Atlanta’s McCoughtry Shines, Phoenix’s Griner Continues Breakout Season En Route to Player of the Week Honors

NEW YORK, June 23, 2014 – Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream and Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury were named the WNBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played June 16 through June 22.

For McCoughtry – who led Atlanta to a 2-1 mark as the Dream improved its Eastern Conference-leading record to 9-4 – this marks her first Player of the Week award of the season and the 12th of her career. The former Louisville star averaged a conference-best 26.0 points for the week, while also contributing 7.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game. She also ranked among the conference leaders in free throw percentage (.950, on 19-of-20 from the line).

McCoughtry opened her week by scoring a game-high 27 points and adding six rebounds, four assists, and three steals in an 83-73 home win over the Washington Mystics on June 18. Two days later, she paced the Dream with 18 points and six assists as Atlanta topped the visiting New York Liberty, 85-64, tying a franchise record with six consecutive victories. The sixth-year pro closed out the week on June 22 with a personal season high of 33 points, shooting 10-of-11 from the free throw line in an 85-78 road loss at New York.

On the season, McCoughtry ranks second in the WNBA in scoring (20.3 ppg), third in steals (2.5 spg), and 11th in assists (4.3 apg).

En route to earning the first Player of the Week honor of her career, Griner – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm – led Phoenix to a 2-0 mark with wins over conference foes Minnesota and Tulsa. For the week, Griner ranked second in the West in scoring (27.5 ppg) and tied for second in rebounding (11.0 rpg). She also paced the West in both field goal percentage (.767, 23-of-30 from the field) and blocks (4.0 bpg; 2.5 more than the second-ranked player), while sharing the lead in free throw accuracy (1.000, hitting all nine shots from the charity stripe).

The former Baylor star opened the week with a monster effort in a 92-79 win over visiting Minnesota on June 18, pouring in a then career-high 27 points and matching her career-high of 18 rebounds, while adding two blocks. The victory, Phoenix’s second in as many tries against the Lynx, came after the club had dropped 10 straight regular-season contests to Minnesota and 14 in a row including postseason play. Two days later, Griner reached a new personal best in scoring with 28 points, and matched her career high with six blocks in a 91-80 victory over the Shock.

Following her impressive week, Griner now leads the league in blocks (3.3 bpg), ranks second in field goal percentage (.600), and is seventh in both scoring (17.4 ppg) and boards (8.6 rpg).

With Griner’s award, it marks the second straight week in which a member of the “3 to See” from the heralded 2013 Draft class earned Player of the Week honors in the West. Tulsa’s Skylar Diggins – the No. 3 overall selection in 2013 – garnered the award a week ago.

Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week in the Eastern Conference were Chicago’s Jessica Breland and Epiphanny Prince. Additional candidates in the Western Conference were Minnesota’s Maya Moore, San Antonio’s Danielle Robinson, Seattle’s Sue Bird and Camille Little, and Tulsa’s Skylar Diggins and Glory Johnson.

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