The WNBA has returned with yet another week of action, as the stars came out in full force and one of the most notable names in basketball returned to action. With the WNBA progressively reaching full strength, the quality of play has thus improved and the stakes are as high as ever as the standings begin to take shape.
For a recap of how it all transpired, here is Sheridan Hoops’ WNBA Week in Review.
|New York Liberty||5||4||.556||3.5|
|Los Angeles Sparks||5||4||.556||2|
|San Antonio Silver Stars||3||6||.333||4|
For the third consecutive week, Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi took the WNBA by storm and earns Player of the Week honors. To prove that this isn’t a case of favoritism, it’s important that we note how dominant Taurasi has been and how infectious her play has been.
This past week, Taurasi led the Mercury to three consecutive victories, flirted with a triple-double and maintained her lead in the race for the scoring title.
Taurasi started off strong, tallying 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in an 83-77 road victory against the San Antonio Silver Stars. While her shooting touch wasn’t as strong as we expected it to be, Taurasi scored eight of her 18 points in the fourth quarter and drained two critical free throws in the closing seconds to secure the win.
Just two days later, Taurasi struck again, picking up 26 points and eight assists in an awe-inspiring 101-97 victory over the Washington Mystics. Taurasi’s elite scoring night was capped off with six points during the final 1:14, thus helping the Mercury to stave off a fierce effort for yet another road win.
Taurasi finished the week with a 19 point, five rebound and five assist performance in a 89-70 road victory over the Connecticut Sun—that’s three road wins, the league lead in points per game and a top five season ranking in assists per contest.
Rookie of the Week: Elena Delle Donne, Chicago Sky
After a one-week hiatus, Chicago Sky rookie Elena Delle Donne has recovered and thus won the SheridanHoops Rookie of the Week award. This comes after Delle Donne led a pair of Chicago victories with 20-plus point performances, including her most well-rounded game of the season.
Suddenly, Delle Donne isn’t just the Rookie of the Year front runner—she’s an MVP candidate.
Delle Donne started her week off in impressive fashion, tallying 26 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three blocks and a steal against the New York Liberty. The Sky won that game 87-74, with Delle Donne playing 35 minutes and shooting 10-of-17 from the field and 2-for-4 from three-point range.
Mere days later, Delle Donne did it again.
The rookie out of Delaware led a 94-82 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks, scoring 20 points and securing eight rebounds, including three offensive boards. She scored six of those points during the fourth quarter, helping to put the Sparks away and combining with Epiphanny Prince to lead a huge victory to cap off an undefeated week for the Sky.
What else is new?
Since Diana Taurasi re-discovered her form, the Phoenix Mercury have been all but unbeatable, securing four consecutive wins and moving just one game shy of the Western Conference lead. On Thursday, June 27, however, the Washington Mystics gave the Mercury a run for their money that the WNBA is not soon to forget.
With the two sides combining for 198 points, nine players scored in double-figures and six tallied at least 15—this was one heck of a game.
The Mercury were led by Taurasi, who tallied 26 points and eight assists, but she wasn’t alone in her top tier contributions. DeWanna Bonner scored 22, Candice Dupree added 16 points and 11 rebounds, and both Brittney Griner and Charde Houston scored 11, with the rookie adding seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Mystics refused to go down without a fight.
Crystal Langhorne led the charge with a game-high 27 points, while Monique Curry and Matee Ajavon each managed to score 17. Ivory Latta continued her All-Star push with 12 points and nine assists, while rookie Tayler Hill picked up nine points and two steals in just 13 minutes.
The game was as good as the description makes it seem.
Washington led 77-73 entering the fourth quarter, but Phoenix quickly went on a 7-0 run to take an 80-77 lead and thus spark a quarter in which the lead was traded seven times. With the Mercury trailing and just 1:14 remaining, however, it was Taurasi and Bonner that stepped up and led the Mercury to a huge road victory.
Taurasi and Bonner combined for 12 points in the final 1:14 as Phoenix won the free throw battle and the winning streak was thus preserved.
|1.||Angel McCoughtry||Atlanta Dream||20.30||20.7||5.8||4.6||0.8||3.9|
|2.||Diana Taurasi||Phoenix Mercury||23.00||23.6||4.4||5.2||0.4||0.8|
|3.||Candace Parker||Los Angeles Sparks||23.33||16.3||9.3||3.7||2.8||1.2|
|4.||Maya Moore||Minnesota Lynx||21.11||17.9||6.9||3.2||0.6||1.3|
|5.||Tina Charles||Connecticut Sun||18.33||19.3||10.6||2.0||1.4||1.2|
Rookie of the Year Race
|1.||Elena Delle Donne||Chicago Sky||19.70||19.4||5.1||2.3||2.2||0.6|
|2.||Brittney Griner||Phoenix Mercury||19.20||16.0||6.2||1.0||3.0||0.4|
|3.||Skylar Diggins||Tulsa Shock||8.33||9.4||2.6||5.3||0.2||1.4|
|4.||Kelsey Bone||New York Liberty||6.33||5.4||5.8||0.9||0.6||0.1|
|5.||Alex Bentley||Atlanta Dream||6.10||7.7||1.1||1.6||0.0||0.7|
Defensive Player of the Year Race
|1.||Angel McCoughtry||Atlanta Dream||20.30||20.7||5.8||4.6||0.8||3.9|
|2.||Sylvia Fowles||Chicago Sky||21.20||13.6||13.0||0.4||2.6||0.6|
|3.||Candace Parker||Los Angeles Sparks||23.33||15.5||9.4||3.6||2.9||1.2|
|4.||Sancho Lyttle||Atlanta Dream||23.00||15.4||9.0||2.6||1.6||2.8|
|5.||Tamika Catchings||Indiana Fever||18.71||18.4||6.1||3.0||1.3||3.0|
Records & Notable Returns
This past week in WNBA action was one of historic measures, as multiple players broke through to enter the record books. Others failed to set records, but still managed to make quite a bang with their return to action.
It all starts with rookie Alex Bentley.
ICYMI: Alex Bentley broke the @WNBA‘s consecutive 3-ptrs record last night. AB’s made her last 10 to break Diana Taurasi’s record from 2006!
— Lady Lion Basketball (@PennStateWBB) June 29, 2013
The Atlanta Dream’s fortunes continue improving. While the young guns may be rising, the WNBA veterans wasted no time in proving that they remain on top of the power structure. This time around, it was reigning WNBA MVP Tina Charles, who reached the free throw line and converted in a historic manner. Did we expect anything less from the 24-year-old superstar?
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 30, 2013
An extraordinary feat, to say the least.
While she may not have set a record, Tameka Catchings returned to the lineup for the Indiana Fever and her presence was felt in a major way. Not only was she able to lead Indiana to a much-needed 80-69 victory, but she put together one of the most extraordinary statistical performances in recent memory.
Catchings finished with 28 points, five rebounds, three assists, six steals and four blocks in her first game back.
— Indiana Fever (@IndianaFever) June 28, 2013
WNBA action is heating up—it’s time the world takes notice.
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