This has been one of the most highly-contested WNBA seasons ever. Action has been nonstop, and final playoff seeds remained up in the air until the final day of the regular season. The high level of competition has led to a number of players putting up career years and establishing their cases among the WNBA’s elite. That is why it will be very difficult to craft the All-WNBA Team this season, as many of these women have stood out and made strong cases for their inclusion. Here are some of those candidates:
Maya Moore: This may be a controversial choice, but it was a pick ‘em between Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore on who would get snubbed from the All-WNBA listings. It is not that Moore isn’t still a fantastic player or that she had a bad season, but the Lynx’s struggles with inconsistency this year make it tough for me to grant them two spots on the All-WNBA team. Expectations were sky-high for the defending champs, and while they still made the postseason, it appears the rest of the league caught up to them this year.
A’ja Wilson: A’ja Wilson burst onto the scene right away and has quickly established herself as a difference maker and a leader. Wilson has sprung hope into a once lifeless franchise, and her time will come soon, but not right now. The depth and talent at her position right now is too deep to justify a spot, and combining that with Vegas missing the playoffs, it’s clear that A’ja Wilson is still a slight notch below at the moment. However, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if she becomes a perennial figure on the All-WNBA Team as early as next season.
Skylar Diggins-Smith: This is my same reasoning for leaving Moore off the list: the Wings had a lot of expectations this season, and to say they fell short is an understatement. That doesn’t take away from Diggins-Smith’s season, though; she ranks in the the top 3 in assists and the top 10 in points per game. Her field goal percentages leave a lot to be desired, but she’s the engine that makes things run for the Wings offense. Diggins-Smith has done everything she can to help will the Wings to the playoffs despite all the internal adversity the team has faced.
Brittney Griner: Brittney Griner is unbelievable, and the fact that I have her on the honorable mentions should tell you all you need to know about the current talent level in the WNBA. Griner is an anchor on both ends of the court and has dominated the middle for the Mercury. Evidence? Simple, Griner leads the league in blocks (2.6) and is sixth in scoring (20.5 points per game). That is impact, and her presence in the middle is what makes the Mercury capable of beating anyone in a five-game series.
Chiney Ogwumike: Chiney Ogwumike has been a machine for the Connecticut Sun. The forward has led the Sun to the 4th seed in the playoffs and her efficient scoring is a huge reason why. Clocking in at 60.3 percent (good for third in the league) she just keeps getting better year after year and while her counting stats may not reflect it she’s been an anchor for a Sun team that is flying under the radar. The former number one pick has shown her value this season and it’s refreshing to have seen her put the injuries behind.
All-WNBA Second Team
Courtney Vandersloot: Courtney Vandersloot has established herself as a true floor general and took her game to another level this season. Snubbed of an All-Star berth, the Chicago guard deserves this spot after leading the league in assists (8.6) and averaging 12.5 points per game to go along with 39.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. From a triple-double to breaking assists records, Vandersloot has arrived, and despite the Sky’s poor record, there is a very short list of guards who had a season that rivals Vandersloot’s.
Tiffany Hayes: Tiffany Hayes was one of the notable All-Star snubs, but she deserves credit for making the Dream one of the biggest Cinderella stories in the WNBA. Her scoring and her ability to get to the basket and draw contact has just made her a lethal scorer for the Dream. She has helped the Dream remain a threat late in the season despite the loss of running mate Angel McCoughtry.
Angel McCoughtry: Both members of the Dream dynamic duo make my list. They have been the cog for a Dream team that looked like real contenders, and there was a point early in the year where McCoughtry looked like a legit MVP candidate. Her ability to score on the wing using her quickness has made her one of the dangerous wing players in the league.
Sylvia Fowles: Sylvia Fowles can do it all. She’s such an efficient scorer (61.9 field goal percentage), a top-notch rebounder (11.9 per game, leading the league) and a great defender. The two-time Finals MVP is just doing what she does best: dominate In any other year Sylvia Fowles would be an unquestionably be on the first team but amazingly their was a season even more greater than hers. It is unfortunate that there is only two spots available for the center position.
All-WNBA First Team
Diana Taurasi: Diana Taurasi seems to be like a fine wine: she only gets better with age. The ageless wonder is third in the league in scoring (20.7), fourth in assists (5.3) and first in three-pointers made per game (3.2). Simply put, the Mercury point guard is putting together one the best seasons of her career and shows no signs of slowing down. If you were to ask me, the Mercury are a team that no one wants to see in a five-game series.
Elena Delle Donne: The All-Star game captain, former MVP and Mystics superstar is just up to her usual ways. She is an elite scorer who can play at the guard or the wing, and her six-foot-five frame allows her to shoot over anyone. She is a legit MVP candidate and one of the most dangerous players in the WNBA. She is one of the rare players who can win a series by herself, so look out for the three-seed Mystics.
Breanna Stewart: MVP! MVP! MVP! Seriously, Breanna Stewart’s name on this list is just a formality, as she has the Storm rolling as the favorites right now to bring home the title. Stewart can do it all. She is second in the league in scoring at 21.8 points per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. She is a beast on the boards, allows the Storm positional versatility, spaces the floor and can flat-out take over a game. Just look at her August 17 game, for example: 22 points, 15 rebounds and 5-of-6 from three.
Candace Parker: Just one more notch under the belt for the legendary Candace Parker. Parker is still the focal point of L.A. and has them looking to compete for another title. Averaging just under 18 points per game to go with 8.2 rebounds, the two-time MVP and former Finals MVP has led the Sparks to the six-seed and looks ready to do what she does best: shine on the big stage.
Liz Cambage: Liz Cambage came back to the WNBA to make an impact, and that’s exactly what she did. Her stat line is ridiculous: she leads the league in scoring at 23 points per game while being fifth in the league in field goal percentage. The only thing that stopped Liz Cambage from being MVP was her team’s record, because she was on another level all season — just ask the Aces, or the Liberty, or the Mystics, or any of the other teams that Liz Cambage personally terrorized.