Race to the MVP: Week 5
Race to the MVP is WNBA.com’s weekly feature where we evaluate who’s getting closer to that coveted crown.
This week saw saw some ups (the Dream went 3-0 and Phoenix continues to rise) and some downs (Minnesota uncharacteristically lost two in a row). Individually this week, Diana Taurasi shined and broke into the top two. The race is on as we're halfway through the second month of play.
Even though the Lynx suffered two losses this week (82-85 to Atlanta and 72-80 to Phoenix) Maya Moore continued to perform. She averaged 12 points per game and 7.5 rebounds over the last two games and is still averaging a solid 21.9 points per game overall. The 2013 Finals MVP will be hard to unseat unless Minnesota continues on this losing streak (which is unlikely). The 8-3 Lynx are still leading the Western conference and the WNBA.
LAST WEEK: #4
Diana Taurasi might have had the most all-around solid performance this week, helping to catapult Phoenix to 7-3, only half a game behind Minnesota. Luckily for Phoenix, they've had one of their best weeks to date while Minnesota, Chicago and L.A. struggled. Taurasi had a 19 and a 21-point game while dishing out a total of 17 assists. She is now averaging 18.3 points per game.
LAST WEEK: #2
Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks are struggling a little due to early injuries and the loss of Kristi Toliver (who is spending the rest of the season getting ready for Worlds with the Slovakian national team). Parker, however, is still putting up strong numbers that could, in theory, pull this team out of its slump. Parker is still averaging 20.7 points per game and she put up 16 and 18 points in games this week.
LAST WEEK: #6
Erika de Souza is fighting for a top spot in Race to the MVP and with a jump from No. 6 to No. 4 this week, she has proven that she is capable of not only staying, but also ascending. The Dream also had a strong week this week landing them at No. 1 in the East and also half a game behind Minnesota overall. De Souza put up 16 points in each of this week's games and grabbed 20 total rebounds. The de Souza/Angel McCoughtry combo is proving to be a force to be reckoned with.
LAST WEEK: #3
Elena Delle Donne only moved down this week due to an unfortunate flare-up of Lyme Disease, which she has been living with since she was a sophomore in college. Her condition right now is considered day-by-day and her health is expected to be reevaluated in the coming days. Her return to the Sky will give them a much needed boost after their struggle this week and EDD figures to rise again in the rankings once she gets back on the court.
LAST WEEK: #7
Angel McCoughtry is starting to put up numbers like Angel McCoughtry again. She scored 23 points in Atlanta's victory over Minnesota and then another 16 points in their win over Washington. Plus, she had five assists in each game to go along with six and five rebounds. Angel is now averaging 18.3 points per game
LAST WEEK: #5
Lindsay Whalen moved down a little this week because of Minnesota's "low" week and because of an uncharacteristic low-scoring game against Phoenix. However, her 22-point game against Atlanta and her overall performance for the year prove that she is every bit as capable of moving back up. (This year she has gotten as high as #4 on this list.) Once Minnesota gets their groove back, it's likely we'll see Whalen back in the top contenders.
LAST WEEK: Knocking on Door
Skylar Diggins made an impressive leap this week from Knocking on the Door to #8 on our list. Even more impressive, after five straight losses Tulsa pulled off four straight wins with Skylar leading the way. She scored 48 points in two games this week and was also named the Western Conference Player of the Week. Skylar is averaging 19.2 points per game overall this year, which is double what she averaged last year.
Brittney Griner had three more solid games this week with 20 points against Washington, 18 points against Connecticut (although Phoenix lost) and the 14 points against Minnesota. She is leading the league in blocks per game and total number of blocks right now and had four against the Lynx. Griner will likely continue to shine this year and move up as Phoenix are becoming one of the toughest teams in the league to beat.
Tina Charles has been as consistent as ever putting up two 25-point games (each with 10 rebounds) and a 15-point game this week. Unfortunately, it hasn't been enough to propel the Liberty past their opponents just yet. Charles could easily move up the list when the Liberty find their stride. Not surprisingly, Charles is leading the league in double-doubles.
Erlana LarkinsLarkins has helped the Fever stay at No. 2 in the East without Tamika Catchings. She is averaging a double-double with 11.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. She is second in the league in total rebounds behind Tina Charles.