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Past articles:
  • Hitting the last-second shot

  • Scholarships,
    Part I

  • Scholarships,
    Part II

  • Media Coverage of Girls' Sports

  • Carleton hoopsters visit Thailand

  • National Girls and Women in Sports Day

  • Improving Agility

  • Lisa Leslie wins Flo Hyman Award

  • March Madness

  • New Trier High School

  • Hoops & Heroes Awards

  • High School Champions

  • One Nation, One Flag, One People

  • Amateurism

  • Cross Court Options

  • Coaching Boys

  • WNBA 2001 Rookies

  • Gball's 2001 WNBA Awards
    Leslie named Player of the Year for Second Straight Season

    by Dave Wohlhueter

    Los Angeles center Lisa Leslie has been named WNBA Player of the Year by for the second consecutive season. The 6-5 veteran is also a member of the WNBA first team for the 2001 campaign.

    Leslie, who led the Sparks to a regular-season 28-4 record and unbeaten at home, ranked in the top three in five individual statistical categories. She was No. 1 in field goals made (221), No. 2 in scoring (19.5) and blocked shots (2.29), and No. 3 in rebounding (9.6) and double-doubles (16).

    In the 2001 WNBA all-star game, Leslie came off the bench to be named the most valuable player with 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. In addition to being a force in the paint, she can also step outside and hit the 3-pt. shot.

    Joining Leslie up front on the first team are forwards Chamique Holdsclaw of Washington and Tina Thompson of Houston. Holdsclaw was fourth in the league in rebounding (8.8), and fifth in scoring (16.8) and double-doubles (10). Thompson saw yeoman duty despite a number of injuries. She was third in the WNBA in minutes played (36.7) per outing and scoring (19.3), fourth in double-doubles (11) and sixth in rebounding (7.8).

    The Comets' Janeth Arcain earned first-team honors in the backcourt at shooting guard. Arcain came into her own this season and teamed up with Thompson to keep Houston competitive for the entire summer. Arcain ranked second in the WNBA in field goals made (217) and fourth in scoring (18.5), minutes played (36.1) and free throw percentage (.900).

    The first-team point guard is Ticha Penicheiro of Sacramento, who was the league's assist leader (7.5) for the second consecutive season and ranked third in assists per turnover ratio (2.69).

    Named second-team at center is the Monarch's Yolanda Griffith, who lost a fierce battle to Leslie. Griffith finished the regular-season No. 1 in double-doubles (18 out of 32 games) and rebounding (11.2), was third in field goal percentage (.522), and fifth in steals (1.97). She averaged 16.2 ppg.

    The second team forwards are Katie Smith of Minnesota and Natalie Williams of Utah. Smith set a league record for scoring average (23.1), while making the most 3-pt. shots (85) and playing the most minutes (38.6). Ranked fifth in free throw percentage (.895), Smith took the most shots (275) from the charity stripe and converted the most (246). Williams was second in the WNBA in rebounding (9.9) and double-doubles (17), and scored 14.2 ppg.

    The second-team shooting guard is Charlotte's Andrea Stinson (14.1 ppg., .484 FG,), who was fifth in 3-pt. field goal percentage (.446).

    There was a tie at point guard between two different types of players. Utah's Jennifer Azzi and Debbie Black of Miami share that honor. Azzi ranked No. 1 in the WNBA in 3-pt. field goal percentage (.514) while averaging 8.6 ppg. She was No. 2 in minutes played (37.7), which was a feat in itself due to her previous injury history. Azzi also ranked third in free throw percentage (.917), fourth in assists (5.3), and was fifth in assists per turnover ratio (2.48), and 3-pointers made (55).

    Black, selected as the Defensive Player of the Year, is a fiery leader on the court. The 5-2 guard was No. 1 in the WNBA in steals (2.56) and steals per turnover ratio (1.61). She averaged 3.8 assists, 5.6 ppg. and 3.9 rpg.

    Charlotte power forward Allison Feaster was given the Most Improved Player Award. Feaster was traded to the Sting last fall by Los Angeles. With the Sparks, she averaged 6.3 ppg. as a guard, but was moved to forward in Charlotte. This past season, she averaged 11.4 ppg. and was second in the WNBA in free throw percentage (.921). She ranked fifth in the league in 3-pt. field goals made (55).

    The Rookie of the Year is Portland guard Jackie Stiles. Stiles averaged 14.9 ppg. and was seventh in the WNBA in 3-pt. field goals made (50), while placing sixth in 3-pt. field goal percentage (.431).

    Sting coach Anne Donovan, in her first year at Charlotte, was named Coach of the Year. Donovan inherited a team that was last in the Eastern Conference (8-24), and not only made it a playoff contender but a finalist for the Eastern crown. The Sting was 18-14 (fourth place) for the regular season, and finished the year on a seven-game winning streak. Charlotte won its first playoff game vs. Cleveland, but saw a franchise-record eight-game string broken by the Rockers in the second playoff outing.

    2001 WNBA All-Star Squad
    First Team
    F - Chamique Holdsclaw, Washington
    F - Tina Thompson, Houston
    C - Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles
    G - Janeth Arcain, Houston
    G - Ticha Penicheiro, Sacramento

    Second Team
    F - Katie Smith, Minnesota
    F - Natalie Williams, Utah
    C - Yolanda Griffith, Sacramento
    G - Andrea Stinson, Charlotte
    G - Jennifer Azzi, Utah
    G - Debbie Black, Miami

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