by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
The WNBA season, now at its halfway point, has been full of intense battles with old rivalries and fresh faces. Angel McCoughtry has been a force this year and is making a strong case for MVP. Former MVP Tamika Catchings has put the Fever on her back early in the season, and despite a roster full of injuries, Indiana holds a playoff spot. The best in the west has been Candace Parker, who has maintained her reputation as one of the most versatile and dominant players in the WNBA.
Many expected the “3 to See” to take the league by storm, but not to the extent of a member of the trio being a MVP candidate. Elena Delle Donne has emerged as a legitimate force and will be making the push in the second half of the season toward Rookie of the Year as well as MVP.
1. Candace Parker, L.A. Sparks, forward
The versatile forward has been locked in offensively this year. The Sparks have been a great regular-season team the past couple of years, but unable to get over the hump in the postseason. Sparks fans are hoping for a change in the trend this year. Parker will play a huge role in this team making it to the Finals. This is the Illinois native’s second straight healthy season and she has showcased her full arsenal, averaging 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists per game. On defense the former Lady Vol is just as impressive averaging 2 blocks and a steal per game.
2. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream, guard/forward
The Atlanta Dream wing has been an unstoppable force this year on the court. Angel is top 5 in scoring, yet still manages to keep her teammates involved, as she is also top five in assists. The last time she was playing this well was the years Atlanta went to back-to-back WNBA finals. Angel was spectacular against Connecticut this week, scoring 22 points while dishing out 6 assists. McCoughtry has been a terror on the defensive side as well, averaging 3 thefts per game. With a strong push in the second half, the Louisville alumnae could grab hold of the MVP trophy.
3. Elena Delle Donne, Chicago Sky, forward
The smooth wing suffered her first real setback of the season in a loss against the Mystics. Delle Donne not only shot 2-25 from the field, but also left the game with a concussion. Outside of this most recent game, Delle Donne has been sensational for the Sky, turning a team that had a top-three pick a year ago into a legitimate title contender. It should be no surprise that with averages of 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks per game, she led all in vote-getters for the All-Star game. Look for the Delaware native to get much-needed rest this All-Star weekend and to make a strong push in the second half toward the MVP trophy.
4. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury, guard
The UConn alumna has bounced back with a vengeance this year for Phoenix. The electric wing was spectacular against the Sparks dropping 32 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds in a 90-84 victory. With weapons like Brittney Griner, DeWanna Bonner and more alongside her, it will be hard for teams to lock in on Taurasi and slow her down.
5. Slyvia Fowles, Chicago Sky, center
The crafty center is healthy for the first time in years and has been dominant in the post for the Sky. Fowles shares the rock with two scoring machines in Epiphanny Prince and Delle Donne, but makes each shot count, averaging 15 points per game. Fowles has been a terror on the glass this year for opponents, snatching close to 12 rebounds per game. The Sky are on their way to their first playoff appearance in team history, and poised for a deep run with a healthy Fowles on board.
6. Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever, forward
The Fever have been decimated by injuries since the start of the season, and yet they still hold a playoff spot going into the All-Star break. At the halfway point of the season a valid argument can be made that no player has faced as much pressure as Tamika Catchings. The former MVP has delivered for the Fever, averaging 16.8 points 6.5 rebounds and three assists per contest. Defensively, the former Lady Vol has been a force as well swiping 3 steals and block per game.
7. Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota Lynx, guard
When Seimone Augustus went down, many expected the Lynx to slip. Instead the team has been just as efficient due to the strong play of Whalen. Lindsey is still finding teammates, but has stepped up her scoring average to 16 points per game this season. Whalen also is shooting a career high from the field at 49 percent. Whalen’s scoring may take a slight dip upon Augustus’ return, but her assists will rise as well.
8. Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx, forward
Moore has found great balance in her game this season for the Lynx. Like Taurasi, Moore plays alongside another superstar in Seimone Augustus and All-Star Lindsey Whalen, but still contributes big time numbers. Moore and company are locked in as the No. 1 seed in the West. The only knock against Moore is that she may not be aggressive enough offensively. Nonetheless, the former Huskie is still efficient and can fill is up without taking a lot of shots.
9. Cappie Pondexter, New York Liberty, guard
The Liberty have had many ups and downs this year, but Pondexter has been a steady force since day one. The Liberty needed a win badly against the Fever this week to stay in arm’s reach of the last playoff spot, and Pondexter delivered a strong performance. The explosive wing filled up the stat sheet with 24 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in a 77-72 road victory against the defending champs. Look for the Liberty to turn things around in the second half of the season.
10. Tina Charles, Connecticut Sun, center
The Sun are struggling to get wins this year, but Charles has done all she can to put them in position to win games. Connecticut is playing the year without starting power forward Asjha Jones, and has missed Kara Lawson for extended parts of the season. Even amidst the pressure, Charles is still averaging 18 points and close to 11 rebounds a game. The Sun will get a much-needed rest and look to get more healthy bodies around Charles.
WNBA MVP Rankings: Angel On Fire