Mercury center earns franchise-record and league-best fifth of the season
PHOENIX – 2014 WNBA Champion, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and two-time WNBA scoring leader Brittney Griner was once again named the Western Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office today. It’s the 13th honor of her career, the second-most by a Mercury player in franchise history (Diana Taurasi, 20), her franchise-record fifth of the season, the most of any player in the WNBA.
Griner’s win marks the fifth consecutive week a Mercury player has won the honor (Griner on July 12, August 23, and September 6; Skylar Diggins-Smith on August 30), and the second consecutive for Griner and fourth in the last five weeks. With her fifth Player of the Week honor, Griner now holds the franchise record for the most in one season, surpassing Taurasi’s mark of four in 2008. Additionally, with the six total Player of the Week awards the Mercury has won this season, it marks the most in one season in franchise history, surpassing the five won in 2008.
Griner earns the award after averaging 23.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 blocks, while shooting 62.5 percent (20-of-32) from the field. Griner posted double-doubles in both games and now stands at 15 on the season, a franchise record for most in a season.
Griner’s best performance of the week came Saturday against league-leading Connecticut when the 6-foot-9 center stuffed the box score with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks. Despite the narrow loss, Griner threw down her 16th career dunk and her single-season record fourth of the season while also knocking done her lone three-point attempt. In a matchup of the league’s two leading MVP candidates, Griner out-dueled Connecticut center Jonquel Jones, who was held to 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Brianna Turner.
Griner continues to rank inside the top-5 in scoring (20.8 ppg – 2nd), field goal percentage (57.8 – 2nd), rebounding (career-best 9.5 rpg – 4th), blocks per game (2.0 – 1st) and efficiency rating (26.2 – 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).
2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medalists Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and 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. The final regular season home game is this Sunday, Sept. 19, at NOON at Footprint Center when the Mercury takes on the Las Vegas Aces before heading to the WNBA Playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.