Cappie Pondexter
Jason DeCrow

Rutgers alumn Cappie Pondexter spent five seasons with the New York Liberty, where she posted the best numbers of her career.

Geoff Magliocchetti

One of the tri-state area’s most accomplished athletes has retired.

Cappie Pondexter, who played with both the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and New York Liberty, retired this week. Pondexter, 36, made her announcement through an Instagram post.

“I’m super blessed to say to my kids I’ve done something kool [sic],” Pondexter’s accompanying captions read. “I didn’t expect to go out this way but I know God has something bigger in store. The everyday signs says [sic] so.”

A California native, Pondexter’s basketball journey began in Piscataway in 2002. Over 119 games, she tallied 2,211 points, a mark good for third in Scarlet Knights’ history. Rutgers earned 97 wins over that span, the precipice coming in an Elite Eight appearance in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

In December 2016, Pondexter became the third player to have her number, 25, retired by the women’s basketball program.

Pondexter was chosen second overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the 2006 WNBA Draft. She immediately made an impact, becoming a Western Conference All-Star in her first year, while helping the Mercury end a streak of five straight non-winning seasons. The first of two WNBA Finals titles came in 2007, as she was named the MVP of a five-game series win over the Detroit Shock.

With the Mercury down 2-1 in the series, Pondexter scored 26 points, including the go-ahead shot with 21 seconds to go in a 77-76 victory in Game 4. She would then earn a double-double (26 points, 10 assists) in the 108-92 decider on the road in Auburn Hills.

Other NYC Teams

Another five-game championship awaited in 2009 when Pondexter and the Mercury topped the Indiana Fever. Pondexter came up big in Game 1 of the series, scoring the Mercury’s final five points in a 120-116 overtime victory.

Pondexter was dealt to the Liberty in 2010. She introduced herself to the New York scene with a career-best season, setting career-best averages in points (21.4) and rebounds (4.5), as well as a personal best in accuracy (.483). An All-Defense First Team nomination, as well as an All-WNBA nod, wrapped up her first year.

She remained a consistent part of New York basketball through 2014. During that time, she was named one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time during the league’s 15th-anniversary celebration in 2011.

During her term, Pondexter became one of the most reliable players in the league. She missed just four games of a possible 170, all coming during the 2013 season. In the current Liberty record book, she ranks fifth in minutes (5,554), as well as third in points (2,970) and assists (722). She’s also the team’s all-time leader in converted free throws (640).

Pondexter was traded from the Liberty to the Chicago Sky in 2015, in exchange for fellow Rutgers alumna Epiphanny Prince. She would go on to spend three seasons in Chicago before splitting last season between the Los Angeles Sparks and Indiana Fever.

NBA COO and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum commented on Pondexter’s departure in a league statement.

“Cappie Pondexter is one of the greatest players and fiercest competitors in WNBA history,” he said. “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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