Penicheiro Selected As One Of WNBA's Top 15 Players

July 25, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

July 25, 2011

SAN ANTONIO, Texas. - Former Old Dominion women's basketball great Ticha Penicheiro ('98) has been selected one of the WNBA's Top 15 Players of All-Time, league officials announced during halftime of the 2011 WNBA All-Star game.

"The WNBA is the most competitive league in the world and to be recognized as one of the top 15 players is an amazing honor," said Penicheiro. "I feel very blessed to have been a part of this league for 14 years and to compete with and against the best players in the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that voted for me."

In celebration of its historic 15th season, the WNBA honored 15 of the most influential players since its inception in 1997. A panel comprising media members and basketball experts selected the 30-nominee ballot, giving consideration to such factors as on-court performance, ability, leadership, sportsmanship, and community service, as well as to contributions to team success and the overall growth of women's basketball.

Voting for the league's Top 15 Players of All Time was conducted among fans, select national and WNBA-market media and by current players and coaches. The league weighted each of three voting groups to account for an equal percentage of the total vote.

"The 15 athletes honored today represent an extraordinarily accomplished group and the very best in women's professional basketball from around the world," said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie." In just the few months I've been with the WNBA, I have had an opportunity to meet each of the current players on this list as well as some of the legends who paved the way. I have found that they are not only tremendous athletes who have reached extraordinary heights on the court, but also terrific women who give unselfishly of their time in the community. I am proud to be associated with these outstanding women; and I am so pleased for them that the fans, media members, and the current generation of players and coaches, have chosen to recognize and honor them."

Penicheiro began her 14th WNBA season and second with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2011 as the league's all-time leader in steals (728), assists (2,398) and assists per game (6.0).

The four-time WNBA All-Star from 1999-2002 played in her native Portugal this offseason for Alges where she averaged 9.2 points, an impressive 8.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists, which ranked first in Portugal.

In 2008 Penicheiro averaged 8.6 points, 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals while playing 24.7 minutes per game. She started 32 of 33 contests and became the first player in WNBA history to record 2,000 career assists. In 2006, Penicheiro was named to the WNBA All-Decade Team. She and Lady Monarch teammate Hamchetou Maiga-Ba ('02) helped lead Sacramento to the team's only WNBA Championship in 2005.

Penicheiro was selected second overall in the 1998 WNBA Draft by the Monarchs. She finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting after dishing out a WNBA-high 7.5 assists per game.

At Old Dominion, Penicheiro led the Lady Monarchs to the 1997 NCAA Championship game. During her ODU career she collected 1,304 points, finished as ODU's all-time steals leader with 591, and ranked second all-time in assists with 939. As a senior, she earned the Wade Trophy as the nation's top player and was a two-time Kodak First Team All-American (1997 and 1998). Penicheiro completed degrees in communications and interdisciplinary studies. Penicheiro was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in May of 2006 and was a CAA 25th Anniversary Silver Star.