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Alana Beard, Washington Mystics
After a slow start, Beard has emerged as one of the league's top players, let alone rookies. A talented scorer (12.2 ppg), Beard's defensive prowess (2.06 spg) is also second to none.
Nicole Ohlde, Minnesota Lynx
Ohlde, a 6-5 center, has gone a long way in giving Minnesota a solid inside presence. She's a consistent scorer and rebounder (11.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg), and defends the lane very well (1.35 bpg).
Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
Taurasi more than lived up to the hype in her first season. The No. 1 pick had a stellar rookie season (17.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg), and generally avoided the inconsistencies that hound first-year players.
Lindsay Whalen, Connecticut Sun
Named the starter in her second game, Whalen stepped in ably as Connecticut's point guard and emerged as a solid all-around presence (8.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.21 spg) for the Sun.
(All statistics through games played on Sept. 12.)