Erin Buescher, Sacramento Monarchs

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August 4, 2006 - Throughout the season, we will look at some of the WNBA's emerging talent and the candidates for the WNBA Most Improved Player Award. Previous winners include Sacramento's Nicole Powell, Houston's Michelle Snow and Coco and Kelly Miller. It could be more playing time, offseason development or even a new team that results in marked improvement.

Erin Buescher is playing a big part in the Monarchs success this season.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
The Sacramento Monarchs are on their way to their fourth consecutive postseason and owe much of their success this season to fifth year forward-center Erin Buescher.

Buescher, who was selected 23rd overall in the 2001 Draft by the Minnesota Lynx, played one season in Minnesota before being traded to Charlotte and eventually being sent to Sacramento along with Nicole Powell and Olympia Scott-Richardson in exchange for Tangela Smith the the Monarchs' 2006 second-round pick on March 3, 2005. Prior to this season, Buescher averaged 3.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. This season, she is putting up the best numbers of her five-year career by averaging 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists.

Back on June 28, the former University of California - Santa Barbara and Master's College star scored a career-high 25 points and made a career-high nine free throws to help lead the Monarchs to a 87-78 victory over the Minnesota Lynx. She also set a career-high on July 1 grabbing 13 rebounds and tied a career-high by dishing out four assists on July 6.

Among overall league ranks, Buescher is second in field-goal percentage (0.534) and sixth in total offensive rebounds (72) and offensive rebounds per game (2.48). She also ranks No. 15 in free throw attempts (112) and No. 19 in total free throws (81). She was also honored as the HANNSpree Performer of the Week back on July 3.