- With less than a week remaining in the regular WNBA season, the race for MVP has narrowed to a handful of candidates.
- Here's the short list of WNBA stars who may earn this year's award.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
With less than a week remaining in the WNBA's regular season, a tight race for the league's 2020 MVP award is heating up.
Young stars like Arike Ogunbowale and A'ja Wilson have made a strong bid for the award, while league legends like Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker have been packing the stat sheet as they seek to add another piece of hardware to their collections.
Meanwhile, Breanna Stewart, the 2018 league MVP, has made a sensational case to win even though she missed the 2019 WNBA season after rupturing her Achilles tendon while playing abroad. Although the injury is often considered a kiss of death for pro athletes, Stewart returned to the Seattle Storm in peak form this season.
Also in the running are Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot — who has broken multiple WNBA assist records this season — and newly minted Connecticut Sun star DeWanna Bonner.
Here are the seven MVP frontrunners' stats, and why each has a solid chance to earn the league's highest individual honor:
Team: Las Vegas Aces
Stats: 20.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.8 BPG
What you need to know: Wilson has been a dominant force since her days with the South Carolina Gamecocks, and she had no trouble adjusting to the pace of play in the league after the Aces selected her with the first pick of the 2018 WNBA Draft. She's been an All-Star in every season she's played, and even though there were no All-Star selections this year, Wilson was certainly amongst the most impressive performers in the Wubble. The Las Vegas star ranked top five in the league in points, rebounds, and blocks per game this season, while leading the Aces to one of the top seeds in the playoffs.
Team: Seattle Storm
Stats: 19.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 3.6 APG
What you need to know: Stewart was the league's MVP in 2018 — the year she led the Seattle Storm to a WNBA championship. But she didn't immediately get the chance to defend either title, since Stewart ruptured her Achilles tendon while playing abroad during the WNBA off-season. After undergoing surgery, she missed the 2019 WNBA campaign while rehabbing.
That injury is often considered a "kiss of death" for professional athletes, but the 6-foot-4 superstar has come back in peak form. She's averaging 19.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game and ranks top-1o in the league in all three categories. She also ranks eighth in free-throw percentage, 10th in steals per game, and 15th in assists per game.
Team: Los Angeles Sparks
Stats: 14.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 4.5 APG
What you need to know: A five-time WNBA All-Star, Parker has already been MVP twice — including in her rookie season. Now, 12 years after that, Parker is once again a serious contender.
Though her 14.8 points per game is far less than that of her stiffest competition, the 6-foot-4 superstar been efficient thanks to 51.1% shooting from the floor — the 10th-best field goal percentage in the WNBA. Additionally, Parker leads the league with 9.4 rebounds per game and 9 double-doubles. She ranks seventh in three-point percentage, eighth in assists per game, and ninth in blocks per game.
Team: Phoenix Mercury
Stats: 19.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.7 APG
What you need to know: Taurasi is widely considered the greatest player ever to step foot on the hardwood, yet she's only won one league MVP award in her WNBA career. Now, at 38, she's making a solid case that it's once again time to "pay the boss."
Taurasi is averaging 19.5 points per game — fifth-best in the league — on 40.9% shooting from the field and a 37% clip from beyond the arc. She leads the WNBA with 61 made three-pointers and ranks fourth in free-throw percentage, seventh in assists per game, and — strangely for a guard — 29th in blocks per game. She's doing it all in her 16th WNBA season, and as the second-oldest player in the WNBA bubble.
Team: Chicago Sky
Position: Point Guard
Stats: 13.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 9.9 APG
What you need to know: Vandersloot is the queen of assists, and she's dominated the statistical category in the WNBA for the last few seasons. This year, she's posted another league-leading effort with 9.9 assists per game — more than four assists per game better than the next player behind her on the list. Vandersloot set the league's all-time single-game assist record with 18 dimes against the Indiana Fever this year. She also broke her own record for assists per game in a season — a record she's broken every season since 2017.
Vandersloot contributes a healthy 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game for the Chicago Sky. She's shooting 48.8% from the field, 40.5% from long distance, and 89.1% from the line — just a few percentage points away from the highly coveted 50-40-90 club.
Team: Dallas Wings
Stats: 21.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.5 APG
What you need to know: Ogunbowale is only in her second year in the WNBA, yet she leads the league in scoring. Thanks to her 21.9 points per game on 40.8% shooting from the field, the 5-foot-8 sniper is willing her Dallas Wings — the youngest team in the WNBA — to an unexpected run to the playoffs.
Ogunbowale ranks 12th in the league in steals, 17th in assists, and 21st in free-throw percentage. She's not amongst the top favorites to win MVP, but the 24-year-old has plenty of time left in her career to rack up accolades.
Team: Connecticut Sun
Stats: 19.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.0 APG
What you need to know: After 10 seasons playing alongside Taurasi for the Phoenix Mercury, Bonner took her talents to Connecticut. The 6-foot-4, three-time All-Star is versatile superstar who has been sensational for Curt Miller in her first season with the Sun. Bonner has recorded 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. She ranks third in the league in scoring, fifth in steals, 10th in rebounds, and 10th in free-throw percentage.
Although she may not be the primary frontrunner for MVP, Bonner's contributions have helped her Connecticut squad clinch a spot in the playoffs.
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