Race to the MVP: Week 2
Week one of regular season play came and went in a flash. It's still early to tell who might end up on top, but trajectories are starting to emerge. Race to the MVP is WNBA.com’s weekly feature where we evaluate who’s getting closer to that coveted crown.
Maya Moore is the biggest story of the WNBA season thus far. The Lynx are up 5-0 and Moore has been an unstoppable force. Not only is she averaging 30 points in five games, but she is also keeping up her rebounding with nine rebounds per game. Moore is the first WNBA player to start the season with four 30-point games. Not to mention, Maya is leading a team of stars who's energy and play-creating ability are going to keep Maya as a force to be reckoned with all season.
Elena Delle Donne has basically carried this year's Sky team to a 4-1 start (losing only to the Lynx 72-75) and past the early-season absences of two strong Chicago presences, Epiphanny Prince and Sylvia Fowles. Based on what she has already done with the Sky, it's probable that Delle Donne will continue to improve this season as she really steps into her leadership role.
Candace Parker is still reminding us of why she was 2013's WNBA MVP. She is leading the Sparks in points per game (21), assists (4), and rebounds (8). The Sparks are 2-1 on the season (their one loss to Phoenix) and expected to rake in even more wins as the season progresses.
LAST WEEK: #5
Diana Taurasi has really hit her stride in Phoenix's third game of the season, although unfortunately for Phoenix, they suffered their first loss to the Stars. Taurasi, however, stepped up her distribution and had nine assists in the last game to go along with her 21 points. What we will need to continue to see from Diana this season are solid assists numbers to back up her already solid scoring, especially because the talent on this Phoenix team runs deep.
LAST WEEK: #4
Angel McCoughtry unfortunately falls back a spot with Atlanta losing two in a row (one of the games she missed). Knowing Angel, though, she'll be back to her old tricks by next week, boosting her scoring back up. McCouhgtry had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in a five-point loss to Indiana.
Tina Charles is another one who seems to be finding her groove. As she adjusts to this new Liberty team, she has steadily gotten better and better. Though the Liberty lost their last game, Charles contributed 24 points and an amazing 15 rebounds (she is still the double-double queen) bumping up her averages for the season to 16 points per game and almost 12 rebounds. Though the Liberty aren't finding as much luck, Charles is definitely proving her worth in New York.
LAST WEEK: #8
Lindsay Whalen is also on an upward trajectory. While her assists are relatively consistent (consistently good) she is really bumping up her scoring this year (which previously separated her from the pack). She scored 22 points in Monday's win over Chicago which brings her scoring to 16 PPG, four points higher than her career average. She, like Maya Moore, also has incredible backup from the Lynx team this year. If she keeps this up, she could be a serious contender for the title in a matter of weeks.
LAST WEEK: #9
Brittney Griner is nothing if not consistent right now. She's averaging about 15 points and eight rebounds right now, which is exactly where Phoenix needs her to be. Interestingly, Griner has the highest field goal percentage in the league right now. While it's true that she is really only taking high percentage shots in the first place, it still goes to show that the 6-8 center should probably go ahead and take more shots anyway which could bump up her MVP chances even more.
LAST WEEK: Not Included
Skylar Diggins has had one of the most impressive starts of the 2014 WNBA season. Her strong scoring has been consistent (20 PPG) and she is dishing out seven assists per game. We're finally getting a glimpse of what Diggins can truly do for this league. Although Tulsa has only played two games this season (both of which they lost), Diggins showed a similarly strong performance in the preseason. In addition, Tulsa gave the Minnesota a run for their money, losing 93-94 while Skylar put up a strong 21 points.
Sue Bird may have finally gotten her stride back. The Storm beat the Washington Mystics, 73-65, and Bird had a much more characteristic performance with 16 points and five assists. Now for Seattle's first four games she is averaging 9.3 PPG (which is still 3.3 points below her career average) and 4.0 assists. Although it's early to judge, we just might be starting to see Sue Bird turn the corner and get back on track this year.