Monday morning WNBA links: McCoughtry scores 34 and two rookies break out

Angel McCoughtry has led the Dream to a WNBA-best 7-1 record. - USA TODAY Sports

Maya Moore and Angel McCoughtry lead the latest "Race to the MVP" on WNBA.com and Tayler Hill and Tianna Hawkins made their first big contributions, both in losing efforts.

The Sparks highlighted the WNBA weekend by defeating their fellow frontrunner Minnesota by 28 on Friday. However, the rest of the weekend saw mostly competitive contests, including one that featured L.A. and last year's worst team in the Mystics.

On Saturday, the Fever had an early lead on Chicago, but just couldn't catch a break during what has been an injury-plagued season for them. They lost, 71-61, on the heels of news that Jessica Davenport will be out for the rest of the season. Indiana's star, Tamika Catchings, also did not dress for the Sky game. She is listed as day-to-day with a lower back strain.

In Saturday's second game, the Shock came alive in their first blowout victory of the year. Led by 19 points from Roneeka Hodges, they topped the Storm, 92-70. Here's The Seattle Times article on the same game.

No. 6 overall pick Tianna Hawkins led Seattle in that game with 17 points. Hawkins had been goose-egged in four of her first seven WNBA contests and saw less than 10 minutes of playing time in six of those. But on Saturday she recorded a career-high 24 minutes played - her most time since the Storm's opener when she played 23 minutes - as well as her first double-digit scoring effort and first career 3-pointer. Nine days earlier, Jayda Evans of The Seattle Times wrote this article about how Tianna was coming along.

Storm v. Shock was the last blow out of the weekend, as the first two games on Sunday both ended with a score of 78-77. The Silver Stars beat the Liberty in OT and then Angel McCoughtry made the go-ahead bucket to lead the Dream past Connecticut. McCoughtry, the reigning scoring champ, had 34 points, while nobody else on her team scored in double figures. Tina Charles was the next highest scorer in the game with 19.

The Lynx bounced back later on Sunday with an 88-79 victory over the Shock. The big three for Minnesota combined for 10 points on Friday at L.A. On Sunday, Seimone August and Maya Moore each had 22, with Augustus going 9-13 from the field and Moore going 3-6 from downtown. Lindsay Whalen added 19 points and 9 assists.

Before any of the weekend games were played, Moore and McCoughtry were ranked first and second in that order in WNBA.com's "Race to the MVP: Week Four." Since both were brought up in this post, here is a link to that.

In the last game of the weekend, the Mystics visited the Sparks, who were coming off two incredible blowout wins. But Washington did not get blown out - they lost but just ten and made a couple of good runs. Lindsey Harding led the Sparks in points and assists with 22 and seven.

Perhaps the story of the game from the Mystic perspective was the fact that No. 4 overall pick Tayler Hill came to life with a career high 16 points on 6-7 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooing from beyond the arc. Like Hawkins, Hill had not recorded a double-digit scoring outing before this weekend. Mike Thibault took her out of the starting lineup for the first time this season and either that put a chip on her shoulder or took the pressure off, because she had quite a performance. Albert wrote about the Mystics potentially changing their starting lineup on Saturday.

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