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Mercury’s Brittney Griner wins 2017 WNBA Peak Performer Award

(Edward A. Ornelas/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was named the WNBA’s 2017 Peak Performance Award winner, the team announced Tuesday.

The award is given to the player that leads the league in scoring, and Griner became the first “true center” to do so.

In just her fifth season in the league, the 26-year-old Griner has developed into one of the best all-around players. Thanks in large part to her ability to block the basketball at will, the Houston native has already won the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award twice. This season, Griner has averaged a league-best 2.5 blocks per game.

In 2017, Griner became an offensive force.

In 26 games this season, Griner is averaging a career-high 21.9 points per game. In addition, her 57.7 field goal percentage ranks third and her 31.5 minutes-per-game ranks eighth. The 6-foot-8 205-pound Griner finished the regular season with six 30-plus point games and scored 20 or more points 14 times. In a road win over the Indiana Fever on June 7, Griner scored a season- and league-high 38 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

A contender for the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player and Most Improved player in 2017, Griner missed eight games this season but still managed to lead the league in scoring. Also, Griner has gotten it done on the glass, averaging the ninth-best rebounds per game (5.9).

With a 7-foot wingspan, Griner’s resume includes 13 career dunks, the most in WNBA history. Fans may remember her professional basketball debut against the Chicago Sky on May 28, 2013 — she dunked twice in the game and already laid claim to the dunk record.

With the Mercury set to host the Seattle Storm in round one of the WNBA playoffs Wednesday at ASU’s Wells Fargo Arena, Griner has averaged 14.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game while shooting 59-percent from the floor.

In 2014 during the WNBA Finals, Griner helped Phoenix capture the franchise’s third title despite missing game three due to injury.


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