NEW YORK -- In celebration of the WNBA's landmark 20th season, the league today unveiled the 20 greatest and most influential players in its history, including former Rutgers great Cappie Pondexter. The announcement of the WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon was made on ESPN's SportsCenter: Face-to-Face with Hannah Storm.
Pondexter, now in her second season with the Sky, has amassed 1,348 assists and 6,043 points in her eleven-year career. She is the seventh player in the WNBA to score more than 6,000 points. Additionally, she is a two-time WNBA champion (Phoenix Mercury '07 & `09), a seven-time WNBA All-Star and a three-time All-WNBA First Team selection.
"The 20 women honored today are an extraordinarily accomplished group both on and off the basketball court," said WNBA President Lisa Borders. "On the court, they represent the absolute best in women's professional basketball and are in so many ways larger than life. Off the court, they represent their teams, hometowns and communities in which they live and work with the utmost professionalism. And most importantly, they represent the hopes and dreams of generations of young girls all over the world -- the future of the WNBA."
The WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon includes nine current players: Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen. Eleven former players are also among the honorees: Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Deanna Nolan, Ticha Penicheiro, Katie Smith, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson and Teresa Weatherspoon.
"Dominant. Exciting. Game-changers. That's what comes to mind with these 20 incredibly talented, skilled and entertaining players," said Renee Brown, the WNBA's Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, who has been an executive with the WNBA since its formation in 1996. "There are scorers, playmakers, ball-handlers, rebounders, defensive stoppers, leaders and players who have brought out the best in their teammates. There are players who built the league, players who elevated the game to new heights and players who will carry the torch and inspire the next generation of superstars. Of the more than 850 players who have taken the court during our 20 seasons, I can't think of 20 women who better represent where the league has come from and where it is headed."
Voting for the WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon was conducted by a 15-member committee comprised of Carol Blazejowski and Ann Meyers Drysdale (women's basketball pioneers and members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women's Basketball Hall of fame); Michael Cooper and Cheryl Reeve (current WNBA head coaches); Van Chancellor and Anne Donovan (members of the Naismith HOF and WBHOF, and former WNBA head coaches); media members Doug Feinberg (Associated Press), Mel Greenberg (womhoops.blogspot.com; also a member of the WBHOF), and Howard Megdal (Excelle Sports editor); Doris Burke, LaChina Robinson, and Pam Ward (ESPN basketball broadcasters); Mechelle Voepel and Michelle Smith (espnW.com writers); and Melanie Jackson (espnW.com editor).
The WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon:
Seimone Augustus -- Minnesota Lynx (2006-Current)
Sue Bird -- Seattle Storm (2002-Current)
Swin Cash -- Detroit Shock (2002-07), Seattle Storm (2008-11), Chicago Sky (2012-13), Atlanta Dream (2014), New York Liberty (2014-Current)
Tamika Catchings -- Indiana Fever (2002-Current)
Cynthia Cooper-Dyke* -- Houston Comets (1997-2000, 2003)
Yolanda Griffith* -- Sacramento Monarchs (1999-2007), Seattle Storm (2008), Indiana Fever (2009)
Becky Hammon* -- New York Liberty (1999-2006), San Antonio Stars (2007-2014)
Lauren Jackson* -- Seattle Storm (2001-12)
Lisa Leslie* -- Los Angeles Sparks (1997-2006, 2008-09)
Maya Moore -- Minnesota Lynx (2011-Current)
Deanna Nolan* -- Detroit Shock (2001-09)
Candace Parker -- Los Angeles Sparks (2008-Current)
Ticha Penicheiro* -- Sacramento Monarchs (1998-2009), Los Angeles Sparks (2010-11), Chicago Sky (2012)
Cappie Pondexter -- Phoenix Mercury (2006-09), New York Liberty (2010-14), Chicago Sky (2015-Current)
Katie Smith* -- Minnesota Lynx (1999-2005), Detroit Shock (2005-2009), Washington Mystics (2010), Seattle Storm (2011-12), New York Liberty (2013)
Sheryl Swoopes* -- Houston Comets (1997-2000, 2002-2007), Seattle Storm (2008), Tulsa Shock (2011)
Diana Taurasi -- Phoenix Mercury (2004-2014, Current)
Tina Thompson* -- Houston Comets (1997-2008), Los Angeles Sparks (2009-11), Seattle Storm (2012-13)
Teresa Weatherspoon* -- New York Liberty (1997-2003), Los Angeles Sparks (2004)
Lindsay Whalen -- Connecticut Sun (2004-09), Minnesota Lynx (2010-Current)
*Former WNBA players
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