WNBA MVP Race, Week 6
A look at the top-10 WNBA players gunning for the MVP trophy.
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
The dog days of summer have officially begun, and the wear and tear of a long, physical WNBA season has begun to take its toll. One of the bright stars of the 2012 season, Epiphanny Prince, is lost for 6-8 weeks with a fractured ankle. Lucky for her, the month-long break for the Summer Olympics is right around the corner, so hopefully for Sky fans she won’t miss too much time.
Prince’s injury almost certainly will result in a shakeup in the standings. This has been an exciting season thus far, with so many young players emerging and stepping into the limelight this year. Look for plenty of good basketball and an exciting MVP race for the rest of the season.
1. Candace Parker, L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 1)
Parker retains her top spot in the rankings for a second consecutive week. The Illinois native has been superb as of late, leading the Sparks to victory in seven of the last 10 games. Within this 10-game stretch, Candace has posted over 8 rebounds in nine games, including 15 boards in her last contest against the Silver Stars. This surge on the boards has propelled the former Lady Vol into the top three in rebounding in the WNBA. Despite her focus on the boards, CP3 has still been explosive on the offensive end, dropping 33 points on Tulsa last week. Look for Parker to set some distance between her and the rest of her competitors in the MVP race during the upcoming weeks.
2. Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky (Last Week, 2)
The Chicago superstar maintains her spot at No. 2 this week. Sylvia has been solid in the past two contests, posting 20 points in each game. Unfortunately, the Sky have slipped, losing both of those games. The Sky will have to find their footing again without budding star Epiphanny Prince who is out with an injury. Fowles will now see more aggressive double teams in the upcoming weeks, so it will be interesting to see how she elevates her game and finds new ways to help her team win.
3. Tina Charles, Connecticut Sun (Last Week, 3)
Charles was superb against the Dream, with a 23-point, 22-rebound effort to seal the victory. Despite the hot hand in the previous games, she followed up the 20/20 night with a 14-point game against Indiana, and then a 6-point game the following night. We will give Charles the benefit of the doubt due to her overall solid numbers, but it will take more than flashes of brilliance to jump into the top spot for the MVP race.
4. Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (Last week, 5)
Tamika Catchings has been one of the most consistent players in the WNBA this year. The reigning MVP has posted double figures in each game, but we have yet to see the offensive explosion we are accustomed to from the Former Lady Vol. Look for the Catchings to find her scoring stroke as the summer progresses as she will not let the opportunity to win back-to-back MVP trophies slip past her without a fight.
5. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream (Last Week, 6)
McCoughtry has been on a tear for the Atlanta Dream this year. The former No. 1 pick has been unstoppable on the offensive end, leading the WNBA in scoring. The up-tempo system allows Angel to put up a lot of shots each night, making her a nightmare to defend in such a fast-paced game. Many would think that defense would not be a priority when you create as many possessions on offense, but Angel hangs her hat on slowing down the other team’s best player. Angel plays the passing lanes effectively, causing close to 4 steals per game. In order to continue to rise up the rankings, Angel must cut down on her turnovers, which sit at close to 5 per night. Look for the former Louisville alum to be more careful with the rock, and rise up the MVP list.
6. Kristi Tolliver, L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 7)
The L.A. point guard has been a secret weapon for the Sparks thus far in the season. Tolliver possesses smooth ball handling and a sweet stroke, making her a hard cover each game. Despite her size, Kristi has been a solid rebounder this year grabbing close to 4 per game. I would be shocked if Tolliver was not an All-Star this year in the West.
7. Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx (Last Week, 8 )
The Minnesota Lynx have been the most dominant team in the league in the early going, and Augustus has been the leader of the pack, earning her a spot on the list. The LSU product has been extremely efficient on the offensive end, shooting 50 percent from the field and behind the arc. Look for Seimone to get hot once again as she regains her form from an early season injury.
8. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm, (Last Week, 9)
The Seattle Storm have been competitive all year, and they owe a lot of thanks to their star point guard Sue Bird. The UConn product has been a steady hand for the team, despite the absence of All-Star center Lauren Jackson until after the Olympics. Sue has picked up the slack on the offensive end, scoring double figures during the team’s four-game winning streak. Look for Bird’s name to get more airtime as the Storm continue to play at a high level.
9. DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury (Last Week, NR)
The Mercury may only be 3-8, but that is not from lack of effort from Bonner. With Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor down with injury, they have been calling Bonner’s number and she has stepped up to the plate with career highs. Bonner currently sits among the top five in scoring and top 10 on the boards.
10. Sophia Young (Last Week, NR)
The Silver Stars have improved as the season has progressed, and so has Sophia Young. The Baylor product has found her game, posting 20 points in two of the past three contests. Young also has been solid on the boards pulling down 7 per night. Due to her solid play, San Antonio sits at .500 on the season. Look for Young to continue to shine this year as the Silver Stars emerge as a sleeper team in the West.