Mercury’s Griner, Sun’s Jones and Sky’s Vandersloot earn 2017 WNBA Peak Performer Awards
NEW YORK – Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, Connecticut Sun forward/center Jonquel Jones and Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot have won the 2017 WNBA Peak Performer Awards in scoring, rebounding and assists, respectively, the WNBA announced today.
The WNBA presents the Peak Performer Awards annually to the players who lead the league in each of those categories during the regular season. Each winner will receive a trophy crafted by Tiffany & Co. in honor of her accomplishments.
Griner averaged 21.9 points per game in 26 appearances to earn the first scoring title of her five-year career, surpassing her previous career high of 15.6 points in 2014. The 6-9 Griner also topped the WNBA in blocked shots with 2.50 per game, making her the first player ever to lead the league in scoring and blocks in the same season.
A four-time All-Star selection, Griner recorded six games of at least 30 points this season after entering 2017 with none in 121 career games. On June 7, Griner scored a career-high 38 points (on 15-of-19 shooting from the field) in a 98-90 overtime victory against the Indiana Fever – the highest-scoring game in the WNBA this season.
Griner scored at least 29 points in each of Phoenix’s last three games, all wins for the Mercury, which earned the fifth seed in the 2017 WNBA Playoffs. The Mercury will host the Seattle Storm in a first-round, single-elimination game on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Storm forward Breanna Stewart ranked second in the WNBA in scoring with 19.9 points per game, followed by New York Liberty center Tina Charles (19.74 ppg), Washington Mystics forward/guard Elena Delle Donne (19.72) and Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles (18.9).
Jones won her first rebounding title with a historic performance on the glass. In her second season, the 6-6 Jones set WNBA records for rebounding average with 11.9 per game and total rebounds with 403 in 34 games. Both single-season marks were previously held by Charles, who averaged 11.7 rebounds and totaled 398 boards for Connecticut in 2010.
A first-time All-Star in 2017, Jones registered three of the WNBA’s four games of 20 or more rebounds this season (Washington center Krystal Thomas had the other). On Aug. 29, Jones hauled in a WNBA season high of 22 rebounds against the Mystics – two boards shy of Chamique Holdsclaw’s single-game record of 24.
Behind Jones, the Sun made the playoffs for the first time since 2012. As the No. 4 seed, Connecticut will host a second-round, single-elimination game against a yet-to-be-determined opponent on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Fowles was the WNBA’s other player to average double-figure rebounds this season, with 10.4 per game. Thomas (9.6 rpg) ranked third in the league in rebounding average, Charles (9.4) finished fourth and Wings forward Glory Johnson (9.1) was fifth.
Like Jones, Vandersloot earned her Peak Performer Award with a record-setting season. Vandersloot averaged 8.1 assists per game, breaking Ticha Penicheiro’s record of 8.0 assists with the Sacramento Monarchs in 2002. This marks the second assists title in seven seasons for Vandersloot, who averaged a league-leading 5.8 assists in 2015 – her previous career high.
The 2015 All-WNBA Second Team selection set a WNBA record this season with six consecutive games with at least 10 assists. The 5-8 Vandersloot notched a career-high 14 assists against the Los Angeles Sparks on July 20, tied for the most in a WNBA game this season.
Atlanta Dream guard Layshia Clarendon was second in assist average with 6.65 per game. New all-time assists leader Sue Bird of Seattle (6.63 apg), Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith (5.8) and Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (4.5) rounded out the top five.
About the WNBA
The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. The league, which counts Verizon as its leaguewide marquee partner, completed its 21st regular season on Sept. 3, 2017.
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