NEW YORK – Tina Charles of the New York Liberty and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury today were named the WNBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played May 29-June 4.
Charles earned Player of the Week honors for the 22nd time in her eight WNBA seasons, tying her with Tamika Catchings for the most Player of the Week honors in a career. With the Liberty going 2-1 for the week, Charles paced the Eastern Conference in scoring (25.7 ppg), tied for eighth in rebounds (7 rpg), and was sixth in free throw percentage (.938, 15-of-16).
The highlight of the week for the 6-4 center was a career-high 36 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, in a 93-89 win over the visiting Dallas Wings on June 2. Charles also contributed 10 rebounds and three assists in the win.
The former University of Connecticut standout opened her week on May 30 with a 25-point, five-rebound effort in a 90-75 loss to the defending champion Los Angeles Sparks. She closed out the week by extending her string of double-figure scoring games to five, tallying 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in New York’s 88-72 win over the visiting Mercury on June 4.
Taurasi earned Player of the Week honors for the 20th time in her 13-year career. The 20 such honors are third-most in league history behind the 22 each by Catchings and Charles.
Taurasi averaged 27.0 ppg, 3.5 apg and 6.0 made three-point shots as the Mercury went 1-1. The 6-foot guard, also a former UConn star, tied for the scoring lead among Western Conference players with teammate Brittney Griner and tied for seventh in assists. She also made 12 of her 19 shots (.632) from beyond the arc.
Taurasi tipped off her week with a personal season-high 37 points and contributed four assists in a 99-91 road win at the Chicago Sky on June 1. In that game, Taurasi – 8 of-14 from beyond the arc and 11-of-11 at the free throw line – surpassed Katie Smith as the WNBA’s all-time leader in made threes and moved into second place on the league’s career points list, moving ahead of Catchings. The eight three-point baskets tied a WNBA-single game mark she shares with Riquna Williams. It was the third time in her career Taurasi had drained as many threes.
She closed the week with 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and a block in the Mercury’s road loss to the Liberty.
Other candidates for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Chicago’s Stefanie Dolson, the Connecticut Sun’s Jonquel Jones, Dallas’ Skylar Diggins-Smith, Los Angeles’ Candace Parker, the Minnesota Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles, Phoenix’s Griner, and the Washington Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne.
For more information on the Players of the Week, visit www.wnba.com/awards.