WNBA Player Rankings: Week 6

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 25 -- Lisa Leslie turns 36 on July 7. Tina Thompson turned 33 in February.

Leslie is the all-time leading scorer in WNBA history with over 5,600 career points. Tina Thompson is second, having recently become just the second player to eclipse the 5,000-point barrier.

Leslie missed last season for the birth of her first child, Lauren Jolie Lockwood. Thompson has a young son named Dyllan.

Leslie is a serious MVP contender this season. And so is Thompson.

For all of the talk so far about Candace Parker, Leslie and the West-leading Sparks (all of it well deserved), one of the season's more amazing performances took place Tuesday night in San Antonio.

Chasing a loose ball in the first quarter, Thompson was inadvertently bumped out of bounds by Silver Stars forward Sophia Young. Falling into some courtside chairs, Thompson cut the ring finger on her left, non-shooting hand and was subsequently in visible pain, shaking and cringing as she had it attended to on the Comets bench.

"Tina's the anchor of our team…bottom line," said Comets center Michelle Snow, who led the team in scoring with 17. "That's our go-to player. When you lose a player like that, you have to make up for it in different ways."

The Comets stayed in the game against the Silver Stars -- who, oh, by the way, had won five straight coming in -- and trailed by only two at the half.

X-rays showed a fracture in the tip of Thompson's finger. So she had it taped up with a mini-splint and went back out on the court in the third quarter.

Line of the Week
Deanna Nolan (Shock)
June 20 win over Lynx
44 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists

Back and forth the game went, eventually going into overtime, and when Ann Wauters hit a nine-footer with three seconds left in the extra period to put San Antonio up one, it seemed like the wind had finally been taken out of the plucky Comets' sails.

But on the inbound play, Thompson, still wearing the splint, got the ball on the perimeter, took a dribble and shot from the right wing from about 13 feet. Swoosh. Comets win, 82-81.

"It was 'Get Tina the ball!!'" said Houston coach Karleen Thompson of her last-second game plan. "We got her the ball and that was it! No play is needed for that. Get her the ball. … We just put the ball in her hands and let her do the rest.

"That's why she is who she is and has so many things in this league that she has done behind her name. Four championships… and a champion knows how to find a way to win. She came back out there with a fractured finger… she put that aside for her team and she went out there and played."

As you can see, I'm giving plenty of props to the Parkers and Leslies of the WNBA world, but if that's not an MVP candidate, I don't know what is.

Now here are the player rankings for the season through June 25.

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  • Race to the MVP - Overall Player Rankings

    1. Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    17.2 9.7 4.1 1.8 2.3 .472 .500 .689 +22.8
  • Last Week's Rank: 4
    I don't care about the dunks (certainly not as much as the general public -- and the SportsCenter audience -- appear to) and I don't care that she's a rookie or that she'll be on this list for many, many years to come. In L.A.'s win over Seattle on Tuesday, she led her team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks. She's been the steadiest player on the league's best team so far.

  • 2. Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    16.2 9.7 2.2 1.9 3.2 .483 .111 .704 +22.8
  • Last Week's Rank: 1
    It's a tough call between these Sparks posts and there are certainly arguments to be made on Leslie's behalf. She's more of a defensive presence down low and she provides invaluable veteran leadership, which successful teams always need down the stretch.

  • 3. Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    18.9 4.0 3.6 1.1 0.6 .481 .333 .851 +18.0
  • Last Week's Rank: 3
    The Lynx had lost five straight before Tuesday night's win over the Liberty in which Augustus posted 21 points and nine assists. This reliable scoring machine has been in double figures in every game so far this season and is averaging 35.3 minutes a night, third in the WNBA.

  • 4. Lindsay Whalen, Connecticut Sun
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    14.5 5.9 5.5 1.2 0.0 .457 .381 .813 +18.6
  • Last Week's Rank: 2
    Whalen's numbers continue to fly under the MVP radar, but she's the leader on the East's top team. And she does everything well, from running the show in the halfcourt offense... to outside shooting... to passing on the break... to perimeter defense... to rebounding. Her stats may not jump out at you, but "value" is her middle name.

  • 5. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    25.4 4.8 3.6 1.3 0.9 .479 .395 .863 +23.8
  • Last Week's Rank: 7
    It's been an interesting week for the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week. She averaged 32.5 ppg in consecutive wins over Connecticut and Chicago. She then had 21 in the Mercury's blowout loss Sunday in New York. She met with the President at the White House on Monday, and on Tuesday, she rebounded to put up 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a resounding win in Washington.

  • 6. Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    19.3 7.1 1.5 1.8 1.5 .437 .271 .944 +21.0
  • Last Week's Rank: 5
    The 2007 MVP just keeps on truckin'. She struggled to just 10 points in Tuesday's setback in Los Angeles, but her season-long numbers are terrific across the board. She's in the top five in the league in points per game, free throw percentage, minutes per game, field goals made and total rebounds, steals and blocks. She does it all for the playoff-bound Storm.

  • 7. Katie Douglas, Indiana Fever
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    17.3 5.0 3.2 1.9 0.3 .374 .333 .773 +13.5
  • Last Week's Rank: 6
    Douglas' stats have declined a bit since the return of Tamika Catchings to the Fever lineup, but she remains the team's most valuable player to this point of the season. Even with Catch in the lineup, KT can score (she had 20 in Tuesday's win over Sacramento) and is a hugely valuable perimeter defender.

  • 8. Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix Mercury
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    25.1 4.7 3.8 1.2 0.2 .420 .344 .830 +19.1
  • Last Week's Rank: 8
    The exhilarating scorer has taken up the offensive slack with the departure of Penny Taylor and hasn't disappointed, standing second in the league in scoring behind Taurasi and being a vital playmaker and finisher in Phoenix's league-leading offense.

  • 9. Tina Thompson, Houston Comets
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    17.2 7.9 2.4 0.7 0.6 .405 .424 .845 +15.7
  • Last Week's Rank: 14
    Not only is she still a phenomenal, world-class player, but Thompson is the heart of this vastly improved team in Houston. At 33 years of age, she leads the league in minutes per game (36.8) and is top 10 in scoring, rebounding, three-point percentage and double-doubles. If the Comets manage to reach the playoffs, she could be a serious contender for MVP.

  • 10. Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    15.6 3.8 5.5 1.4 0.4 .425 .354 .941 +16.2
  • Last Week's Rank: NR
    Yes, I feel obligated to give Tweety props for her ridiculous 44-point game against the Lynx last week, but I am honestly convinced that she is the Shock's most valuable player, which means a lot given the excellence of her teammates. She can score, she's second in the league in assists and she's quick enough to shut down opposing guards. That's value at both ends of the court.
  • On the Outside Looking In (season averages - last week's rank)
    11. Sophia Young (San Antonio): 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.4 apg (9)
    12. Asjha Jones (Connecticut): 15.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.9 apg (13)
    13. Katie Smith (Detroit): 16.4 ppg, 3.3 apg, 3.0 rpg (10)
    14. Alana Beard (Washington): 19.0 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.4 rpg (11)
    15. Candice Dupree (Chicago): 16.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.9 apg (15)

  • Dropped out: DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles)
  • More

    Video

    Courtside Countdown

    Check out the Top 10 plays from last week's WNBA Action.

    Liberty vs. Storm

    Cappie Pondexter scores 20 points, Tina Charles adds 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Liberty defeat the Storm in overtime.

    Johnson's Triple-Double

    Tameka Johnson records a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 10 rebounds in the Storm's tough loss to the Liberty.

    Mercury vs. Sparks

    DeWanna Bonner scores 22 potions, Britney Griner and Diana Taurasi each score 18 points as the Mercury defeat the Sparks.

    Timeout: Katie Douglas

    Take a timeout with Connecticut Sun All-Star, Katie Douglas.