WNBA MVP Race, Week 8
A look at the top-10 WNBA players gunning for the MVP trophy.
by Christian Mordi/ @mordi_thecomeup
As we close out on the second month of the season, we have seen a huge change, record-wise, for many teams in the WNBA. Coaches have found a chink in the armor of the once unstoppable Lynx, and the Chicago Sky are no longer sitting on cloud nine with the injury to emerging star, Epiphanny Prince. The league seems more balanced than ever, which has resulted in some of the best basketball ever in the WNBA.
With the Olympics rapidly approaching, players have been looking to leave a lasting impression before the month-long hiatus of league action. Here are top players who will look to take their teams and themselves to another level after the break, as they continue their pursuit of the MVP trophy.
1. Candace Parker, L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 1)
The Sparks have once again found their groove on the floor, due in large part to the re-emergence of a healthy Parker. The former No. 1 pick has been amazing thus far, Candace is top five in scoring, rebounds and blocks as we close out on the halfway mark of the season. The Illinois native has also been able to translate those gaudy numbers into victories for L.A. and that is why she sits atop the list.
2. Tina Charles, Connecticut Sun (Last Week, 3)
In order for Tina to jump within the top two in the MVP race, Charles was going to have to outplay fellow members in the top 10, and she finally spread her wings this past week. The defending champs were unable to keep Charles off the glass, soaring for 15 rebounds on the night. Tina was also a steady contributor on the offensive end, shooting 9-18 in the win against Minnesota. Consistency has been the key this year for Charles, as she has led the way for the Sun to six wins in the past eight games. Hopefully the rising star continues to push herself after the Olympics in her quest for a ring and MVP trophy.
3. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream (Last Week, 4)
Angel is the hottest player in the WNBA at this point in the season. McCoughtry has proven night in and night out she is worth the price of admission, as she leads the league in scoring, steals and is top three in blocks. The Dream are traditionally slow out the gates, and pick up as the season goes along, and that was the case with Angel as well. She could very easily win the scoring title, Defensive Player of the Year and MVP, but her eyes are clearly are focused on one thing: a WNBA title.
4. Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky (Last Week, 2)
Sylvia has been dominant this year for Chicago. Fowles is top three in scoring and leads the league in rebounding at 13 per game. She has stepped up to the plate creating second-chance opportunities as well with over four offensive rebounds per night. Unfortunately, the Sky have struggled since Eppiphanny Prince went down, and Sylvia has been unable to lead them to many victories alone. Look for the LSU alumna to find a way to secure victories until Prince comes back on the floor.
5. Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (Last Week, 5)
Catchings has been steadily improving as the season has went along for the Fever. The former Lady Vol has found her groove as of late, posting a chunky stat line of 18 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals in a close victory against the Sky. In order for the reigning MVP to bring the hardware back home again, she will have to help the Fever regain their early season form of dominance after the break.
6. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm (Last Week, 7)
It could be a very valid argument that no player in the WNBA has had a been more valuable than Sue Bird so far this season. With Lauren Jackson unavailable until after the Olympics and with two rookies playing large minutes, the load was very heavy on Bird’s shoulders since day one of the season. The UConn alumna has responded well to the pressure, finding different ways to make an impact for this team. Sue has picked up the pace offensively for the Storm offensively as well, showing her scoring prowess by dropping 31 in their last game against Phoenix. With the Storm near .500, and the young players getting plenty of game experience, look for this team to improve as the season progresses.
7. Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars (Last Week,
The Silver Stars are the hottest team in the WNBA at the moment, and that is due in large part to the steady hand of Young. The former Baylor standout is a crafty scorer, finding many ways to get to the rim with ease. Young has also been a willing defender averaging 2.5 thefts per game. Look for Young to continue to rise up the rim as the Stars continue to ride the hot streak.
8. Kristi Tolliver, L.A. Sparks (Last Week 9)
Tolliver has once again found her footing for L.A. this year. She rebounded well from her donut against the Sliver Stars, exploding with a 29-point night against the Lynx the following game. Kristi can fill it up quick, combining nice range with smooth ball handling allowing her to get to the rim with ease. Despite her scoring prowess, the combo guard is a willing passer, at close to 5 assists per night.
9. Becky Hammon, San Antonio Silver Stars (Last Week, NR)
I guess Hammon just hopped out the hot tub time machine, because the seasoned vet is looking very much like the former MVP candidate of the past. The re-emergence of Becky has played a huge part in the seven-game winning streak of the Silver Stars, as the team leans heavy on for guidance in the tough moments of close games. Hammon is a dangerous player, possessing a great long-range jumper, and with the green light she has to launch on sight, she can be a terror to guard. Becky is also a top three in assists, showing just how well rounded her game is.
10. Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx (Last Week, 8 )
The Lynx have been slipping, and as a result, so has Seimone in the rankings. The former LSU standout has been solid on the best team in the WNBA, leading the team in scoring. Seimone also still is riding a hot hand, shooting over 50 percent from field goal range and behind the arc. Hopefully the Lynx can find a way to get her more touches, increasing her average and hopefully getting this team back to their winning ways.