Mercury center earns 10th career Player of the Week honor
2014 WNBA Champion, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and two-time WNBA scoring leader Brittney Griner was named the Western Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office today. It’s the second Player of the Week honor of the season for Griner and the 10th of her career, the second-most by a Mercury player in franchise history (Diana Taurasi, 20).
Griner earns the award after leading the Mercury to a 2-1 record over the course of last week against the league’s top-two teams, all with WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi sidelined with a hip injury. The 6-foot-9 center posted averages of of 26.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 3.3 assists per game, while shooting 54.5 percent (36-of-66) from the field.
Griner tipped off the week with a season-high 33 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in the Mercury’s overtime win on July 7 at Las Vegas. It marked the eighth game in WNBA history of 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 3+ blocks, and the second in franchise history (Taurasi on June 20, 2008). Griner followed up her big performance against the Aces with 29 points and 15 rebounds in the team’s win on July 9 against first-place Seattle, then notched 16 points and nine rebounds in the team’s seven-point loss to the Storm in Seattle on July 11.
In the Mercury’s game on July 9 against Seattle, Griner recorded her franchise-leading 51st career double-double and her 10th of the season. Her 10 double-doubles matched the franchise record for double-doubles in a single season (Griner in 2018 and Candice Dupree in 2011) with 13 games remaining this season. Additionally, Griner is four blocks shy of becoming the third player in WNBA history to 700 career blocks.
Griner is off to an MVP-caliber season, ranking inside the top-5 in scoring (20.5 ppg – 4th), field goal percentage (57.6 – 2nd), rebounding (career-best 9.7 rpg – 4th) and blocks per game (2.0 – 1st), the only player in the league to rank in the top-5 in all four categories. Additionally, Griner is the only player in the league this season averaging 20+ points, 9+ rebounds and 2+ blocks per game. Since she was drafted, no players have put up such numbers in a season, while only three players in WNBA history have averaged such numbers in a season (Lauren Jackson – 2007, Candace Parker – 2010 and Sylvia Fowles – 2011).
WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi, two-time WNBA scoring champion Brittney Griner and four-time WNBA All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith return to Phoenix this summer, as the trio attempts to lead the Mercury to a WNBA-record tying fourth championship in 2021.