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WNBA names players of the week

September 8, 2008 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) News Release

NEW YORK, Sept. 8, 2008 - Janel McCarville of the New York Liberty and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury were named the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Sept. 1 through Sunday, Sept. 7.

McCarville collects the second Player of the Week award of the season and her career after averaging 23.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists on 60.8 percent (31-51) shooting from the field. She led the team to a 3-0 record on the week with wins over Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. In the process, the Liberty locked up their record-tying ninth playoff berth in the WNBA's 12 seasons. New York currently sits in third place in the Eastern Conference with four games remaining. McCarville opened the week with a career-high 33 points in New York's 90-87 overtime victory at Houston. Her scoring output also tied the franchise record for points in a game. One game later against Atlanta, she poured in 21 points in the playoff-clinching win, marking the fourth time in her last six games she scored 20 or more points. Her 16 points against Chicago gave her the team high in each of the Liberty's three wins this week.

The former No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 WNBA Draft, McCarville is currently averaging 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists, all of which are career highs. In 2007, she was named the WNBA Most Improved Player in her first season with the Liberty after the team selected her with the third pick in the 2007 WNBA Charlotte Sting Dispersal Draft.

Taurasi earns her fourth Player of the Week award this season and the ninth of her career, which trails only Lisa Leslie, Lauren Jackson and Tamika Catchings. Over the past week, she averaged a league-high 30.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.3 blocks and 2.0 steals while shooting 46.9 percent (23-49) from the field and 47.6 percent (10-21) from behind the three-point arc. On the week, the Mercury defeated three teams with whom they are competing for the final playoff spot to keep the team's postseason hopes alive, Minnesota, Sacramento and Houston.

Taurasi paced the Mercury in each of the team's three games posting scoring totals of 33, 32 and 26 points. With her performance, she became the first player in WNBA history to total at least 90 points, 18 rebounds, 12 assists, 10 blocks and six steals in a three-game span. With her 33 points against Houston and 32 versus Minnesota, she tied Jackson's WNBA record for most games in a career with 30 or more points. Both Taurasi and Jackson have reached the plateau on 20 occasions.

In just her fifth season, but already one of the most prolific scorers in league history, Taurasi leads the WNBA in scoring with 24.1 points per game this season. Earlier in the year, she became the fastest player to reach the 3,000-point milestone, besting Jackson's record by 11 games. Continuing her terrific season, she won her second Olympic gold medal in Beijing as a member of the U.S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team. A former No. 1 overall pick and WNBA Rookie of the Year, Taurasi led the Mercury to the franchise's first WNBA Championship in 2007. She is also a three-time WNBA All-Star, two-time All-WNBA First Team selection, a former Peak Performer in scoring and owner of WNBA records for scoring average and total points in a season.

Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week were Connecticut's Tamika Whitmore, Detroit's Plenette Pierson, Los Angeles' Candace Parker, Sacramento's Kara Lawson, San Antonio's Becky Hammon and Seattle's Sue Bird.

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