Tina Charles and Candace Parker named WNBA players of week on June 18
Tina Charles of the Connecticut Sun and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks were named the WNBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week presented by Boost Mobile, respectively, for games played from June 11 to 17.
This marks the first season that Boost Mobile – the leaguewide marquee partner of the WNBA – has presented the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week awards.
For Charles, the 2010 WNBA Rookie of the Year and 2011 All-WNBA First Team selection, the Player of the Week honor is the sixth of her career and her first this season. The University of Connecticut product led the WNBA in rebounds (14.3 rpg) and ranked eighth in scoring (20.7 ppg) during the week as the Sun posted a 2-1 record and improved to 8-2, tops in the Eastern Conference. In the process, Charles became the first player in league history to post three 20-20 games in a career as she logged 23 points and 22 rebounds in a road win over the Atlanta Dream on June 17. She also knocked down a pair of free throws with 3.1 seconds left to play in that game, which gave Connecticut its first lead of the day and a 75-73 victory.
Other notable efforts by Charles included 19 points and 13 rebounds in an 87-81 defeat at the hands of the visiting Los Angeles Sparks and a 20-point, eight-rebound outing in a 97-55 win over the New York Liberty. After the solid week, Charles ranks second in the league in rebounding (12.1 rpg) and third in scoring (20.8 ppg) for the season.
For Parker, who earned league MVP and Rookie of the Year accolades in 2008, the Player of the Week award presented by Boost Mobile is the seventh of her career. It is the second time she has earned the award during the first four weeks of the 2012 WNBA campaign, a fast start that follows a solid 2011 campaign that was shortened by a midseason knee injury.
Despite the Sparks posting a 1-2 record on the week, the University of Tennessee product helped Los Angeles remain solidly in second place in the West with an overall 7-3 mark.
Parker displayed her 2008 MVP form in a nationally televised game (ESPN2) on June 1, tallying game-highs of 33 points, 16 rebounds, 13 defensive boards, eight assists, and five blocks while contributing three steals in an 87-81 road win over Connecticut, which, like Los Angeles, had entered the day at 6-1. Parker's biggest play came with 1:10 to play when, with the Sparks trailing 81-80, she blocked a layup attempt by Charles on a fast break. She also blocked a layup attempt by Renee Montgomery moments later as Los Angeles scored the final seven points of the game for the win.
The fifth-year pro also had a stellar performance in a losing effort at San Antonio on June 16, recording 21 points and 11 rebounds.
For the season, Parker ranks atop the WNBA in blocks with 2.7 bpg (more than double the 1.33 of second-ranked Angel McCoughtry). She also is third in the league in rebounds (9.6 rpg) and fifth in scoring (19.4 ppg), leading all Western Conference players in both categories. Like Charles, Parker has seven double-doubles on the year, second in the league behind only the eight by Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles.
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week presented by Boost Mobile were Atlanta’s Armintie Price, Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles, and Washington’s Crystal Langhorne in the East, and, in the West, Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen, Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner, San Antonio’s Becky Hammon, Seattle’s Sue Bird, and Tulsa’s Temeka Johnson.