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Morning Links: MVP Talk, Dream Have Up & Down Weekend, Maya Moore's Big Performance

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During a long weekend it can be difficult for even the most rabid sports fans to keep up with all their sports news in the midst of family gatherings, vacation, or just taking time to enjoy the late-May weather.

With that in mind, I set out to provide a quick summary of the statistical highlights of the weekend. However, rather than my normally long-winded statistical summaries of games, I chose to direct you to articles that best highlight the most significant aspects of what happened this weekend along with a few statistical notes.

Each of the following links summarizing this weekend's games include a one line summary of the author's angle on the game they covered along with my relevant statistical notes. I imagine you'll be able to distinguish summary from statistical commentary, but if not, just let me know (and if you need help to wade through the stats, check out our statistics glossary).

  • Nate J. Butler of SB Nation's Peachtree Hoops has an in-depth player-by-player summary of the Atlanta Dream's 100-74 drubbing of the New York Liberty on Friday in which he concludes that, "Tonight's game was a clear indicator that the Atlanta Dream have made progression as a basketball team over the off-season." In addition to Angel McCoughtry's outstanding 23 point, 7 assist, and 6 steal performance, he highlights the importance of point guard Lindsey Harding's contribution. Although Harding had 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting, she also had four turnovers (-7.69 pure point rating) including three live turnovers on bad passes that she probably wishes she could have back. Read more >>>
  • Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta Dream coach Marynell Meadors was disappointed with her team's spacing in a 78-62 loss to the Indiana Fever on Sunday in which the team tied a franchise low with 7 assists on a franchise low 45 field goal attempts. That low assist total combined with 22 turnovers made for an adjusted synergy rating of -48. Not that Harding alone was responsible for the low synergy, but she had no assists. Read more >>>
  • George Henry of the AP recapped the Fever's win in Atlanta on Sunday and mentioned that Fever forward Tamika Catchings might just be on pace to win her second straight MVP award after recording her 73rd career double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Perhaps more important when competing for a MVP award is that Catchings was amazingly efficient, finishing with a true shooting percentage of 62.62% and no turnovers. Read more >>>
  • Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman was neither happy with the Sky's ball control nor field goal percentage defense in her team's 83-72 loss to the Indiana Fever on Friday. If we were to pick one that was more significant to the Sky's loss, it was the Fever's scoring efficiency (52.5% effective field goal percentage). Read more >>>
  • Mike Peden of the St. Paul Sports Examiner highlights the play of Seimone Augustus in the Minnesota Lynx' 84-71 win over the Seattle Storm on Sunday night. Although Augustus only shot 2-for-7, she had six assists and no turnovers (17.39 pure point rating, which is outstanding). While Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve not-so-subtly dropped an endorsement for Augustus for MVP, the most significant factor in the win was arguably winning the rebounding battle against the Storm 40-27, which helped lead to a 17-9 advantage in second chance points. That advantage in second chance points speaks to a dominant advantage in offensive rebounding for the Lynx (40.63% to 22.86%). Read more >>>
  • Roman Augustoviz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune highlights the play of Lynx guard Maya Moore, who had a game-high 19 points against the Storm on a stellar 79.16% true shooting percentage, buoyed by her 5-for-7 shooting from the 3-point line. This performance might also be read as indicative of her tendency to settle for jumpers, as her shot chart suggests she did on Sunday (two of those shots around the basket were consecutive tip-in attempts, the third was a reverse of a pass from Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen). It's hard to blame her for taking most of those shots - she took what the defense gave her on all of these shots - but her aggressiveness in driving to the basket is something to watch this season. Read more >>>

    Maya Moore's shot chart against the Storm on 5/27/12.

  • Tim Leighton of the Pioneer Press examined the point guard battle between Storm point guard Sue Bird and Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen during Sunday's game, quoting Lynx guard Seimone Augustus in saying that her teammate is, "...possibly going to be the Sue Bird for years to come." In that particular game, Bird recorded a game-high 9 assists (2.94 pure point rating), but Whalen was arguably the better of the two with 8 assists and just 2 tburnovers for a pure point rating of 13.33. Read more >>>
  • Kristofer Habbas of SB Nation Arizona summarized the Phoenix Mercury's 99-88 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday night as having, "...the feel of a boxing match." The game was ultimately decided in the paint, where the Sparks grabbed about 46% of the available offensive rebounds and scored 23 second chance points. As Habbas mentions, that's part of what made rookie post Avery Warley stand out: she tied Sparks forward Candace Parker for a game-high 6 offensive rebounds in impressive fashion. Read more >>>
  • Scott Mammoser of the Phoenix Women's Sports Examiner reports that Sparks forward Candace Parker is ready to elevate rookie forward Nneka Ogwumike to "vet status" after just four games. While Parker was definitely the team's MVP against the Mercury, if you want an oddball stat for the weekend, Ogwumike led the Sparks with a 5.71 pure point rating against the Mercury in addition to her 22 points and 7 rebounds; that's one way to address their oft-discussed lack of a true point guard. Read more >>>
  • John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant writes that the early results suggest that Connecticut Sun point guard Renee Montgomery's move to bench, "...has been the best thing that's happened to the Sun, and perhaps Montgomery, in a very long time." While Montgomery scored a team-high 23 points off the bench in an 83-79 win over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday, Kara Lawson - who started in her place - led the team in scoring efficiency with a true shooting percentage of 68.27% to go along with a pure point rating of 3.12. Read more >>>
  • Terese Karmel of Sports Page Magazine details the impact of another change to the Sun's starting lineup on Friday: replacing Kalana Greene with Allison Hightower, who was responsible for guarding San Antonio's Becky Hammon. Although Hightower's defense helped hold Hammon to only 11 points of 3-for-8 shooting, Hammon still managed to do damage as a distributor with a game high 8 assists to 4 turnovers (4.16 pure point rating). Read more >>>
  • Gene Wang of the Washington Post recapped the Washington Mystics 64-61 win over the Tulsa Shock on Saturday, highlighting that the trio of Matee Ajavon, Monique Currie and Crystal Langhorne combined for 48 points and 19 rebounds in a performance that "wasn't pretty", according to Ajavon. Statistically, the trio managed to account for 91% of the team's valuable contributions in part because three players made negative contributions. Read more >>>
  • Carla Peay of the Washington Times summarized the Mystics' turnover problem against the Shock by writing, "It’s something the Mystics will need to fix quickly, as the competition is about to get much tougher. Their next contest is Wednesday at home against the last season’s WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx." As an aside, the official box score now reads that the Mystics had 28 turnovers instead of the 32 widely reported on Saturday. For reference, that's still about 33% of their possessions. Read more >>>

Obviously, there was more written over the past three to four days, but this was just a sampling of the articles available in that time that highlighted some of the most significant performances statistically. Please add any other links to articles that you found interesting in the comments along with your usual insights, observations, or gripes about your favorite team.