Diana Taurasi Named Final Player of the Week

NEW YORK, August 14, 2006 Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury was named WNBA Player of the Week for games played Monday, August 7 through Sunday, August 13. The league-leader in scoring for 2006 and a candidate for the WNBA MVP award, Taurasi earns the third weekly honor of her career and the second this season.

Taurasi led the Mercury to a perfect 4-0 record on the week, extending their winning streak to a franchise-best 7 games, while averaging 30.8 points, 5.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, and shooting a total of 44-for-96 field goals (45.8 percent), 19-for-49 from behind the arc (38.8 percent) and 16-for-19 from the free throw line (84.2 percent).

In arguably one of the best regular season performances ever, Taurasi set and tied numerous records in a 111-110 triple-overtime victory over the Houston Comets on August 10. The third-year pro’s 47 points on 17-for-33 field goals, 8-for-16 three-pointers and 5-for-7 free throws, along with her 9 assists, 6 rebounds, a steal and a block, kept the Mercury’s playoffs hopes alive in a must-win game situation. In the process she broke WNBA single-game records for most points, field-goal attempts, three-point goals made and attempted, and tied the mark for field-goals made (with Seattle’s Lauren Jackson).

Taurasi kept her momentum going into a 95-93 Mercury win over the San Antonio Silver Stars on August 12, with 26 points, 10-for-26 field goals and 4 assists. The following day, she helped her team defeat the Sacramento Monarchs, 81-71, by scoring 29 points on 11-for-27 field goals, including 6-15 three-pointers, and grabbing 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

By the week’s end, Taurasi reached a season total of 860 points, becoming the first WNBA player to reach the 800-point mark and set a league record for the most points ever scored in a single season. Katie Smith previously held the record, tallying 739 points in 2001 with the Minnesota Lynx. In addition, Taurasi surpassed Smith’s record for most three-point goals made in a season (88 set in 2000 with the Lynx), with a total of 112 this year.

Other candidates for WNBA Player of the Week were Charlotte’s Sheri Sam, Los Angeles’ Lisa Leslie, Sacramento’s Kara Lawson, San Antonio’s Sophia Young and Washington’s Alana Beard.

Featuring 14 teams and the greatest female basketball players from around the world, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women’s professional team sports league in U.S. history. The 2006 WNBA Playoffs tips off August 17 and complete coverage will be provided by ABC, ESPN2 and NBA TV through the conference finals. The 2006 WNBA Finals will be televised on ESPN2.

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