Phoenix�s Diana Taurasi Named 2004 WNBA Rookie of the Year

NEW YORK, September 27 - Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury was named the 2004 WNBA Rookie of the Year, receiving 42 of a possible 48 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

Other players receiving votes were Washington's Alana Beard (4) and Minnesota's Nicole Ohlde (2).

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
Taurasi becomes the second WNBA player to be selected first overall in the WNBA Draft and win the Rookie of the Year Award in the same season (Chamique Holdsclaw, 1999). The most decorated college player coming into the 2004 WNBA season, Taurasi was a two-time Naismith Player of the Year (2003, 2004) and three-time NCAA champion at the University of Connecticut. Taurasi finished the season ranked fourth in the WNBA in points per game (17.0), 10th in assists per game (3.9) and 14th in minutes per game (33.2), while averaging 4.4 rebounds and 1.26 steals.

Among rookies, Taurasi was first in scoring, second in rebounding and assists, third in steals and free-throw percentage (76.0) and fourth in blocked shots (0.74).

In addition to her individual accomplishments, Taurasi helped the Mercury post 17 victories on the season, nine more than in 2003. That improvement ties the fifth best turnaround in WNBA history. Phoenix's 17-17 record was the first time since the 2000 (20-12) season that the team finished at or above the .500 mark.

As the WNBA Rookie of the Year, Taurasi will receive a Tiffany-designed trophy and $5,000.

Below are the complete results of the 2004 WNBA Rookie of the Year voting, followed by a list of previous winners:

42 Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury
4 Alana Beard Washington Mystics
2 Nicole Ohlde Minnesota Lynx

2003 Cheryl Ford Detroit Shock
2002 Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
2001 Jackie Stiles Portland Fire
2000 Betty Lennox Minnesota Lynx
1999 Chamique Holdsclaw Washington Mystics
1998 Tracy Reid Charlotte Sting

Four networks will carry 2004 WNBA Playoffs action, which tips off on September 24. ABC, ESPN2, NBA TV and Oxygen provide coverage through the Conference Finals. The 2004 WNBA Finals will be televised exclusively on ESPN2.