Race to the MVP: Week 1

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 7, 2011 --The first week – or in this case, weekend – of Race to the MVP considerations is always a tricky one. One of the biggest factors is games played. This weekend alone, every team played at least one game, but only Minnesota and Los Angeles played two apiece. Suffice it to say, we have a pretty small field of numbers to pull from here, but the least we can do is lay down a foundation to build off of over the next few weeks.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at some of the top performers after just one weekend of play.

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  • Race to the MVP - Overall Player Rankings

    1. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm (1-0)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    13.0 4.0 10.0 3.0 0.0 0.417 0.000 0.750 +18.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    A double-double in game one will get you some love here in the Race to the MVP rankings. Not only did Sue finish with 13 and 10 on Saturday, but she also delivered bounce passes with Bird-like accuracy that fans have all come to expect, love and/or fear (depending on fandom).

  • 2. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury (0-1)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    31.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 0.550 0.800 1.000 +22.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    The league's general managers voted Diana Taurasi as the player most likely to win the MVP award this season and so far in just one game she looks to be on the right path. Diana scored 31 of Phoenix’s 71 points in Saturday’s loss to the Storm. With just one game to pull from you have to wonder where she is now headed for the remainder of the season. I’m looking up.

  • 3. Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm (1-0)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    15.0 7.0 1.0 1.0 0.0 .444 1.000 1.000 +16.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    The reigning MVP fittingly makes her way onto the opening week’s Race to the MVP rankings after tossing up 15 points and snagging seven rebounds in the Storm’s win over Phoenix. Six of her total points came at the free-throw line, further illustrating the fact that LJ will get her points any way necessary.

  • 4. Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks (1-1)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    15.0 8.5 3.0 1.0 1.5 0.462 0.250 0.500 +18.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    Candace is back in action and looking just fine after two games. Her 19 points and 10 rebounds Friday against the Lynx was evidence to the fact. Sunday’s 11-7 outing was just an example of Minnesota making the right adjustments to limit Candace’s impact on the game. This Friday’s game against Phoenix should be an interesting one.

  • 5. Cappie Pondexter, New York Liberty (1-0)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    12.0 3.0 11.0 1.0 0.0 0.333 0.000 1.000 +14.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    Cappie’s 5-of-15 shooting against the Dream isn’t typical, so odds are we’ll see a bigger outing over the next week or so. What Cappie couldn’t finish on her own she dished off to teammates, as she registered 11 assists on top of 12 points in her season debut. Maybe her shooting was off, but a double-double is a nice way to tip things off.

  • 6. Rebekkah Brunson, Minnesota Lynx (1-1)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    10.0 13.5 2.5 0.5 0.0 0.526 0.000 0.000 +20.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    As ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel said in Saturday’s WNBA.com/ESPN live chat, Rebekkah Brunson is one of the most underrated players in the league. I agreed then and agree even more now. In her first weekend, Brunson registered a quiet 10-12 in Friday’s loss and 10-15 in Sunday’s win. Last season’s averages of 11.3 points and 10.3 rebounds look to be possible yet again.

  • 7. Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (1-0)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    15.0 9.0 3.0 3.0 0.0 .308 .000 1.000 +19.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    Tamika is a multi-faceted player who is capable of relying on different elements of her game when the going gets tough in the shooting department. That was precisely the case Saturday when she shot 4-for-13 from the field but backed it up with 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals.

  • 8. Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx (1-1)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    18.5 3.5 2.5 1.0 0.5 0.433 0.353 0.833 +16.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    Welcome to the rankings rook. But are we all that surprised? Maya debuted with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists Friday before posting up 16 points and three boards on Sunday. Much like Tina Charles’ 2010 season, you can expect to see her circling around these rankings a bit if she looks to keep that up.

  • 9. Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars (1-0)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    20.0 4.0 4.0 2.0 1.0 0.643 0.000 0.667 +21.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    Sophia and Becky Hammon (who just barely missed out on cracking the Top 10) will continue to be the offensive forces in the Silver Stars’ system. Sophia’s 20 points, four assists and four rebounds is typical of her across-the-board work ethic and it’s exactly what San Antonio is going to need this season.

  • 10. Elizabeth Cambage, Tulsa Shock (0-1)
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    18.0 10.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 0.300 0.000 0.857 +18.00
  • Last ranking: N/A
    It was a tough go for the Shock in that first game against San Antonio, but Liz showed signs of what is to come in Tulsa with 18 points and 10 boards in her rookie debut. Now if only the pieces around her get clicking soon enough, Tulsa can work on improving on that 6-28 record in 2010.

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