WNBA MVP Race, Week 5
A look at the top-10 WNBA players gunning for the MVP trophy.
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
Week 5 of the WNBA saw a lot of change in the standings. The Seattle Storm dealt the Lynx their first loss, and the Connecticut Sun have been hot as of late—sitting atop the Eastern Conference as a result.
With the shake up in the standings, also comes a shake up in the MVP Race. This race this year has been the most exciting in recent years, with so many young players emerging and putting up gaudy numbers early. Sylvia Fowles and Candace Parker have been amazing all year, and it seems will battle down to the last day for the MVP trophy.
1. Candace Parker, L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 2)
CP3 has been a spark for L.A. each game this season. Despite the star power alongside Parker for the Sparks, Candace has shown she can affect the game without scoring 20-plus each game. The former Lady Vol sits top-five in rebounding, while averaging close to 2 steals and 3 blocks per night. Don’t underestimate Parker’s scoring ability though, as she drops close to 19 per game as well.
2. Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky (Last Week, 1)
Fowles and Parker have been flip-flopping between one and two thus far, and this week, Sylvia sits at two. Fowles has been as steady a force as they come for Chicago, averaging 19 points while leading the league in rebounding at close to 14 rebounds per night. Despite posting a career low in turnovers at 2.4 per night, the Miami native has been poor from the free-throw line, shooting 64 percent. Small details like this could mean the difference between wins and losses, a scoring title or winning MVP. Fowles has shown she can knock them down when needed, sitting at 72 percent for her career, so let’s hope she focuses at the charity stripe, and makes teams pay for sending her to the line.
3. Tina Charles, Connecticut Sun (Last Week, 3)
The New York native has raised herself into the WNBA’s elite class this year. Tina is the league’s only 20 and 10 player, showing her dominance night in and night out. This past week, she ran into Parker and the Sparks, and despite her usual 20 and 10, it took her 26 shots to get there. Despite the loss to L.A., look for Charles to grow as a player throughout this season and find ways to elevate her play against the best in the next go-round.
4. Epiphanny Prince, Chicago Sky (Last Week, 6)
Prince has been on cloud nine all year for the Chicago Sky. There isn’t a hotter player in the WNBA than Epiphanny. The New York native has thrived off the double teams of Fowles shooting over 50 percent from the field and 53 percent behind the arc. For Prince to maintain a streak like this for five weeks is really amazing. Prince is also playing great defense on the season, averaging 2 thefts per night. Look for the former Rutgers standout to ride out this hot streak and continue to rise in the rankings this year.
5. Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (Last Week, 4)
Catchings has been a key catalyst for the Fever this year. The reigning MVP has been super efficient, with averages of 19 points and close to 7 rebounds per night. The former Lady Vol has done a great job of keeping her turnovers down, at less than 2 per night. Unfortunately, the Fever have played poorly as of late, losing three of the past four contests. Despite the victory last game against fellow MVP candidates Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince, Tamika struggled shooting 3-12 from the field. As a result, we see a small slip in the rankings. Look for the grizzled vet to find her footing and lead the Fever to victory this year.
6. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream (Last Week, 6)
Slowly but surely, McCoughtry has been creeping her way up the MVP list each week. As a result of her steady play, the Dream have won two of the past three games. Angel has been relentless this year of the offensive end, leading the WNBA in scoring at 22.7 points per game. The Louisville native has been a force on the defensive side as well, averaging close to 4 steals and a block per night. Look for Angel to take this team to another level as the season progresses and rise in the rankings as well.
7. Kristi Tolliver, L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 8 )
Tolliver has been a key piece to the Sparks’ success this year. Despite losing her footing in a poor outing in a blowout loss against Atlanta with 4 points, Tolliver rebounded with two back-to-back games of 15 points. Kristi is a versatile combo guard, who can slash, knock-down shots, distribute the rock and mix it up down low to get rebounds.
8. Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx (Last Week, 5)
Despite missing time, Seimone still sits in the top 10 for the MVP Race. Augustus missed a couple games but rebounded nicely with two double-digit scoring affairs. Even though the Lynx suffered their first lost of the season, Minnesota has been by far the hardest team to defend each game. Seimone is the leader of the pack, utilizing her killer instinct and smooth jumper to make her one of the elite wings in the WNBA.
9. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm (Last Week, NR)
The UConn alum makes her first appearance on the MVP balloting. This may be a little premature, but I like to be ahead of the loop. Bird is currently riding a hot streak posting back-to-back 20-point outings. The Storm have also played much better this past week with back-to-back wins, one against the defending champs, the Minnesota Lynx. We should give Sue credit for attempting to keep this team afloat while her pick-and-roll partner in crime, Lauren Jackson, is overseas preparing for the Olympics. The Storm would be a much better team with their best down-low option on the floor, regardless of the fact bird has been steady averaging 13 points and 6 assists. I don’t think the Storm would have won a game without Bird, so her impact is noted.
10. Cappie Pondexter, New York Liberty (Last Week, 9)
Cappie has been a bright spot for an otherwise dim New York Liberty team. Pondexter is top-10 in scoring at 19 points per game. In order for Cappie to rise in the rankings, she must find a way to get the team above .500 in the next couple of weeks. Cappie has elite talent and can score in a variety of ways, and the Liberty could ride her success back into the playoff race.