WNBA MVP Race, Week 12
With the regular season winding down, these 10 players are making a push for MVP.
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
A wise man once said, “Pressure busts pipes, but it also makes diamonds.”
The WNBA has seen a bit of both this week as teams once riding on cloud nine were given a wake up call; while teams who found themselves at the bottom of the standings have heated up and are making a push towards the playoffs.
Los Angeles was shocked by New York on Sunday in what was a crucial game for the Liberty. The Sky cruised by the Lynx with a 13-point victory on Tuesday and showed that the East Coast has some star power as well. As the seasons end draws near, now more than ever the pressure will be put on the key players to uplift their respective teams.
Who will be named MVP at the end? Only time will tell.
After trailing Candace Parker for much of the MVP race, Charles closed the distance and has now taken control thanks to her play since the Olympics. The Sun are scorching hot and they are led by Tina’s steady post play.
Charles has really focused this year on playing to her strengths, setting up much closer to the rim and making it almost impossible to stop her on the offensive side of the floor without a double team. The former Lady Huskie has been a beast on the boards and currently stands as the league’s leading rebounder, grabbing close to 11 per night.
2. Candace Parker, L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 1)
The Sparks hit a small bump in the road last week against the Liberty, but Parker has still thrived against the competition night in and night out. The Former Lady Vol continues to stack double-doubles, her most recent a 14-point, 15-rebound game against the Liberty. The Sparks are too good of a team to continue this losing streak for long, so look for Parker to find different ways to help her teammates get out of this late season funk.
3. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream (Last Week, 3)
This may be one of the best WNBA MVP races in a long time with the top three players all playing at a high level early in their careers.
McCoughtry is the league’s most dominant wing player, period. With the way this offense is set up, she is almost unstoppable, always on the attack with the ultimate green light. What makes Angel a special player is her focus on defense as well, she is currently averaging two steals and a block per. Her team doesn’t boast the best record in the WNBA but she may be the most valuable to her team which may get her extra votes for the award.
Where would Atlanta be without A-Mac?
4. Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (Last Week, 5)
No one has been able to cure the Fever as of late and that has been due to the play of reigning MVP Tamika Catchings. TC is one of the more efficient players in the game—she doesn’t need 20 shots to break 20 points—which suits the ball control and defense oriented style of play of the Fever perfectly.
With a grizzled vet like Catchings leading the way, the Fever make pulling out the close games look easy. With Indiana a game out of first, look for the Fever to ride the hot hand of Catchings into home court advantage this year.
5. Cappie Pondexter, New York Liberty (Last Week, 6)
The Chicago native continues to rise up the MVP list with her fierce play this season. Along with A-Mac, Cappie is the most valuable member of her team and despite the Liberty’s record, she still deserves MVP recognition. She has found her niche in this guard friendly offense and continues to pour in buckets and involve others when needed.
Though I may not like the move of Cappie to PG (I personally would have moved Powell out of the first five and kept Leliani) it has reaped a bountiful harvest thus far. CP3 had a monster game against the Sparks, posting a big stat line of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. With the race for the last playoff spot so close between the Sky and Liberty, New York fans will pray for Cappie to continue to stay hot and lead them to the Postseason.
6. Kristi Tolliver L.A. Sparks (Last Week, 7)
One of my SLAM co-workers went to the Sparks-Liberty game this past week and texted me three words during the game: “Tolliver is unreal.”
I’m happy to see that others have finally caught wind of the electric combo guard’s game. I love the way they showcase Kristi’s game in L.A, she has finally found her groove on the floor. Nothing seems forced in her game at all, she gets to the rim with ease and has unlimited range. She will be a X-factor for Los Angeles in the Postseason.
7. Epiphanny Prince, Chicago Sky (Last Week, NR)
Welcome back to the list, Epiphanny.
Before the former Rutgers standout went down with an injury, she was one of the hottest wings in the WNBA and has found her footing again on the floor. Though Prince may not be shooting over 50 percent from behind the arc anymore, she is making up for it by living at the rack. Against Minnesota last game, Prince dropped 26 on the Lynx with 10 of those points coming from the charity stripe. With Fowless and Prince providing a tough inside-outside attack, the Sky will be a tough out if they make the playoffs.
8. Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx (Last Week, NR)
No other WNBA team has been able to find an answer for Seimone this year. The Lynx boast a dynamic duo with Augustus and Maya Moore, but let it be known, the leader of the team is Augustus.
The veteran is shooting over 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from trey—the game is just moving so slow for her right now. With Moore on the other wing, teams have been unable to double her and focus as tightly on her as the past. Look for her to continue to thrive this year.
9. Dewanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury (Last Week, 10)
Though the Mercury are no longer in the playoff race, Bonner continues her stellar play for Phoenix. Dewanna has been on a tear offensively, posting 20 or more in the past five games.
Against Connecticut last week, Bonner gave the Sun fits with a 35-point explosion, connecting for 6 threes in the game. The scoring title is not out of reach for Bonner so look for her to continue to put up big numbers in her quest to be crowned the league’s top scorer.
10. Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars (Last Week,
Sophia has continued her steady play for the Silver Stars post-Olympics. The main issue is that San Antonio, as a team, has struggled, which has caused her to slip some in the rankings. What I like most about Young’s game is her willingness to mix it up down low and make an impact on the boards. It looks like things are shaping up for it to be a L.A-San Antonio first round matchup, and if that is the case they will need Young to be a beast on the boards against the Sparks dominant front line.