WNBA MVP Race, Week 7
A look at the top-10 WNBA players gunning for the MVP trophy.
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
We are officially through the first quarter of the WNBA season, and the line in the sand is being made, separating the elite players from the All-Stars.
The WNBA recently chose its first two players of the month, L.A. Sparks forward Candace Parker, and Connecticut Sun forward/center Tina Charles. Both are having career years, and also float near the top of the MVP Race. It will be interesting to see which players look to make a lasting impression the next couple weeks before the month long hiatus due to the Olympics.
1. Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky (Last Week,2)
There may have been a slight slip in the record of the Sky, but Fowles has been steady throughout, and her consistently amazing play is why she sits atop the list this week. After the loss of Epiphanny Prince, Fowles has been on a tear, posting 20 points or more in three of the past five games. It all seemed to fall into place last game for the LSU alumna, as she dominated a heated matchup with a surging Atlanta Dream. During the contest, Fowles posted a chunky stat line of 21 points and 12 rebounds, and was clutch at the charity stripe, knocking down 9-10 free throws. Look for the Miami native to use this game as the blueprint to push herself and her team in to the next level in upcoming weeks.
2. Candace Parker L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 1)
Parker’s 2-point outing combined with the missed time due to injury has resulted in her slip to second. The MVP race this year has been close from the start, and in order for Parker to pull away with the trophy, she must stay on the floor and contribute on a nightly basis. L.A. has lost its footing as of late, currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Candace made up for the 2-point outing with a 25-point, 13-rebound night the next game, but was unable to lead the team to victory. L.A. is too talented to stay in this funk for long, look for Parker to help the team find its place again soon.
3. Tina Charles, Connecticut Sun (Last Week, 3)
Recently Tina was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month, cementing her as one of the elite players in the WNBA this year. The New York native has been solid this year, posting averages of 18 points and 11 rebounds per game. Charles has done a great job of helping her teams win games, but outside of the 20-point, 20-rebound night, has yet to explode again this year. In order for her to jump ahead of the two in front of her, she will have to dominate a head-to-head matchup.
4. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream (Last Week, 5)
Angel continues to rise up the MVP ranking with her sizzling hot play. The Louisville alum has been been a nightmare to guard for opposing defenders, posting 20 points or more in the past six contests, which include two 30-point outings. McCoughtry has also been a lockdown defender, averaging over 3 steals and a block per game. If she continues at this rate, Angel could win the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and win the scoring title.
5. Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (Last Week, 4)
The reigning 2011 WNBA MVP has been solid all year, helping her team to an 8-5 record. Catchings sits in the top 10 in scoring, and has been solid all year on the boards. In order for the former lady Vol to protect her crown and keep the trophy in Indiana, she will have to post larger numbers against her fellow candidates. She has a matchup against Sophia Young and the surging Silver Stars, so all eyes will be monitoring her performance.
6. Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx (Last Week, 8 )
Augustus continues to rise up the rankings due to her steady play on the league’s best team. Seimone is top 10 in scoring in the WNBA, and is shooting the ball at over 50 percent from the field and 50 percent behind the arc. As a result of her solid play, the Lynx have the best record in the WNBA.
7. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm (Last Week, 7)
Bird continues to rise up the rankings as the season progresses. Seattle has started to find their game, and Sue has been an X-factor since day one. The UConn alumna has done everything her team needs, whether it’s rebound, score or create easy baskets for others. With the Storm sitting at close to .500 without one of the league’s best players in Lauren Jackson, Birds’ presence must be noted.
8. Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars (Last Week, 10)
Young has proven that her game is for real this past week. The former Baylor standout led her team to a win over the Lynx, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Young scored 20 or more in four of the past five and is one of the hottest players in the WNBA. Sophia possesses the killer instinct to be top three in scoring, as she combines her crafty ball handling and smooth mid-range jumper. She doesn’t settle for long-range threes as well, as she hasn’t hoisted a trey in 10 games. Look for the Silver Stars and Sophia to get more attention as the season continues.
9. Kristi Tolliver, L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 6)
Tolliver has hit some rough sledding as of late, but has still been an efficient player for the Sparks. Kristi can fill it up at any moment, posting 20 points or more in three of the past five games. The Maryland alumna has been a willing passer as well, at 5 assists per game. Time will tell if Tolliver is ready to make that jump to one of the league’s elite.
10. Dewanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury (Last Week, 9)
Bonner has been a steady player on a under achieving team, but we should still acknowledge her play. The Mercury have been without all-world Diana Taurasi thus far, which has affected their record, but Bonner has done a great job filling the scoring void. Currently Bonner sits at top three in the WNBA in scoring at 20.4 points per game. Despite her lean frame, Bonner has shown willingness to mix it up down low, pulling in 7 rebounds per night. Look for Bonner’s body of work to get more recognition when the Mercury get back to full strength.