Pick One Challenge Outlook, August 6, 2007

by Matthew Brennan, WNBA.com

August 6, 2007 - The 2007 WNBA regular season is winding down with only ten days of games remaining starting on Tuesday. Lauren Jackson should run away with the league's highest PRA average, as her PRA of 34.7 is far ahead of Minnesota's Seimone Augustus who is second with a 29.0 average. Houston's Tina Thompson is currently in third with a 27.5 mark.

Last Week's MVP: Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

Diana Taurasi had a great week on the offensive end, averaging 26.0 points and 2.5 assists over her past two games. Phoenix's win on Thursday was their sixth in a row, and Taurasi will be playing in her first playoff games of her WNBA career later this month.

Rookie Watch

Connecticut's Evanthia Maltsi continued her stellar recent play for the Sun, scoring 13 points with four rebounds in Friday's blowout win over Indiana. Another rookie who excelled over the weekend was Seattle's Katie Gearlds, who knocked down five three-pointer for 15 points on Saturday night. Gearlds has scored a point in only five of her last ten games, but it looks like she can become a top three-point specialist if she can get enough minutes.

2217 Last Week's Picks

I had excellent games from Alana Beard and Sue Bird to start the weekend, but Monique Currie struggled to make an impact on Sunday. My entry moved up to the 83rd percentile heading into Sunday.

WNBA.com Daily Expert Pick
Tuesday, August 7

Jia Perkins
Chicago vs. Indiana
Thursday, August 9

Diana Taurasi
Phoenix vs. New York
Friday, August 10

Sancho Lytlle
Houston vs. Sacramento
Saturday, August 11

Tully Bevilaqua
Indiana vs. Detroit
Sunday, August 12

Ashley Battle
New York vs. Detroit
Tuesday: Jia Perkins, Chicago vs. Indiana

Jia Perkins has been on fire for the Sky lately, scoring in double figures in 14 of her last 16 games for Chicago. Coming primarily off the bench in her fourth WNBA season, Perkins is on track to post a career high in both scoring and field-goal percentage. Perkins and the Sky will host the Fever in a must-win game with Chicago battling the Mystics for the final playoff spot.

Thursday: Diana Taurasi, Phoenix vs. New York

Diana Taurasi has led the Phoenix Mercury into the playoffs for the first time, and they definitely have the looks of a contender to reach the WNBA Finals. While her numbers are off from her huge 2006 campaign, Taurasi is still one of the league's top scorers, ranking fourth in the WNBA with 18.9 points. Taurasi will still see plenty of time down the stretch as the Mercury battle the Monarchs for home-court advantage in the West.

Friday: Sancho Lyttle, Houston vs. Sacramento

Sancho Lyttle has averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in her last two games, so I will look for her to maintain her level of play against the Monarchs in the only game on Friday's schedule.

Saturday: Tully Bevilaqua, Indiana vs. Detroit

Tully Bevilaqua will look to lead the Fever past the Sky when the two teams meet Saturday afternoon on ABC. This game could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals as the teams are one and two in the current standings.

Sunday: Ashley Battle, New York vs. Detroit

Ashley Battle of the Liberty is one of the more unsung UConn grads in the WNBA, but she has improved her numbers every year and has emerged as a valuable contributor for New York off the bench. The Liberty are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and will be looking to upset the Shock in Detroit's second visit to Madison Square Garden.



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