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Queens’ Holdsclaw awarded $25K as WNBA’s top rebounder, scorer

Former Christ the King standout Chamique Holdsclaw was honored by the WNBA as the league’s top scorer and rebounder last Thursday, winning a pair of 2002 Bud Light Peak Performer awards.

The 6-foot-2 forward for the Washington Mystics averaged 19.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game despite missing 12 games with a sprained ankle.

The Astoria native, the Mystics first-overall pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft and four-time WNBA all-star became the first player in history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding.

Bud Light will award $25,000 to Holdsclaw, with $5,000 going to Christ the King , the charity of her choice.

“It’s a wonderful thought on her part. She’s been a terrific role model for the kids,” said Christ the King girls’ basketball coach Bob Mackey. “Her grandmother would be very proud. She’s wonderful. A great kid, very quiet, very reserved. She’s just really, really a sweetheart, very down to earth.”

Holdsclaw, who hit 45 percent of her field goals, led the Mystics to a 17-15 record, their best regular season performance in franchise history.

She scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Mystics’ 62-59 victory over the Charlotte Sting Saturday, clinching their best-of-three first round Eastern Conference series, 2-0. Holdsclaw led Washington with 26 points in the Mystics’ playoff opener.

The Mystics advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history and will play either the New York Liberty or the Indiana Fever.

In 112 career professional games, Holdsclaw, a two-time member of the All-WNBA team, has started all but one game. She averages 17.6 points and 8.7 rebounds for her career.

Holdsclaw, the 1999 WNBA Rookie of the Year, is the University of Tennessee’s all-time leading scorer (3,025 points) and rebounder (1,295), led the Lady Vols to three consecutive NCAA championships and is the all-time leading scorer in Southeast Conference history.

Another former Christ the King standout recently finished her first season in the WNBA. Sue Bird, the point guard extraordinare from Syosset, averaged 14.4 points and six assists for the Seattle Storm, who lost their playoff series to the Los Angeles Sparks. The two-time All-American, who led the University of Connecticut to a pair of national championships, was the No. 1 pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft.

Bird, who started all 32 Seattle games this year, will play for the 2002 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship team at the 14th FIBA World Championships for Women in the People’s Republic of China from Sept. 14 through Sept. 25.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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