WNBA Week in Review: Stars Face Revival, Injury

Picture_4The past week of WNBA action has been one of memorable and gut-wrenchingly painful proportions. From breakout performances to tragic injuries, we’ve seen every end of the spectrum come to fruition as the regular season begins to take shape.

Without any further ado, this is Sheridan Hoops presents WNBA Week in Review.

Eastern Conference
TeamWinsLossesWin %GB
Atlanta Dream51.833-
Chicago Sky41.800.5
Washington Mystics31.7501
New York Liberty42.6671
Connecticut Sun24.3333
Indiana Fever14.2003.5
Western Conference
Minnesota Lynx41.800-
Los Angeles Sparks32.6001
Phoenix Mercury23.4002
San Antonio Silver Stars24.3332.5
Seattle Storm13.2502.5
Tulsa Shock16.1434

 

Player of the Week: Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

Diana Taurasi has won the WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. She’s been named to seven All-WNBA first teams, five All-Star Games and one second team All-NBA distinction. She’s also a five-time scoring champion and one of the best pound-for-pound players in the history of the WNBA.

Over the past week, Taurasi reminded the WNBA community of just that.

Taurasi put on a dazzling display of all-around basketball ability during the Phoenix Mercury’s 97-81 and 82-67 victories. Not only was she scoring at her usually elite level, but she flirted with a triple-double and continued to establish herself as a two-way force as Brittney Griner battled knee troubles.

She started off with 26 points on 9-of-19 shooting and followed it up with 34 points, seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Now that’s how you earn yourself the distinction of being Player of the Week.

Taurasi is currently averaging a league-high 21.8 points, as well as 3.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. She’s also posting a slash line of .514/.452/.826.

I think the MVP chants are supposed to start about now.

 

Rookie of the Week: Elena Delle Donne, Chicago SkyScreen shot 2013-06-16 at 2.49.50 AM

Chicago Sky forward and rookie extraordinaire Elena Delle Donne continued her run to the Rookie of the Year award with this past week of action. Not only was she scoring at a high level, but Delle Donne continued to produce at a surprisingly elite level on the defensive end of the floor.

As it presently stands, Delle Donne is third in the WNBA in blocks per game at 2.60.

This type of well-rounded play is what’s made Delle Donne one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA, as her ability to score the basketball is complemented by intriguing defensive potential. Whether she’s driving left and cutting back with a spin move or keeping her arms up down low, the former Delaware star is making a powerful impact.

One that has her at the forefront of the race for Rookie of the Year.

Delle Donne leads all rookies in scoring and ranks fourth in the WNBA at 19.4 points per game. Paired with Sylvia Fowles interior dominance and Epiphanny Prince’s ball handling ability, Delle Donne is a part of a team that could be competing for a title come season’s end.

Don’t think the rookie isn’t a big part of that.

 

Game of the Week: Chicago Sky 72, San Antonio Silver Stars 70

Elena Delle Donne has been making waves in the WNBA, not only proving to be the top rookie, but producing at an elite level regardless of experience. Against the San Antonio Silver Stars, Delle Donne had her first chance to truly star and carry her team to a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire victory.

She came through.

Delle donne stepped up with 23 points and three blocks on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 7-for-8 at the charity stripe. Most importantly, Delle Donne stepped up in the clutch and carried her team to a 72-70 victory over a game San Antonio squad.

Let’s rewind.

Jia Perkins led the Silver Stars throughout this game, picking up 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals to help San Antonio overcome a dreadful second quarter in which they were outscored 22-12. With her fellow starters shooting a combined 7-of-30, Perkins decided to shoulder the load, with help from Danielle Adams, and make things interesting.

With 4.3 seconds remaining in regulation, Perkins hit a clutch three-pointer to make it 70-70. The comeback was completed, the clutch gene was proven and the Silver Stars were moments away from forcing overtime.

And then Delle Donne hit the two biggest free throws of her early career, making it 72-70 Sky with 1.8 seconds remaining—a lead that remained in tact as the rookie led her team to victory.

 

Key Injuries

Perhaps no news stunned the WNBA community quite as much as that about New York Liberty forward Essence Carson. Carson, the Liberty’s second-leading scorer, tore the ACL in her left knee.

It goes without saying that she’ll miss the remainder of the 2013 WNBA season.

Here’s hoping that she recovers with haste.

Joining Carson in the injury department is Phoenix Mercury center and first overall draft choice Brittney Griner, who suffered a left knee sprain. Fortunately, Griner has already re-joined her team in game action and appears to be on track to a full recovery.

On the opposite side of the country, Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson is battling back issues. In her first game with the ailment, however, Lawson went for 16 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Follow Max Ogden on Twitter for NBA, WNBA and college basketball updates. Follow @MaxwellOgden

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