Race to the MVP: Week Three

Aman Ali, WNBA.com

Elena Delle Donne has emerged as the consensus favorite for this year's WNBA Rookie of the Year, but with her ability to rise to the occasion during crunch time moments, she's becoming a more and more viable candidate for MVP too.

The last person to pick up both Rookie and MVP honors was in 2008 by Candace Parker. But in order for Delle Donne to do that, she's going to have to outdo ... Candace Parker.

With decent numbers and now a sidelining injury, Brittney Griner's early season buzz has subsided. That doesn't mean she isn't able to bounce back this season, but for now she is out of the MVP discussion. Many of you agree.

"I have much love for Brit Griner...however, she is not the player that Delle Donne is...I believe that Delle Donne will score way more points than BG, she will be more effective than Griner, she will make her teamates better, and her team will be in the finals... ...she will flat out have the most impressive freshman year and be in the running for MVP."

Maureen, Connecticut

Diana Taurasi returns to the MVP discussion as she has rediscovered her monster scoring ways and another player whose stock continues to rise is Ivory Latta. Several other top notch players shouldn't be slept on according to our readers.

"Danielle Robinson has to be in the Top 15. She is playing fantastic. Without Becky Hammon, San Antonio need Robinson to step up, she has met that challenge and has exceed expectations. She may not have the most points, but she runs that team like a Vet! She also does the things that don't show up in the box score. She gets deflections, causes point guards trouble, makes the hustles plays. I think Robinson should be ranked higher than Griner. You have to look at how they are benefiting their team. Griner is helping, but Robinson is the leader!"

Caleb, South Dakota

Here are this week's rankings.

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    What makes Candace Parker such a great player is even in her average games she still puts up impressive numbers. In the team's last game against Tulsa, even though she was outscored by several of her teammates and only logged 4 points in the second half, Candace Parker still put up a double-double for the game against the Shock with 17 points and 13 rebounds. But in order for her to stay in front of the pack, she is going to have to do more to break free from many of the league's viable MVP candidates inching behind her.

    Previous Ranking: 1 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.0 | Rebs: 12.7 | Blocks: 3.3 | FG%: 50

    #2. Elena Delle Donne,Chicago Sky (4-1)

    Delle Donne's meteoric run in the WNBA this season is too tough to ignore. She is not only emerging as one of the league's best perimeter shooters, but also one of the best clutch ones, helping the Chicago Sky remain as one of the top teams in the league. Most importantly, she makes players around her better. With star scorer Epiphanny Prince out for the next few weeks due to obligations for the Eurobasket Tournament, Delle Donne has comfortably taken over leadership for the team. While it may be difficult for a rookie to rack up MVP honors, don't let her inexperience fool you. She is the real deal.

    Previous Ranking: 5 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 19.4 | Rebs: 4.8 | Blks: 2.8 | Asts: 2.2



    Angel McCoughtry remains in the top list of MVP candidates considering there is little doubt she is the spark behind the Atlanta Dream's superb 4-1 record to start the season. Against the New York Liberty on June 7, McCoughtry lead her team to victory with a monster double-double of 15 points and 10 assists. Numbers like these show perhaps a new maturity and a willingness to trust teammates which could lead to increased MVP consideration.

    Previous Ranking: 3 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.0 | Rebs: 6.0 | Asts: 5.2



    Tina Charles had a juggernaut game this week that propels her a few spots higher on the rankings. She bounced back from three straight losses to lead her team with a huge road win against the defending WNBA champs Indiana Fever. That in and of itself is no easy feat and Charles did it with a monster stat line of 30 points (one point shy of her career high) 10 rebounds and three blocks. All this on 13-17 shooting for the field - tying a franchise record.

    Previous Ranking: 7 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 21.6 | Rebs: 12.0 | Asts: 2.2| FG%: 43.4



    Maya Moore has solid this season averaging 22.3 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. But her stats are getting obscured due to other teammates, namely Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsday Whalen having phenomenal seasons too. Moore hasn't exactly outshone her teammates in scoring, rebounds or assists and in order to be a viable MVP candidate, she'll need to show she can take over games and be the player that can carry her team on her back.

    Previous Ranking: 2 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 22.3 | Assts: 3.0 | Rebs: 6.0


    Cappie Pondexter is having a stellar season, and it's been exciting to see how she explodes when her back is against the wall. Down against the Atlanta Dream and only logging seven points in the first three quarters, Cappie scored 10 in the fourth quarter on 4-for-6 shooting to help lead her team to victory. With teammate Essence Carson out for the season with a torn ACL, she will likely take on even more of the team's scoring load. Expect to see more big performances from her in the games to come.

    Previous Ranking: 4 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 15.2 | Rebs: 5.0 | Assts: 3.4


    Sylvia Fowles is putting up nasty stats for the season averaging a double-double of 13.4 points and 14.8 rebounds per game this season. That by default brings her into the MVP discussion. But when you have an Elena Delle Donne on your team getting the spotlight, it's easy for Fowles' performances to get buried. Still, Fowles is having a superb season and her numbers deserve recognition.

    Previous Ranking:6 || 2013 Stats: Pts: 13.4 | Rebs: 14.8 | Blks: 2.0



    This is no fluke, Ivory Latta and the Washington Mystics are viable competitors. Latta has helped lead the way averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game this season. She also is coming off a heck of a win against the ferocious Minnesota Lynx where she finished strong with 24 points, five assists and two steals. Under new coach Mike Thibault, it's exciting to see Latta things turn around so dramatically for the franchise.

    Previous Ranking: N/A|| 2013 Stats: Pts: 20.5 | Rebs: 3.8 | Assts: 4.5



    Don't sleep on Diana Taurasi. After a sluggish start for the season, Taurasi has gone back to her monster ways averaging 23.5 points and 3.5 assists for the past two games. But it's hard to ignore the Phoenix Mercury's disappointing season thus far with a 1-3 record. But with Taurasi getting it together, perhaps her big games will motivate the rest of her teammates to step it up too.

    Previous Ranking: N/A || 2013 Stats: Pts: 18.8 | FG%: 49.1 | Assts: 3.0


    Toliver continues to be one of the Sparks' most reliable offensive weapons draining buckets with ease. Many of her fans have sent dozens of emails asking why she hasn't been in the MVP discussion before. This week she enters after putting up 21 points against the Tulsa Shock. But it's hard for her to go any higher on the list considering she only put up three points against the much tougher San Antonio Silver Stars the game before. Compared to last season, she's been inconsistent with her jumpers and will need to warm those hands up a bit if she wants to move any higher in the rankings.

    Previous Ranking: N/A || 2013 Stats: Pts: 13.7 | FG%: 46.9 | Asts: 2.7

    11) Lindsey Harding, Los Angeles Sparks
    12) Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx
    13) Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
    14) Glory Johnson, Tulsa Shock
    15) Danielle Robinson, San Antonio Silver Stars

    Note: All stats and records are as of games played on or before June 13, 2013.