SECAUCUS, N.J., June 14, 2011 -- Now that we have a full week of WNBA action to work with, we can start to get an idea of how the Race to the MVP Rankings really shape up. I don't think you can find a better fit for the No. 1 spot at this point, but there are still many weeks left to tick down before we know for sure. You'll notice a few more faces this time around as well who will definitely be worth keeping an eye in upcoming player rankings.
Odds are you may find a number of these players on the court for the All-Star Game on July 23 in San Antonio. If you want to make sure they are, do your part by voting online, using your mobile phone by texting the player's last name to 6-9-6-2-2 or by visiting m.wnba.com on any wireless carrier. All balloting will conclude at midnight ET on July 10.
Last ranking: 6
There’s no better candidate for the No. 1 spot than Minnesota’s Rebekkah Brunson. The Lynx’s 3-1 start is proof that there's more than one weapon to work with on this roster, but Brunson’s four straight double-doubles to open up the season remains a solid piece that teams will have to contend with if they’re looking to get one up on Minny.
Last ranking: N/A
In Chicago’s first game against Indiana on June 4, Sylvia Fowles took a total of five shots, hit four of them and finished with just 10 points. The Sky lost 65-57. Over the next two games she shot the ball 19 times against the Sun and 12 times against the Mystics, tallying 23 points in each win. The point here? Give Fowles the ball and good things will happen.
Last ranking: N/A
At 21 points per game, Katie Douglas enters the second week of the season as the league’s leading scorer. Her 27 points against the Liberty Thursday night provided the Fever with an opportunity to pull out the win in the final seconds, but Pondexter delivered the dagger with less than 10 to go. She followed up in the next day’s rematch against New York with 17 points, four assists and four rebounds. When Katie’s on, she’s on.
Last ranking: 5
Cappie Pondexter's clutch play remains a big factor in her status for MVP considerations. Look no further than her game-winning shot with eight ticks left on the clock Friday night against the Fever. New York’s offense ranks second overall in points per game (85) and Pondexter will remain a big part of that in the games going forward.
Last ranking: 7
If there’s an open shot, Tamika Catchings will take it. If there’s a loose ball, she’s going to steal it. If a teammate is open for the shot, she will find her. And if an opposing player thinks they have a clear look at the rim, she better think twice because Catchings will fly out of nowhere to deny it. Nineteen points on 7-of-10 shooting got the job done Saturday against the Liberty, and her 6-for-12 on Friday almost did it as well.
Last ranking: 1
Despite a rough start that allowed Minnesota to jump out to an early 22-0 lead, the Storm battled back in an attempt to pull out a ‘W’ at the end in Thursday's game at KeyArena. Sue Bird did her part with 24 points on 10-for-22 shooting, but she might have finished slightly higher in this week’s rankings if Seattle managed to pull out the win. It was an ugly game that Seattle will look to bury with a few more wins on the schedule.
Last ranking: 4
Candace Parker posted a season-high 22 points against the Mercury Friday night, hitting eight of her 17 shots from the field and adding another six points from the line. This time last year Parker was pulling down double-doubles at an alarming rate, but with her game extending beyond the rim a bit more we may see more of an increase in points rather than boards. Not exactly a bad trade-off.
Last ranking: 2
The 0-2 Phoenix Mercury will hope to turn things around later this week when they host the San Antonio Silver Stars Friday night. Diana Taurasi can’t do it on her own, but when Phoenix turns things around (and they will in all likelihood turn things around), Taurasi will remain a huge factor on the road ahead.
Last ranking: 3
The final score of Thursday’s loss to the Minnesota Lynx made the game look much closer than it actually was. Lauren Jackson wasn’t the only Storm player to struggle in the game but her nine points and seven rebounds isn’t going to have last year's MVP winner knocking on the door for a repeat just yet. With only two games scratched off the calendar, there’s still plenty of time for her to gain some ground.
Last ranking: 8
Maya Moore didn't have the hottest game of her young career against Tulsa last Tuesday night, but she bounced back from that 2-for-10 shooting performance to drop 14 points on Seattle two nights later. Her accuracy was on that night as she hit 7-of-10 shots and also hauled in six rebounds. At times it's easy to forget that she's only four games into her rookie year.