Throughout the first round of the 2006 WNBA Playoffs, a handful
of players raised their game as demonstrated by a rise in their statistical output.
Those who elevate their play when the stakes are highers are our early primetime
Although Whalen's rebounding and assists numbers
decreased slightly in Connecticut's first round series against Washington, the
Sun guard doubled her scoring average while shooting 50 percent from the field
and from the three-point line in two games. Whalen, who had not scored 20 or more
points all season, exploded for a game-high 22 points in a 76-61 Game One victory.
Sacramento guard Kara Lawson's rebounding numbers
may have decreased during the Monarchs first round series sweep against the Comets,
but her scoring increased by 5.9 points as she shot an incredible 55.6% from beyond
the arc. Lawson has also been taken care of things on the defensive end as her
steals numbers are up 1.41 from the regular season.
Despite her team being swept by the Detroit Shock
in the first round, Tamika Whitmore put on a show in Game Two as she scored a
playoff-record 41 points in a losing effort. During the two-game series, the eight-year
veteran averaged 26.5 points while shooting slightly better than she did in the
The 2005 Finals M.V.P. guided the Monarchs to a first
round sweep over the Comets while averaging 4.5 points and 1.56 rebounds more
than her regular season averages of 12.0 points and 6.44 rebounds. Griffith scored
16 points and grabbed a game-high rebound in Game One followed by a 17-point,
seven rebound performance in Game Two.
The leagues second best rebounder during the regular
season is putting up even better numbers on the boards in the playoffs. After
finishing up the regular season with an average of 9.56 rebounds, McWilliams-Franklin
averaged 14.0 rebounds during the Sun's first round sweep over the Mystics. She
pulled down 14 boards in both games of the series.
The WNBA all-time leader in assists ranked No. 14
in assists (a career-low 3.4 apg) during the regular season, but more than doubled
her average in the first round of the playoffs. The nine-year veteran had 15:1
assist to turnover ratio.
Coming off the bench in both of the Monarchs games
in the first round, Brunson averaged 12.0 points per game while playing only 17.
5 minutes per game. Her 12.0 points almost doubles her season average of 6.8 points.
The third-year forward is also dishing out one more assist per game than her season
Due to an injury to Chamique Holdsclaw, Mabika started
the second and third games of the three-game series and really stepped up as she
helped lead the Sparks to back-to-back wins. The 10-year veteran improved her
scoring by 4.5 points and her rebounding by 3.30 rebounds per game.
Cheryl Ford is known more for her rebounding than
her offensive play, but the 6-3 center stepped up on the scoring end during the
first round as she put up 17.0 points per game while shooting a remarkable 56
percent from the field. During the 2006 regular season, Ford, who has a career
scoring average of 11.2 points in 128 games, averaged a career-high 13.8 points
There were also a number
of players who didn't quite live up to their regular season stats.
Bevilaqua was recently named to the WNBA's All-Defense
First Team for the second year in a row, but didn't do much on the defensive end
during the playoffs as she only recorded one steal in two games. The Fever guard
only dished out two assists and shot a miserable 20 percent from the field in
The eight-year veteran only scored three points as
her Houston Comets got swept by the Sacramento Monarchs in the first round. Staley,
who announced her retirement earlier this year, went scoreless in her final WNBA
Sales is the perfect example of a superstar who cracked
under the pressure of the playoffs. The Sun forward made only one field goal on
17 attempts during Connecticut's first round sweep over Washington. She also missed
all seven of her three-point attempts.
Chasity Melvin scored eight points in a Game One loss
to the Sun, but scored only three points on 1-for-9 shooting from the field in
a Game Two defeat. The Washington center was also in foul trouble throughout the
series as she recorded five fouls in Game One and fouled out in Game Two.
Thompson scored 37 and 31 points in the final two
games of the regular season, but unfortunately for the Comets, who suffered the
worst loss in playoff history in Game Two, she couldn't continue the hot-streak.
Thompson scored 13 points on 2-for-8 from the field in Game One and 14 points
in Game Two.