Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Guru's WNBA Report: Candace Parker Claims Second League MVP Honor

(Guru note: Bonita Spence coverage directly below this but the news cycle on certain days in women’s basketball never stops.)

By Mel Greenberg

In a year in which the WNBA re-branded itself and rode the national spotlight of three talented rookies, the old days of building suspense in naming postseason awards has also apparently gone out the window.

League officials wasted little time, choosing Thursday, the very first night of playoff action, to trot out the results of voting for the most prized honor – MVP, and it is going to Los Angeles Sparks sensation Candace Parker, the grand prize of the 2008 WNBA draft.

Parker received 234 points and 10 first-place votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters, a small cluster of which, such as your Guru, were considered national in scope, with the others coming out of the 12 franchise locales in the league.

Parker earns her second MVP honor, the first coming when she also was rookie of the year. This season among her many highlights – you can read them all in the WNBA release at WNBA.com – she also set an All-Star scoring record with 23 points to lead the West and earn her first MVP at the summer classic.

With the rookie arrivals of former Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne , two-time national collegiate player of the year Brittney Griner out of Baylor, and former Notre Dame great Skylar Diggins, Parker, a past collegiate player of the year out of Tennessee, has bumped up a women’s basketball generational level.

In fact, off the year Delle Donne has had in becoming the missing ingredient to propel the Chicago Sky not only to their first playoff appearance in eight tries but to best in the East, she was considered a strong candidate to duplicate Parker’s double award fete.

Delle Donne didn’t miss by much. She finished third in the voting with 189 points and seven first-place votes behind former UConn great of the Western leader Minnesota Lynx with 218 points and 10 first-place votes.

Another Sky superstar landed in the top five votes with Sylvia Fowles finishing fourth with 109 points and six first-place votes. Atlanta Dream star Angel McCoughtrey, the season’s top scorer, was fifth with 90 points.

The Guru, since you are wondering, went Moore, Delle Donne, Parker, Fowles and Minnesota point guard Lindsay Whalen.

The tabulation gave a first-place slot a total of 10 points, and then 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 in succession.

Parker picks up a hefty perk of $15,000 and a specially-designed trophy, though what she really wants to pick up is whatever goes with winning a WNBA title.

The Sparks, who tied Chicago of the East at 24-10 for second best record, were to start that quest later on the West Coast in Los Angeles against the third-seeded Phoenix Mercury, the WNBA preseason favorite, in the best-of-three opening series in the conference semifinals.

Washington, the third seed in the East, met second-seeded Atlanta in the Dream’s arena in Georgia while on Friday night, Chicago will make its playoff debut at home against the pesky Indiana Fever, the defending champs of the WNBA.

The rest of the WNBA players receiving votes were Diana Taurasi (69), Tamika Catchings (43), Lindsay Whalen (34), Tina Thompson (13), Lindsay Harding (7), Nneka Ogwumike (5), Seimone Augustus (1), DeWanna Bonner (1), and Tin Charles (1), whose plunge to the bottom from her MVP award last season duplicates the similar dive her Connecticut Sun did off a rash of injuries to go from top seed in the East to an all-time franchise worst record.

-- Mel

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