Race to MVP (Week 13): Delle Donne Makes Late Push

Note: WNBA.com’s Race to the MVP is the opinion of this writer and does not reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.

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With just two regular-season games remaining for each team, Breanna Stewart is closing in on her first career MVP award. Sunday’s road win over Minnesota kept Seattle in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed, a crucial part of Stewart’s MVP resume.

Meanwhile, the Wings have now lost nine straight games, all but ending Liz Cambage’s MVP chances. Cambage missed two of the last three games, and Dallas (14-18) is now guaranteed to finish with a losing record after going 16-18 last year. For the first time in a month, Cambage drops from the No. 2 spot in our rankings.

Here is the final edition of Race to MVP before we pick a winner next week.

This Week’s Rankings

  1. Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm (Last Week: 1)
  2. Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics (Last Week: 4)
  3. Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks (Last Week: 3)
  4. Liz Cambage, Dallas Wings (Last Week: 2)
  5. Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx (Last Week: 5)
  6. Tiffany Hayes, Atlanta Dream (Last Week: 6)
  7. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury (Last Week: 8)
  8. Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury (Last Week: 7)
  9. Chelsea Gray, Los Angeles Sparks (Last Week: 9)
  10. A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces (Last Week: 10)

1. Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
Stats: 22.0 points, 52% FG, 8.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.4 steals

With every Dallas loss, Stewart’s lead atop the MVP race has only increased. The award will likely be decided by the time Seattle hosts the Wings on Sunday in the regular-season finale. Stewart displayed her full skill set in the win over Minnesota last weekend, finishing with 17 points, a career-high 17 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. She is just 34 points shy of Lauren Jackson’s franchise record for points in a season (739) with two games remaining. As long as Atlanta doesn’t catch Seattle for the No. 1 seed, Stewart should be the one hoisting the MVP trophy.

2. Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics
Stats: 21.2 points, 49% FG, 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks

Delle Donne rises to No. 2 after the Mystics won their seventh straight game on Wednesday (including the forfeit by Las Vegas). We give her an edge over Candace Parker due to team records and the fact that Delle Donne is the lone superstar in Washington. Delle Donne has scored 20-plus points in all but one game during this streak, including a pair of 30-point outbursts against Seattle and Phoenix. She’s third in the league in Player Efficiency Rating behind Cambage and Stewart. It’s also important to remember Delle Donne has missed five games this season, while Stewart has missed zero.

3. Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
Stats: 18.0 points, 47% FG, 8.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists

Parker also jumps Cambage in the rankings, as her Sparks (19-13) could earn a first-round bye and a home playoff game despite recent struggles. L.A. barely held on to beat the Liberty on Tuesday, avoiding its third straight loss. While her team has proven inconsistent, Parker ranks near the top of the league in just about every statistical category. She could leap to No. 2 in our final rankings by winning a head-to-head matchup with Delle Donne on Friday, but that is likely her ceiling in the MVP vote for this season.

4. Liz Cambage, Dallas Wings
Stats: 22.8 points, 59% FG, 9.7 rebounds, 1.8 blocks

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Wings, who relieved coach Fred Williams of his duties after the loss to Washington on Sunday. Cambage is still doing her part every time she takes the court, but the team’s lack of success must count for something. The Wings are now in serious danger of missing the playoffs with a critical game against Las Vegas coming Friday. The matchup with A’ja Wilson and the Aces is a chance for Cambage to put her stamp on a fantastic individual season and help her team reverse its fortunes.

5. Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx
Stats: 17.2 points, 61% FG, 11.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.3 blocks

If you want Tiffany Hayes in this spot or even higher, fine. But Fowles is second in the WNBA in Win Shares and still putting up ridiculous numbers despite Minnesota’s record (17-15). Sunday’s loss to Seattle marked the first time in Fowles’ entire Lynx career that she scored 25-plus points in a defeat (previously 17-0). After winning MVP with a historic 2017 season, Fowles is on the verge of making more history. She’s just 21 rebounds away from breaking the single-season rebounding record set by Jonquel Jones last year (403 rebounds).