The WNBA is on a temporary break due to the London Summer Olympics.
When action resumes on August 16, one of the most compelling stories will be who will win the MVP award in 2012? There are nine players who are in serious contention for the award. Six of these nine players are playing in the Olympics for Team USA.
1. Candace Parker, Los Angeles
Stats: 19 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 2.9 APG
Parker , perhaps the most talented player in the WNBA, is a major reason why the Sparks are the surprise team of the season’s first half. Los Angeles currently has 15 victories which equals their 2011 total.
Parker recorded a double-double in her six of her last eight games of the first half and now has 13 double-doubles on the season. She was the Western Conference’s Player of the Month in May and June.
Parker tops the league in blocked shots, defensive rebounds and efficiency. She is also second in points scored, second in field goals made, second in field goal attempts, third in total rebounds, ninth in free throws made, seventh in free throw attempts, fourth in offensive rebounds and third in minutes played.
2.Tina Charles, Connecticut
Stats: 18.7 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 1.1 BPG
Charles, a handful in the low post, has led the Sun to the best record in the Eastern Conference. Charles has recorded 12 double-doubles in 18 games this season. She was the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Month in June.
Charles ranks in the top-five in the league in several offensive and defensive categories. She tops the league in field goals made, offensive rebounds and total rebounds. Charles is also fifth in scoring, third in field goal attempts, third in defensive rebounds, fourth in blocked shots and third in efficiency.
3. Sylvia Fowles, Chicago
Stats: 18.5 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 63.6% FG
Fowles has been as dominant as any post player in the WNBA this season. She along with Parker and Charles are only players averaging a double-double this season. Fowles was the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Month in May.
Fowles is sixth in the league in scoring, fourth field goals made, second in offensive rebounds, second in total rebounds, fifth in blocked shots and second in efficiency. She also leads the league with 14 double-doubles.
4. Sophia Young, San Antonio
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 APG
The versatile Young is the main reason that the Silver Stars are in prime position to grab a Western Conference playoff spot. Young, currently eighth in the league in scoring, has scored in double figures in 16 of her 18 games.
Young ranks in the top-10 in the WNBA in several other offensive and defensive categories. She is second in steals, fifth in efficiency, ninth in total rebounds and seventh in field goal percentage. Young is also sixth in double-doubles.
5. Tamika Catchings – Indiana
Stats: 18.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2 SPG
The 33-year old Catchings has the Fever in prime position for a playoff spot in 2012. Catchings, the reigning regular season MVP, averaged 20.4 points in her last four games of the first half.
Catchings ranks seventh in points, fifth in steals, 10th in total rebounds, seventh in field goal attempts, fourth in free throws made and fourth in free throw attempts. She is also sixth in defensive rebounds and fifth in efficiency.
6. Kristi Toliver, Los Angeles
Stats: 17.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.0 APG
Toliver is having her best season of her four-year career. She will have to be more consistent in the second half of the season to remain in the MVP race.
Toliver leads the league in assists, total minutes and turnovers. She is also third in scoring, third in three-pointers made, second in three-point attempts, second in free throws made, fourth in field goals made, fifth in field goal attempts and sixth in free throw attempts.
7.Seimone Augustus, Minnesota
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.2 APG and 1.0 SPG
Augustus, the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP, has been the catalyst for the league’s most talented team all season. She has scored in double-figures in each of her 17 games this season and is shooting a career-high 51.4% from the floor.
Augustus is 15th in the league in scoring, fifth in three-point percentage and 10th in field goals made.
8. Becky Hammon, San Antonio
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, 48.5% 3pters
Hammon’s outside shooting has been the perfect complement to Young’s power game this season for the Silver Stars. Hammon, one of the best playmakers in the game, scored 20 or more points in three of her seven games in July.
Hammon ranks 12th in the league in scoring, second in assists, first in three-pointers made, first in three-point attempts and eighth in three-point percentage.
9 . Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta
Stats: 22.6 points per game, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.
McCoughtry is a pure scorer. She is 10th in the league in scoring despite playing in only 13 of the Dream’s first 18 games.
McCoughtry is third in the league in free throws made, third in free throw attempts and third in steals. She is also fifth in blocked shots,
As long as Parker remains healthy, I believe she will take home her second MVP trophy. Parker gets the nod over Charles due to her versatility as well as her prowess on defense.
Daniel Benjamin has coached basketball for four years.