NEW YORK – Four former UConn women’s basketball standouts and current WNBA players were recognized by the league Tuesday in the WNBA Top 20@20, which honors the 20 greatest and most influential players in its history to celebrate the league’s 20th landmark season.
Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi each earned a spot on the Top 20@20, making Connecticut the most represented program on the list with four honorees. These former Huskies are among the select few of women’s players to earn an NCAA National Championship, a WNBA Championship and an Olympic gold medal.
“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.”
In 14 seasons with the Seattle Storm, Bird has started in all 463 games of her professional career. A two-time NCAA National Champion and Naismith College Player of the Year recipient, Bird took home two WNBA titles with the Storm in 2004 and 2010. She currently holds the record for the best 3-point field goal percentage and free-throw percentage in UConn program history.
“To be included among the top 20 players in this league's history is a huge honor,’ said Bird, a nine-time WNBA All-Star selection and two-time WNBA champion. “Watching the level of competition rise over the years has been incredible and I am excited to see where the league goes in the next 20."
Another 14-year veteran of the league, Cash has enjoyed success with five different WNBA teams, including two titles with the Detroit Shock and another with the Seattle Storm. A four-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Cash earned two NCAA Championships during her time as a Husky. She is currently eighth in all-time rebounds in the WNBA.
Moore is in her sixth season with the Minnesota Lynx after graduating from UConn with two collegiate National titles in undefeated seasons. With three WNBA titles in six seasons, Moore still holds the record at UConn for the highest scoring average with 19.7 points per game.
"I grew up watching the WNBA, and to be in a class of athletes of the caliber that this league has produced over the past 20 years is a huge honor,” added 2014 WNBA MVP and 2013 Finals MVP Maya Moore. “It’s definitely a dream come true. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to compete at the highest levels and develop my talent to the point that I was even in consideration for this honor.”
In 11 seasons with the Phoenix Mercury, Taurasi has brought home three WNBA titles in her tenure. A three-time NCAA Champion and two-time Naismith College Player of the Year recipient, Taurasi was named Rookie of the Year in her inaugural WNBA season in 2004.
ESPN Networks will promote the list throughout the day on various programs, including ESPN’s noon ET SportsCenter: Coast-to-Coast during which Cari Champion will interview two-time WNBA MVP and four-time Finals MVP Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, as well as during ESPN2’s telecast of the Phoenix Mercury vs. Dallas Wings game at 8 p.m. ET.
The WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon: