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Elena Delle Donne still on top in WNBA MVP race

There is a less than a month remaining in the WNBA’s regular season and Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne remains the best bet to capture the league’s MVP award. While Delle Donne and Minnesota’s Maya Moore are the frontrunners, there is an interesting battle emerging from a group of players just behind.

Elena Delle Donne – Chicago Sky

Although Moore seemed to have closed the gap a bit last week, Delle Donne has been in the lead for the MVP race the entire season. Perhaps she felt Moore closing and upped her game this week capturing her fifth WNBA Player of the Week award this season. She continues to lead the league in scoring by a wide margin at 23.9 per game and moved up to second in the league in rebounding 8.8. The Sky currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference standings, but once again figure to be a team no one wants to play in the playoffs and Delle Donne is a major reason why.

Maya Moore – Minnesota Lynx

Moore had a bit of a quiet week thanks to a pair of tough shooting performances, but there is no questioning her or the Lynx’s game. Minnesota still leads the Western Conference by 2.5 games despite losing three of their last four games. For Moore, this week was just a blip on what has been an outstanding season where she is second in the league in scoring at 20.5 while shooting 42 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range. Factor in 6.8 rebounds per and 3.5 assists and you have a bonafide MVP candidate.

Tina Charles – New York Liberty

New York’s Tina Charles remains the player that likely deserves to be higher on this list, but won’t be due to the star power for Delle Donne and Moore. The Liberty have enjoyed a renaissance season and Charles is a big reason why. She is fourth in the league in scoring at 17.9 and third in rebounding at 8.7. She finished with 25 points and seven rebounds in a win over the Dream last week and with the Eastern Conference race heating up, she will get plenty of more opportunities to impress.

Candace Parker – Los Angeles Sparks

This was the most difficult spot to select for this week’s MVP ladder. While Candace Parker has played just 11 games this season, she is putting up some eye popping numbers while helping the Sparks catch fire at the right time. So far this season, Parker is doing her best Magic Johnson impersonation averaging 18.4 points, 10.0 Rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. She has taken her game to another level with Nneka Ogwumike sidelined due to injury. The Sparks have won seven of 10 and are closing in on the .500 mark after a brutal start while Parker was injured. She won’t win MVP this season, but she is putting up MVP-type numbers and Los Angeles could be a major factor once the playoffs begin.

Brittney Griner – Phoenix Mercury

I keep finding myself trying to knock Griner off of this list, but there are too many factors here that can’t be ignored. Phoenix is currently second in the West standings and just 2.5 games behind Minnesota entering the final stretch. They are third in the league in defensive rating at 97.2 and Griner is a major reason why. It is easy sometimes to look at Griner and won’t more from her due to her size and athletic ability. However, she remains the biggest defensive force in the league and her 10 point, 11 rebounds, six blocks performance this week in a win over Minnesota best illustrates that.

Best of the Rest

Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry slides off the list this week despite continuing her hot streak. Its just hard for a player to make MVP noise when her team is currently in last place and has won just three of its last 10 games. Still McCoughtry has turned in a heck of a season averaging 20.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists. She finished with 33 points in an Atlanta win at Connecticut this weekend.

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