The 2013 WNBA season is upon us, with 12 franchises having set out on their path to strike championship gold. With the rookie trio of Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins drawing as much interest as we’ve ever seen for the league, the pressure has risen on to deliver strong performances.
Over the past week, the WNBA has delivered.
From players carving out their place amongst the league’s elite with their all-around performances to individuals making WNBA history, we’ve seen it all. In that same breath, certain teams elevated our level of expectations by coming through with extraordinary victories.
For everything you missed and more, here is the first edition of the SheridanHoops WNBA Week in Review.
|New York Liberty||2||2||.500||2|
|San Antonio Silver Stars||2||1||.667||-|
|Los Angeles Sparks||2||1||.667||-|
Player of the Week: Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
The 2013 WNBA regular season is young, but that doesn’t mean the standout performances have been difficult to find. Instead, the WNBA has seen countless players shine under the bright lights of the early season.
No player has been as stellar over the past week as Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker.
Parker started out poorly, scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out three assists and tallying two blocks on May 26. While that may be a strong performance by the average player, Parker was viewed as one of the stars that started out slow in the 2013 season.
This past week was the ultimate form of redemption.
Matched up against Jayne Appel and the San Antonio Silver Stars, Parker went off for 27 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and a steal. She was 11-of-22 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line, thus displaying her dominance in every phase of the game.
In her first game since that dominant performance, Parker went off for 17 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. This two-way dominance is what made the former Tennessee Volunteer the 2008 WNBA MVP.
Not only has the quality of her recent performances earned her Player of the Week honors from both Sheridan Hoops and the WNBA, but it’s thrust her into the forefront of the MVP discussion in 2013.
Rookie of the Week: Elena Delle Donne, Chicago Sky
If the season ended today, the 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year award would be handed to Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky.
The second overall draft choice has been extraordinary, beating her follow “Big Three” members Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock en route to a strong team and individual start.
Thus far, Delle Donne is averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. She’s also shooting 50.0 percent from beyond the arc and displaying an incredible spin move as she attacks the basket and finishes with her off hand.
It’s early in the season, but Delle Donne has the look of a genuine WNBA star.
Those endorsement deals solidify her status as a force to be reckoned with, both on the court and off of it.
Game of the Week: New York Liberty 78, Tulsa Shock 76 OT
Admittedly, this game was slightly over a week old. With that being said, this is the first edition of the WNBA Week in Review and the New York Liberty defeated the Tulsa Shock in one of the best games we’ll see all season.
It ended with two buzzer-beaters made with less than 0.5 seconds remaining on the clock—unfortunately, only one of them counted.
The Liberty and Shock battled from start-to-finish, rallying off 10 ties and 11 lead changes. Liz Cambage led the Shock with 22 points, while Essence Carson scored 18 for the Liberty. Glory Johnson added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Tulsa and Cappie Pondexter put up 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists for New York.
In the end, it came down to which team could step up when it mattered most.
Johnson struck to make it 69-67 with 52.3 seconds remaining, but Carson managed to counter with a game-tying jumper at the 37.2 seconds mark. In overtime, the two continued to battle and thus creating a deadlock with just 11.1 seconds remaining when Tulsa scorer Nicole Powell tied it at 76-76 with a clutch three.
With 0.5 seconds remaining, however, Pondexter scored for two and thus made it 78-76. What followed next was a fair blend of stunning and controversial, as Johnson made a buzzer-beating layup to end the game and send it to double-overtime.
It just wasn’t shot soon enough, as the referees waved it off and thus gave New York the 78-76 overtime win.
Play of the Week: Brittney Griner’s Dunks
A new era of WNBA basketball is upon us.
In her first game as a professional basketball player, first overall draft choice Brittney Griner made history. While her Phoenix Mercury were unable to trump Elena Delle Donne and the Chicago Sky, Griner overcame early foul trouble to throw down two momentous dunks.
In just one game, Griner matched the WNBA record for dunks in a career.
That’s what you call an encouraging sign for the future.
If the WNBA is looking to improve their ratings and thus become a greater entity—which they deserve to be—Griner’s ability to throw down flushes is a great place to start building with. Not only does she offer an explosive burst that we hadn’t seen before, but at her size, making the highlight reel should be of no issue throughout her career.
Who’s ready for a posterization?
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