Race to the MVP: Week Fourteen

Aman Ali, WNBA.com

With only a handful of games left in the season, it's time for players to make their final pitch for the league's coveted MVP award.

These remaining games might actually be the difference maker too as the Race to the MVP keeps getting tighter and tighter. There are just a handful of games left and no clear favorite to win the best player honors.

"When I look at all the other candidates Candace Parker stands out as the MVP, irrespective of the team she's playing on, but particularly so when you take her current team into consideration. Her impact on the game, no matter how many points she puts up, cannot be disputed. Tell me how many other candidates are flirting with triple-doubles off of points, rebounds, and assists on a nightly basis."

- Monica from Tennessee

"The MVP has to be Maya Moore. From start to finish the Lynx has the best record due to Maya Moore. With Seimone Augustus in and out the lineup, Maya took her game to the next level this year. Parker and EDD have also been balling but it's Moore time lol"

- Ant from New York

"EDD is a rookie and has led her team to the best record in the East and their very first playoffs. If anyone deserves the MVP, EDD does. If Parker does get it, it will be because of her popularity not her consistent play!"

- Mae from Ohio

Who will win the MVP award is anyone's guess, which makes the conversation exciting. Maybe a quick round of eeny-meeny-miny-moe will settle it. Here are this week's rankings.

Here are this week's rankings.

Note: All stats and records are as of games played on or before September 5, 2013.

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    #1. ANGEL McCOUGHTRY, ATLANTA DREAM (16-13)

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    It was a good day for Angel McCoughtry, she messed around and almost got a triple-double. In a nail biting overtime game against the Indiana Fever this week, McCoughtry racked up 30 points, 8 assists and 9 rebounds in the game to go with 3 steals and 3 blocks. She was a straight up monster.

    At 21.9 points per game, McCoughtry is nearly a lock for the scoring title this season. But she's been truly shining through making players around her better (Erika de Souza) and being a stellar defensive presence on the other side of the court.

    Her weakness may be going into beast mode one game and disappearing the next one, but looking at her game this entire season, it is hard to find anyone else that matches her overall consistency on both ends of the floor.

    Previous Ranking: 5 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 21.9 | Rbs: 5.3 | Stls: 2.9


    #2. CANDACE PARKER, LOS ANGELES (21-10)
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    When Candace Parker is on, she's close to impossible to stop. She's a stretch forward that can play the center position too leaving her opponents with little to no idea on how to guard her. She's been a steady contender for the MVP award this season and rightfully so as one of the league's premiere superstars.

    But taking a look at her recent performance against the Minnesota Lynx highlights a common pattern you the fans have noticed in her games this season as well. In the first quarter of the game, Parker essentially put on a basketball footwork clinic against the Lynx by shaking and baking her way to 10 points in the first quarter.

    But then she somehow disappeared in the next two quarters and even went scoreless in the third. By the fourth quarter, she tried to help the Sparks storm back in a fury but it was too late and the Sparks lost 74-83.

    Fortunately for Parker though, she has been on fire more times than disappearing making her a prime candidate for MVP. How she will finish off this season, though, will be the difference maker.

    Previous Ranking: 2 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.1 | Rebs: 8.8 | Blks: 2.0


    #3. MAYA MOORE, MINNESOTA LYNX (23-7)

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    Since the All-Star Game, it is hard to argue who has been having a better second half of the season than Maya Moore. This past week she continued to ride her surging tidal wave of success with a 30-point outing during a 97-74 blowout against the Seattle Storm. And against the Los Angeles Sparks, a game that can serve as a true MVP litmus test, she came up big again with a 20-point, 6-rebound and 2-block outing.

    Granted, she was putting up good but not great numbers in the first half of the season, so it might be hard for her to make an MVP case compared to candidates that have been explosive all season. But considering how good she has been since the All-Star break, it's pretty easy to overlook her first half.

    Previous Ranking: 3 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.6 | Rebs: 6.3 | Asts: 2.9


    #4. ELENA DELLE DONNE, CHICAGO SKY (21-8)

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    The Chicago Sky had a relaxed schedule this past week and that is honestly the only reason why Delle Donne is this low at No. 4. She was named the WNBA's Rookie of the Month for the third consecutive month and is a lock for picking up the league's Rookie of the Year award. But can she win the MVP?

    All season long, you the fans have overwhelmingly thought so, from all the emails that come in to WNBA.com each week making the case for why she should win. It's understandable considering she has helped transform a struggling franchise that has never made the playoffs in its history into a team that could legitimately bring home a championship. All in a matter of months.

    But as stated earlier, the Sky had a relaxed schedule this week, so expect her to jump up higher in the rankings during the league's final week. Every minute she will play will bring her closer/farther to her chances of being the first player of winning Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season since... Candace Parker. Is she a better MVP candidate than Candace Parker right now? You decide.

    Previous Ranking: 2 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.3 | Rbs: 5.5 | Blks: 1.8


    #5. LINDSAY WHALEN, MINNESOTA LYNX (23-7)

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    Nine years into her WNBA career, Lindsay Whalen is having her best season ever. She's enjoying career highs of 14.7 points and 6.0 assists per game this season, adding yet another offensive weapon that opponents of the Minnesota Lynx need to worry about.

    But Whalen has always been this good since she first entered the league. It's just a matter of the rest of the world finally taking notice. While it may be difficult to place her in the MVP rankings against Parker, McCoughtry, Moore and Delle Donne, her ascension this season is one of the league's most interesting storylines to keep tabs on.

    Previous Ranking: 9 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 14.7 | Asts: 6.0 | Rbs: 4.2


    #6. SYLVIA FOWLES, CHICAGO SKY (21-8)
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    Sylvia Fowles is the league's best traditional center in the WNBA right now helping the Chicago Sky climb to the top of the standings with her double-double average of 16.4 points and 11.5 rebounds a game. She's so good that her six boards against the Atlanta Dream this past week can be considered a weak game for standards.

    But like Whalen, Fowles has always been good and it's just taken this long for the rest of the world to notice. She would be much higher on this list if there wasn't someone named Elena Delle Donne that's been the main driving force behind the Skyís success this season.

    Previous Ranking: 6 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 16.4 | Rebs: 11.5 | Blks: 2.3


    #7. TAMIKA CATCHINGS, INDIANA FEVER (13-16)
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    She has single-handedly kept the Indiana Fever relevant this season as the squad continues to sort out their injury woes. And this past week she's been playing at stellar levels. For the past three games she's put up 22 points and at least 9 rebounds. During the team's nail biting overtime loss to the Atlanta Dream, Catchings kept the game competitive for the Fever by notching four steals and two blocks.

    While it is tough to rank Catchings above some of the other top-notch contenders on this list, her name deserves to be in the conversation.

    Previous Ranking:8 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.0 | Rbs: 7.0 | Stls: 2.8


    #8. DIANA TAURASI, PHOENIX MERCURY (15-13)

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    Taurasi is one of the best players in the WNBA right now. Make no mistake about it. She was an early favorite for the MVP award this season for a laundry list of reasons--not limited to being one of the league's top scorers and now passers. She hasn't been playing poorly, by any means, to put her this low in the rankings.

    It just feels like she's been going on autopilot for the past few weeks, putting up steady but not stellar numbers. There has been an insane amount of expectations on the Phoenix Mercury to win a WNBA championship this season and the team has been dealing with a litter of injury and personnel woes that have clouded their path to the top. So it's been hard to give Taurasi a fair evaluation of her game this season with all the changes the team has had to go through this year.

    She's still one of the league's most explosive players and the Mercury are still more than capable of picking up a championship this season. But itís hard for her to make the case for MVP this season because of all the team's personnel changes that she's had to adjust to.

    Previous Ranking: 4 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 20.7 | Rebs: 4.1 | Asts: 6.1


    #9. TINA CHARLES, CONNECTICUT SUN (7-22)

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    Watching Tina Charles' dominance this season has been one of the most heartbreaking things to see. The reigning MVP is arguably playing better basketball than she was last season contrasted with her team's tumble to the bottom of the league's standings. While she still remains one of the league's top bigs, it is a very slim chance she is worthy of an MVP award while playing for a team with a 7-22 record.

    Previous Ranking: 10 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.0 | Rebs: 10.1 | Asts: 1.4


    #10. ERIKA de SOUZA, ATLANTA DREAM (16-13)
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    It may have taken her a while to get going this season, but Erika de Souza has really stepped up her presence in the paint as a top-notch sidekick to Angel McCoughtry. She's been amping up her production night after night, including 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks against the Indiana Fever and a stat line of 27 points and 6 rebounds the game before.

    Her ascension comes at the right time as the Dream will need to break free from their habits of relying too much on McCoughtry in the post season.

    Previous Ranking: N/A || 2013 Stats: Pts: 13.1 | Rebs: 10.0 | Blks: 1.8


    KNOCKING ON THE DOOR
    11.) Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx
    12.) Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks
    13.)Tina Thompson, Seattle Storm
    14.) Jia Perkins, San Antonio Silver Stars
    15.) Courtney Vandersloot, Chicago Sky

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