Cappie Pondexter, the 2007 WNBA Finals MVP who won two titles with the Phoenix Mercury and an Olympic gold medal with the United States in 2008, announced her retirement on Instagram on Tuesday.
Pondexter, a college standout at Rutgers from 2002 to 2006, was selected with the No. 2 overall pick by Phoenix in the 2006 WNBA draft.
The 5-foot-9 guard Pondexter averaged 23.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in the 2007 WNBA Finals, when the Mercury beat Detroit 3-2. She was also a key player for the Mercury's 2009 championship team, when they defeated Indiana 3-2, averaging 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Pondexter wanted a chance to play in New York, though, and asked for a trade to the Liberty. She played there from 2010 to '14. She was traded to Chicago and played for the Sky from 2015 to '17. Then last season, she played 13 games for Los Angeles and 17 for Indiana.
For her 13-year WNBA career, Pondexter averaged 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists. She played in the WNBA All-Star Game seven times and was All-WNBA First Team three times. In 2011, she was named one of the top 15 players in WNBA history.
"Cappie Pondexter is one of the greatest players and fiercest competitors in WNBA history," NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum, who is serving as the WNBA's interim president, said in a statement Tuesday night. "She made her mark on the league with her vibrant personality and distinctive style, earning two WNBA championships and seven All-Star selections along the way. We expect more great things from her in whatever she does next and wish her nothing but the best."
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Growing up I never expected to do any of this. I never dreamed of this. I just wanted to play. A Full scholarship, 2 WNBA championships , 7 WNBA all star appearances and Olympic gold medal. I'm super blessed to say to my kids I've done something kool . I didn't expect to go out this way but I know God has something bigger in store. The everyday signs says so. Thank you to any and everyone involved in my early professional basketball career. A very Sad day for me but I'm ok with the words RETIRED . I hope most importantly I've impacted a lot of souls to follow their dreams. Good luck to all the ladies in the W. 🙏🏽❤️
Pondexter is one of two high picks in the 2006 draft to step away from the WNBA this year; No. 3 Monique Currie of Duke also announced her retirement in February. She played for Washington last season and made the WNBA Finals.
No. 1 pick Seimone Augustus of LSU is still playing with Minnesota, with whom she's won four titles. No. 6 pick Candice Dupree of Temple is with Indiana; she won the 2014 WNBA title with Phoenix.
Pondexter also had an extensive career overseas in Turkey and Russia, which included four Turkish League championships. Pondexter, who turned 36 in January, is third all time in Rutgers women's basketball history in scoring, with 2,211 points. Her USA Basketball career was highlighted by the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Games, where she averaged 6.4 points for the U.S. team.
"Growing up I never expected to do any of this. I never dreamed of this," Pondexter wrote. "I just wanted to play."