July 11, 2007 -- Throughout the 2007 WNBA season, WNBA.com
will run its completely unofficial Rookie Rankings, highlighting the play of the
top five rookies to this point. Here's a look at our fourth installment. Do you
think we got it right? Be sure to talk about it here in our Fan
Voice forums. (All statistics are through the games of July 9.)
Skinny: Harding narrowly holds on to the No.
1 spot despite the Lynx' troubles of late, losing five straight
after Tuesday's defeat at the hands of the Mystics. The Duke alum
is still struggling from the field, but as one of the leaders
of the young squad in Minnesota, she sees enough of the ball to
get her shots and to score with some regularity. They may not
win a ton of games this season, but it seems clear that she and
sophomore Seimone Augustus will form the WNBA's next dynamic duo.
Skinny: Like Harding's Lynx, Fernandez's Sparks
haven't won much over the last few weeks... in fact, they haven't
won at all since topping the Monarchs on June 27. Fernandez posted
a career-high 26 in that game and, like Harding, has taken over
a leadership role in L.A. given the absence of Lisa Leslie, Chamique
Holdsclaw, Temeka Johnson and (to a lesser extent) Taj McWilliams-Franklin.
Fernandez is also succeeding at both ends of the court: she is
13th in the league in assists and 11th in steals per game.
Skinny: Price is not your prototypical WNBA
scorer... yet. But she does almost everything else on the court
extremely well. She is "freaky athletic" as Doris Burke
said during Tuesday's ESPN2 telecast and is far and away the top
rookie rebounder, standing seventh overall in the league despite
standing only 5-9. She's quick, she's an excellent passer, she
can play defense and she has a great attitude. If Price can get
more comfortable at the offensive end and improve upon her 53.1
percent clip from the free throw line, she's capable of moving
up on this list before season's end.
Skinny: Coach Michael Cooper has moved Spencer
into the Sparks' starting lineup of late, and the former Lady
Vol has responded. She hasn't played less than 27 minutes since
June 20 and has the top field goal percentage of any rookie in
the league. Spencer also leads the league -- period -- in 3-point
percentage. Provided Spencer continues to get big minutes, she'll
be in this rookie race for the long haul.
Skinny: Who's Evanthia Maltsi and what's she
doing on this list? Well, she is a 28-year-old, 5-9 guard from
Greece. The Sun signed her after she played this past winter for
Bourges Basket, though she is also a veteran of the Greek National
Team. Yes, she has only played 10 games for the Sun, starting
three, but she can shoot the lights out. She hit 5-5 from 3-point
range last Saturday as she posted a season-high 23 points in Connecticut's
win over L.A. and is hitting 43.3 percent from long distance.
Will she be the Rookie of the Year? Perhaps not. But if she continues
to get a chance to play, she could really help the Sun get back
into the Eastern playoff chase.
Jessica Davenport, New York Liberty (6.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
Last week, Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph University courageously took the floor for her first college game, refusing to let an inoperable brain tumor keep her from achieving her dream – and WNBA stars Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings were on hand to lend their support.