Sunday, July 15, 2018

Players set several WNBA marks during record-breaking week

NEW YORK (AP) — Several players have etched their names in the WNBA record books.

Rebekkah Brunson is now the league's all-time leading rebounder while Diana Taurasi broke the mark for most field goals mad.

Brunson broke Tamika Catchings' record with 12 boards last Thursday against Los Angeles. The longtime Lynx forward started the day in third all-time before also passing Lisa Leslie.

"Anyone that has been around a great rebounder, you know, that has an innate ability to have this relentless pursuit to be the first one to the ball," said Minnesota Coach Reeve. "Rebekkah is almost never the biggest post player on the floor, but she just plays bigger than she is because of the drive that she has."

Taurasi passed Tina Thompson for most field goals all-time on Thursday in a win over Connecticut.

It isn't only league records are being broken.

Sue Bird topped the franchise mark for most points in Seattle history while the Chicago Sky set a Guinness World Record for largest basketball lesson as part of the inaugural Chicago Fit Health and Fitness Festival.

Washington coach Mike Thibault extended his own record for most coaching wins in WNBA history when he earned his 300th victory, beating Los Angeles on Friday night.

"It's easy when you have a bunch of good players who play hard and good assistant coaches and staff members. Also having friends and family that boost you up when you're having a down day," Thibault said.

Buoyed by three wins this week, Seattle took over the No. 1 position on Tuesday in the power poll for the first time since it began three years ago.

POWER POLL: A look at this week's WNBA poll:

1. Seattle (15-5): Breanna Stewart is putting together an MVP type season for the team with the best record in the league.

2. Phoenix (14-6): Four of the Mercury's next six games are against bottom teams in the league.

3. Washington (12-7): Mystics went .500 on west coast trip with a win over Los Angeles and a loss in Seattle; they have another road swing coming up this week.

4. Minnesota (11-8): Lynx sandwiched losses to Indiana and Chicago around a win over Los Angeles.

5. Los Angeles (12-8): Sparks have lost three straight for only second time in three years.

6. Dallas (10-8): Skylar Diggins-Smith and Liz Cambage have done a great job leading the Wings. Rookie Azura Stevens lately has become a significant contributor.

7. Connecticut (10-9): Sun finally returning home after what seems like a month on the road. Favorable schedule rest of the way for the Sun, who hope to get Alyssa Thomas back from shoulder injury this week.

8. Atlanta (9-9): Dream are finally healthy and starting to play like coach Nikki Collen hoped when she took the job this year.

9. Las Vegas (8-12): A'ja Wilson has been nearly unstoppable. The rookie averaged 22.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and three blocks this past week.

10. Chicago (7-12): Sky need to make a push if they hope to reach the playoffs.

11. New York (5-14): The Liberty continue to struggle in their new Westchester home; they are 3-8 at the County Center.

12. Indiana (2-17): The Fever won their second game of the season, beating Minnesota in the regular season for the first time since 2011.

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PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Breanna Stewart averaged 25 points, nine rebounds and 1.7 steals to help Seattle win all three of its games this week and move into first in the standings. Liz Cambage, Elena Delle Donne, and A'ja Wilson, Skylar Diggins-Smith and also received votes this week.

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GAME OF THE WEEK:

Mercury at Sun, Friday. It's been special whenever Diana Taurasi returns to Connecticut to play the Sun after her memorable career at UConn.

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SWAP: The Connecticut Sun traded guard Alex Bentley to the Atlanta Dream for Layshia Clarendon and a second-round pick in 2019 on Monday. Bentley is averaging 10 points for the Sun this season as the team's sixth player. She was drafted by the Atlanta Dream in 2013 with the No. 13 pick before being traded in a three-way deal to Connecticut.

Clarendon arrived in Atlanta in 2016 and is averaging just 4.3 points this season. She was drafted ninth by Indiana in 2013.

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CAMP DAYS:

Five WNBA teams will have their annual camp day games, which usually translates to lots of energy in the buildings for the afternoon starts. Connecticut, Washington and Indiana all host camp days on Wednesday. It's believed to be the first one in franchise history for the Sun.

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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To find the poll online: https://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-wnba-powerpoll-week-9

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