Here are the best five performances from this past week.
1. Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
It should be no surprise to anyone that Delle Donne tops this list for another week. This week she continued to put up MVP numbers and kept Chicago in the hunt for one of the top-two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
On August 4th, Delle Donne recorded 19 points, six rebounds and six assists in a victory over Indiana, a game in which she did not even see action in the fourth quarter because of a blowout. She scored 17 and grabbed six rebounds vs. New York on August 7th before she went off for 33 points and eight rebounds in a victory over the defending champion Phoenix Mercury on August 9th.
The Mercury have had the Sky’s number the past two years and swept the Sky in the WNBA Finals last year. Delle Donne was determined to prove the Sky could beat the Mercury and did just that by putting on yet another MVP-caliber performance.
2. Epiphanny Prince (New York Liberty)
Emotions always run high when a player is competing against their former team. It seemed Prince was determined to perform well on August 7th in Chicago against her former team. In a battle between two of the best teams in the East, Prince scored a season-high 30 points and dished out five assists as the Liberty defeated the Sky 77-63.
The game was important, as both teams are fighting for playoff position in the East. However, it seemed important to Prince for reasons other than the post-season, as she looked determined to lead New York to a victory. She knocked down 11 of 14 shots from the field, including four out of five three-pointers in the contest.
Prince, who did not play her first game of the 2015 season until July 9th because she was playing overseas, seems poised to lead New York to a number one seed in the East. In her 10 games she has played this season, Prince has scored in double-figures in every game and is shooting over 35% from three and almost 45% from the field. The East should be wary of Prince come playoff time.
3. Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)
Griner had an impressive week for Phoenix, recording three double-doubles and leading the Mercury to a 2-1 record, including a victory over league-leading Minnesota.
On August 4th, Griner scored 18 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked five shots in the Mercury’s win over Tulsa. In the team’s win over Minnesota on August 7th, Griner recorded 13 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks to lead Phoenix to a 73-66 victory.
Finally, Griner did all she could for the Mercury against the Sky on August 9th, recording 21 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks but it was not enough to defeat Delle Donne and the Sky on their home court.
4. Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks)
Parker led the Sparks to a 2-1 record this week, including a win over Minnesota. Since Parker’s return, the Sparks are 4-2 and have won more games in the six games Parker has played than they won in the entire first half of the season.
On August 4th, Parker led Los Angeles over the Lynx by scoring 18 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, dishing out five assists and nabbing four steals. That is the definition of filling the stat sheet. On August 10th, she recorded another double-double, scoring 10 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and adding six assists in the Sparks win over Tulsa. Finally, on August 9th, Parker filled the stat sheet yet again with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the Sparks lone loss of the week to Minnesota.
With Parker back in the lineup, Los Angeles is now in fourth place in the Western Conference and if the season ended now, would be in the playoffs. Parker’s scoring numbers may be a little low compared to her previous seasons in the WNBA however; her assist and rebounding numbers are significantly higher than they have been in previous seasons.
5. Jia Perkins (San Antonio Stars)
Perkins, in her 12th season in the WNBA, can still play and proved that this past week. In the Stars three games in the past week, she averaged 23.3 points per game, almost 10 more points than her season average of 14.3.
On August 4th, Perkins was the lone bright spot for San Antonio, scoring 15 points in a loss at Connecticut. A day later on August 5th, Perkins poured in 23 points on 11-20 shooting as the Stars almost defeated Washington. Perkins then exploded for a season-high 32 points and dished out five assists as San Antonio beat Seattle on August 8th.
Perkins’ veteran ability paired with the Stars young talent could be a tough combination for opposing teams to deal with as the Stars push to make the playoffs. However, the key for San Antonio is consistency. For the Stars to make the playoffs, they need both their veterans and young players to perform consistently at the levels they are capable of.