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WNBA MVP: Favorites at midway point of 2021 season

WNBA MVP, Jonquel Jones
Oct 8, 2019; Uncasville, CT, USA; Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones (35) drives the ball against the Washington Mystics during the second quarter in game four of the 2019 WNBA Finals at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The first half of the WNBA season is in the books and with the All-Star Game approaching, it’s time to look at the WNBA MVP candidates who are dominating the league this year.

With the 2021 season at its midway point, the WNBA season will treat fans to a unique All-Star Game experience. This year’s game features the US Women’s Olympic team facing off against Team WNBA, a 12-person roster voted on by fans and players of non-US Olympians.

As we look forward to the showcase of the top women’s basketball players in the world, we highlight the best players who made their mark in the first half of the season inserting their name in the WNBA MVP race.

Here are the top candidates to win the WNBA’s regular-season MVP honors.

5. A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces

WNBA MVP
Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
  • A’ja Wilson stats (2021): 19.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.7 steals

While reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson’s numbers have dipped, she has done her part in leading the Aces to the second-best record in the WNBA. She ranks fifth in scoring, sixth in rebounding and is tied for the most double-doubles. The Aces are 8-2 in games when she records a double-double.

The Aces are 10-3 since June 3, with Wilson averaging 20.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. In the Aces’ final game before the break, Wilson nearly recorded her first career triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in a win over the Dallas Wings.

4. Tina Charles, Washington Mystics

WNBA MVP
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
  • Tina Charles stats (2021): 26.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks

Injuries have kept the Washington Mystics from playing at their usual level this season. However, Tina Charles has played a huge role in keeping the team afloat. She leading the WNBA in scoring averaging 26.3 points per game, which would set a WNBA single-season scoring record if she keeps this pace after the All-Star break.

Through 17 games, Charles has scored 20-plus 14 times and eclipsed 30 points in eight starts. Washington is 6-2 when she scores 30-plus. Charles has connected on 34 three-pointers, already her career-high, and is shooting a career-best 37% from deep. She concluded the first half of the season with a bang, recording 34 points and 17 rebounds in a Mystics win against the Chicago Sky.

3. Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm

WNBA MVP, Breanna Stewart
Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
  • Breanna Stewart stats (2021): 20.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.1 steals

In pursuit of winning a second consecutive WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm, Breanna Stewart is putting herself in contention for her second WNBA MVP award. The Storm have the best record in the WNBA, with Stewart leading the way ranking third in scoring, fifth in rebounds and tied for third in blocks. She has won more WNBA Player of the Week awards (four) than any player this season and is one of only two players to win it multiple times.

2. Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx

WNBA MVP
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
  • Sylvia Fowles stats (2021): 15.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.9 blocks

After missing 15 of 22 games due to a calf injury last year, Sylvia Fowles is back putting together an incredible season. Not only is Fowles in the running for WNBA MVP, she is also a strong candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Fowles helped the Minnesota Lynx go into the ASB on a season-high seven-game win streak, including a historic win over the Las Vegas Aces on July 9.

She is the only player this season shooting 60% from the field, all while averaging over 15 points per game. Her effort on the defensive end has been her calling card as she’s second in the league in steals and blocks. If she keeps that pace, Fowles would be just the third player in WNBA history to finish in the top three in both categories.

1. Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun

  • Jonquel Jones stats (2021): 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.1 blocks

Missing five games due to playing overseas for Eurobasket has not stopped Jonquel Jones from being the favorite for WNBA MVP. In 15 games with her on the floor, the Connecticut Sun went 12-3 (2-3 without her). She is the only player averaging 20-plus points and 10 rebounds while shooting over 50% from the field and 40% from deep this season.

Jones is in a three-way tie for the most double-doubles recorded this season despite playing three, five and six games less respectively than each player. Jonquel Jones leads the Connecticut Sun in points, rebounds, steals and blocks making her the only player to lead her team in four of the five main categories (third in assists).

Stats courtesy of stats.wnba.com