Race to the MVP is WNBA.coms weekly feature where we evaluate whos getting closer to that coveted crown. Starting this week, post All-Star Break, the list has been narrowed to five spots to reflect the amount of play left in the season.
For the first time this year, players haven't moved up or down the Race to the MVP ladder. Rather, players are starting to settle into their spots. This, however, does not mean that any of them are yielding. Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi are still performing at an elite level while Candace Parker is still fighting to keep her spot.
Maya Moore was named Player of the Week this week for the fourth time in a row (a new WNBA record) as well as the Player of the Month for the month of July. So, it goes with out question that she is also our No. 1 (again) in Race to the MVP. This week she scored 17, 20, and 40 points to spearhead the Lynx's nine-game winning streak. Moore's efficiency ranking is also through the roof (26.5) and her 24.7 PPG are just shy of Diana Taurasi's all-time record of 25.3 from 2006.
This past week, Diana Taurasi led Phoenix to two more wins although the Mercury did suffer an unfortunate streak-ending loss to Minnesota as well. Though Taurasi's point totals can't match Maya's, her efficacy as a leader has proven itself as Phoenix picked up right back where it left off after the loss to Minnesota. Taurasi is still No. 1 in assists per game with 6.0 and the Mercury are still the top team in the league. We'll see who between Phoenix and Minnesota can earn the No. 1 seed in the West in the last two weeks of play.
The Atlanta Dream had a banner week despite being upset by the New York Liberty. And, Angel herself had a phenomenal week as well. She scored 25, 21, and 28 points leading the Dream past Connecticut and Tulsa. Just as Taurasi is on Maya's tail, Angel is on Taurasi's tail. She is now averaging 20 PPG.
Brittney Griner is continuing to blow everyone away with her quiet domination. Her performance this week (14, 18 and 17 points) was just another notch in her stellar sophomore year. Except this is when it all counts. Minnesota only trails Phoenix by 1.5 games, making the conclusion of this regular season a close race between the top two teams. Although Minnesota came out on top last time, there's little doubt Phoenix will let them get away with an easy win when they play in Phoenix on August 9.
Although reigning MVP Candace Parker's Sparks have had an up-and-down season, Los Angeles has been able to pull off some recent W's to get themselves one win shy of clinching a playoff berth. Many thanks to Parker who, although she is fourth in the league in scoring, affects the game in many more ways than just scoring. Parker ranks No. 5 in both blocks and steals which proves her athleticism and versatility. In addition, she No. 3 overall in efficiency. At this point in the season, it's not likely that Parker will make a lunge at Maya for the top spot, but it is likely that the Sparks will start to play with a little more confidence and rake in a couple more wins going into the postseason.