her 17 such honors rank third in league history behind only Tamika Catchings (20) and Lauren Jackson (19).
Taurasi’s 20.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, and 4.7 rpg helped Phoenix to a 2-1 mark for the week as the Mercury improved its overall record to 5-2 (second in the Western Conference).
The 11-year pro began her week by registering 20 points, seven assists and four boards in Phoenix’s 87-72 home win over the Seattle Storm. She then poured in a game-high 22 points to go along with three assists, three rebounds, and a steal as the visiting Mercury fell to the Tulsa Shock, 94-78. Taurasi closed out the week with a big effort in a 91-79 double-overtime win at San Antonio over the Stars, including a three-point shot with 9.4 seconds to play that sent the game into overtime. She went on to finish the game with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a steal.
On the season, Taurasi ranks fourth in the WNBA in scoring (18.6 ppg), third in free throw percentage (.949, 37-of-39), and seventh in assists (4.9 apg).
For de Souza, a two-time WNBA All-Star (2009, 2013), the Player of the Week award is the first of her career. The ninth-year pro led the Dream (5-3 overall, tied for first in the East) to a pair of wins last week and, in the process, paced the East in scoring (23.5 ppg), ranked second in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and third in field goal percentage (.667, 20-of-30 shooting). She also contributed 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game despite playing just 27.5 minutes per contest.
De Souza opened her week by tallying a double-double (27 points, 11 rebounds) in a 93-85 win over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks. The native of Brazil then helped the Dream to another home win, this one a 97-59 decision over the Chicago Sky, which had entered the game in sole possession of first place in the East. De Souza filled up the stat sheet vs. Chicago with 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
On the season, de Souza leads the WNBA in field goal percentage (.670 on 63-of-94 shooting), while ranking fifth on the glass (9.5 rpg) and sixth in scoring (18.5 ppg).
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week in the Eastern Conference were Chicago’s Elena Delle Donne, Connecticut’s Alex Bentley, Indiana’s Erlana Larkins, and New York’s Cappie Pondexter. Additional candidates in the Western Conference were Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus, San Antonio’s Sophia Young-Malcolm, Seattle’s Crystal Langhorne, and Tulsa’s Skylar Diggins.
For more information on this week's Players of the Week, visit www.wnba.com/awards.