Former League MVPs Taurasi, Charles Capture WNBA Player of the Week Honors
NEW YORK, July 7, 2014 – Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Tina Charles of the New York Liberty were named the WNBA’s Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played June 30 through July 6.
For Taurasi, a seven-time All-WNBA First Team selection and former regular season MVP (2009), the Player of the Week award is her second of the season and the 18th of her career. Her 18 such honors rank third in league history behind only Tamika Catchings (20) and Lauren Jackson (19).
Taurasi guided Phoenix to a 2-0 mark for the week as the Mercury improved its Western Conference-leading record to 13-3. Over the week, the University of Connecticut product ranked second in the West in scoring (23.5 ppg), third in three-point field goal percentage (.600, 9-of-15), tied for fourth in assists (5.0 apg), and placed in the top 10 in overall field goal percentage (.517, 15-of-29), while also contributing 3.5 rpg.
The WNBA’s Western Conference Player of the Month in June, Taurasi opened her week by registering 15 points, five rebounds and four assists while seeing just 26 minutes of action in an 87-69 defeat of the visiting Chicago Sky. In that game, the 11-year pro moved ahead of Katie Smith into second place on the WNBA’s all-time points scored list, doing so in 166 fewer games than Smith, who retired following the 2013 campaign. Taurasi went on to finish the week with 6,489 career points after pouring in a season-high 32 – including a season-best seven made three-pointers – and six assists in a 94-89 road win over the Los Angeles Sparks.
For the season, Taruasi ranks fifth in the WNBA in scoring (18.9 ppg), second in assists (6.1 apg), and third in both three-pointers made (35) and free throw percentage (.921, 82-of-89).
Charles – the WNBA’s 2012 regular season MVP – led the Liberty to a 2-0 mark for the week with wins over Tulsa and Minnesota en route to earning her first Player of the Week award of the season and the 11th such honor of her career. For the week, Charles led the Eastern Conference in points (30.0 ppg), rebounds (12.0 rpg), and minutes (36.7 mpg), ranked fourth in field goal percentage (.675 , 27-of-40), and tied for second in steals (2.0 spg), while also averaging two assists and 1.5 blocks per outing.
Another former UConn star, Charles opened her week with a 28-point, 14-rebound effort in a 90-74 win over Tulsa on July 1, a game in which she also contributed two assists, two steals, and a pair of blocks. She then scored a career-high 32 points and added 10 boards for her eighth double-double of the season as New York earned an 87-80 victory over Minnesota on July 6.
Following her impressive week, Charles now ranks sixth in the WNBA in scoring (17.6 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (9.3 rpg).
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week in the Eastern Conference were Atlanta’s Erika de Souza, Chicago’s Jamierra Faulkner, and Connecticut’s Katie Douglas. Additional candidates in the Western Conference were Phoenix’s Candice Dupree, San Antonio’s Kayla McBride, and Tulsa’s Glory Johnson.
For more information on this week's Players of the Week, visit WNBA.com/awards