Coach of the Month
This month one of the hottest teams has been the Los Angeles Sparks who are sitting near the top of the league on an eight-game winning streak (seven consecutive in June). Thanks to that streak, Brian Agler has been named the Coach of the Month for June. Agler’s Sparks went 8-1 in the month – the best record in the WNBA last month. During that stretch, Los Angeles went 4-0 at home make them the only team without a loss at home thus far this season.
In June the Sparks led the league in steals per game at 8.89 per game, finished second in points allowed with 78.0 points per game and collected 4.67 blocks per game. On the offensive end, Los Angeles finished second in the WNBA with field goal percentage at 49.4% and point differential at +8.8.
Rookie of the Month
So far this year the Rookie of the Month award has been owned by one player: Allisha Gray. Dallas’ rookie guard has been making a lot of noise in her first two months of being a pro as she also won the award in May. In June Gray led all rookies in scoring (11.4 ppg), rebounding (4.6 RPG), steals (1.27 SPG) and minutes played (28.4 mpg).
Among all first-year players, she finished second in assists with 2.1 per game and in blocks with 0.64 per game. Behind Gray’s play, she helped the Wings with four straight wins to close the month of June.
Players of the Month
Gray was not the only player to repeat as an award winner. Sylvia Fowles and Jonquel Jones were named players of the month. This is Jones’ first time winning player of the month, but she has already won player of the week this year. As for Fowles, she won the award last month and seven total in her career.
Leading the Eastern Conference, Jones guided Connecticut to a 6-2 record in June, the best in that conference last month. Jones finished first in the East in rebounding (11.9 rebounds per game) and blocked shots (2.13 blocks per game) and was 11th in scoring with 15.6 per game in June.
Jones has been a double-double machine and posted five in the last eight games. Her best game last month included a game where she dropped 20 points, secured 15 rebounds and blocked five shots in a win that the Sun dominated in over Atlanta, 104-71.
Veteran Fowles continues to have an MVP-type season as she continues to lead the Lynx. In June she led Minnesota to a 6-2 record where she led the West in rebounding (9.6 rebounds per game) and field goal percentage at 70.2%. Fowles was also very active on defense, finishing fourth in the Western Conference in steals with 1.7 per game and 1.29 blocks per game, also the fourth best in her conference. In five of the last seven games, Fowles has scored at least 21 points.
Players of the Weeks
Last week a player from Connecticut was named the player of the week for the Eastern Conference, in fact, for the last two weeks, a Sun player has won the award. Again another player from that team has won the award, this time Jasmine Thomas has won the accolade for games played June 26 through July 2.
This is the second time in her seven seasons that Thomas has won the award. Last week Thomas helped the Sun go 2-1 while averaging 23.3 points per game, drilled 12 triples shot 52% from the field (sixth in the East), and dished out 4.0 assist per game to finish seventh in that category in the Eastern Conference.
When Connecticut faced off with Seattle last week, Thomas dropped a career-high 29 points, including 4-of-6 shooting from behind the three-point line, six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
For the Western Conference, Candace Parker was named Player of the Week after leading Los Angeles to a 3-0 record last week, making this the 20th time she has won the award in her career. Parker finished first in rebounding (10.3 rebounds per game) and blocks (2.33 blocks per game) last weeks, and tied for fifth in scoring at 17.3 points per game and 4.0 assists per game.
Parker will have a chance to help the Sparks push its record to nine-straight when Los Angeles plays Minnesota on Thursday in a rematch of the 2016 WNBA Finals.