By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Looking Back On The WNBA Finals
The Shock, who swept San Antonio in three games, became the second team in league history to win a third championship. Only the Houston Comets, who won the first four (1997-2000), have more titles. The Los Angeles Sparks, who won the championship in 2001 and 2002, are the only other team with more than one.
Smith, a 34-year old starter for the gold-medal winning United States Olympic team, captured the series MVP award.
“This is our third WNBA crown in six seasons,” Smith stated. “It’s been fun. It’s just been a lot of fun.”
Detroit swept the league’s best regular-season team. Only the Houston Comets were able to do such a feat this year, winning all three games against San Antonio.
The Silver Stars led by six on several occassions in the game, but the Shock pulled a way and won the game by sixteen points. Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Deanna Nolan added 13 and 12 points in the victory.
Ann Wauters and Sophia Young led San Antonio with 19 and 15 points. The Shock held team leader Becky Hammon to just 5 points, shooting 1-of-10 from the field.
PARKER WINS MVP AND ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD
Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker received the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player Award in addition to receiving the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award, becoming the first player to win both honors.
Parker, who was unanimously selected rookie of the year, capped off a big year of awards. She was named the College Player of the Year, won a National Championship for the Tennessee Volunteers, selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, won a Gold Medal in the Olympics in Beijing, China, and she was named to the all Rookie team.
The all-rookie team, which was selected by league coaches, included Parker, Minnesota’s Candice Wiggins and Nicky Anosike, Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles, Houston’s Matee Ajavon, and Connecticut’s Amber Holt. Ajavon and Holt tied for the fifth spot on the team.
Parker edged Connecticut’s Lindsay Whalen and Seattle’s Sue Bird in the MVP race. She was also selected as one of the WNBA’s Peak Performers along with Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Lindsay Whalen of the Connecticut Sun.
Other 2008 WNBA Award Winners include: Candice Wiggins-Minnesota Lynx-Sixth Woman of the Year; Mike Thibault-Connecticut Sun-WNBA Coach of the Year presented by AOL.com; Vickie Johnson-San Antonio Silver Stars- Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award; Ebony Hoffman-Indiana Fever-Most Improved Player; Lisa Leslie-Los Angeles Sparks-Defensive Player of the Year.
The All-Defensive Team selections are: Lisa Leslie-Los Angeles Sparks, Tamika Catchings-Indiana Fever, Sophia Young-San Antonio Silver Stars, Ticha Penicheiro-Sacramento Monarchs, and Tullly Bevilaqua-Indiana Fever.
PARKER TOPS WNBA MOST POPULAR JERSEY LIST
Parker also topped the WNBA’s list of most popular player jerseys, based on sales at the NBA Store and WNBAStore.com during the 2008 WNBA regular season.
Parker’s jersey sold more than any other rookie jersey in the history of the WNBA. The Sparks tops this season’s list of most popular WNBA team merchandise.
Seven players and four teams that competed in this year’s WNBA’s Playoffs presented by Adidas appear on lthe lists. They include Parker, Lisa Leslie-Los Angeles Sparks, Janel McCarville-New York Liberty, Essence Carson-New York Liberty, Shameka Christon-New York Liberty, Tamika Catchings-Indiana Fever, and Becky Hammon-San Antonio Silver Stars.
Here is a look at a list of the 2008 WNBA Most Popular Player Jerseys and Most Popular Team Merchandise:
Top 10 Most Popular Player Jerseys:
. Candace Parker- Los Angeles Sparks 2. Lisa Leslie-Los Angeles Sparks 3. Becky Hammon-San Antonio Silver Stars 4. Janel McCarville-New York Liberty 5. Essence Carson-New York Liberty 6. Diana Taurasi-Phoenix Mercury 7. Shameka Christon-New York Liberty 8. Tamika Catchings-Indiana Fever 9. Candice Wiggins-Minnesota Lynx 10. Tina Thompson-Houston Comets
Top 5 Most Popular Team Merchandise:
. Los Angeles Sparks 2. New York Liberty 3. San Antonio Silver Stars 4. Phoenix Mercury 5. Seattle Storm
Sales of WNBA merchandise were up more than 36 percent versus last season, including a 46 percent increase in jersey sales, based on combined sales from the NBA Store and WNBAStore.com.