Round 4 Women's MVP Rankings
Power Rankings take a back seat this week as we instead analyse who the leading Most Valuable Player Candidates are one month into the season. Check out our rankings and tell us what you think via Facebook or Twitter.
1. Jasmine Hooper, Southlands Boulevarde Willetton Tigers (25.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game) - In addition to being third in points per game, second in assists and barely outside the top 10 in rebounding, Hooper is also second with 3.6 steals per outing. The continued improvement the WNBL youngster has shown over the past two seasons has been impressive and she's among the leading MVP candidates after the first month.
2. Emma Cannon, Rockingham Flames (28.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks per game) - Most players to miss significant parts of the season so far have been left off the lists, but we couldn't do that to Cannon. If she can keep up this rate, the new import will be the MVP with few arguments. That is much easier said than done though and the league may figure out better ways to cope with her size.
3. Stephanie Jones, Cockburn Cougars (25.3 points, 12 rebounds, 1 steal per game) - It's quite scary to think how badly Cockburn could be doing without Jones. Early in her time with the Cougars Jones has established herself as one of the league's premier players with some stellar numbers. On a better team, Jones could be the best player in the WSBL.
4. Melissa Marsh, Southlands Boulevarde Willetton Tigers (21.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game) - Marsh, as always, will be in the WSBL MVP discussion. But she's expected to miss a significant chunk of the season so she'd have to be unstoppable outside of that to win the award. The Tigers captain also has 2.8 steals per game.
5. Valeria Ogoke, Collie Crane Hire South West Slammers (16.3 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.8 steals per game) - The Slammers have been hit by the injury bug early in the campaign but have still made a great start, thanks largely to their new import. Ogoke leads the league in offensive rebounding and is 10th in points per game despite a woeful free-throw success rate of three from 14.
6. Courtney Byrnes, Lakeside Lightning (19.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists per game) - Lakeside have been the biggest surprise of the WSBL season and the biggest reason has been the improvement of Byrnes. In the absence of many of their key players from last season, the youngster has stepped up to become one of the league's best scorers.
7. Marita Payne, Perth Redbacks (16 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.2 blocks per game) - One of the few true centres in the competition, Payne has been great again in 2012. She's fifth in rebounding and leads the league in blocks by a huge margin. Will need to lift her scoring average a bit to win the MVP.
8. Nikita-Lee Martin, Wanneroo Wolves (15 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game) - After a phenomenal start to the season, Martin has fallen back to earth but she is still putting up some great numbers. It says a lot about Wanneroo's depth and evenness that she's their only player in these rankings.
9. Kaye Tucker, Rockingham Flames (22.7 points, 9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks per game) - A former league MVP, Tucker has returned from a year out and been fantastic in her three games. Cannon is going to take away much of Tucker's rebounding responsibilities and that could free her up to have even more of a scoring impact.
10. Jacinta Bourne, Rockingham Flames (13 points, 4 assists, 5 steals per game) - Having three Rockingham players on this list could be seen as excessive, but it's hard to argue Bourne shouldn't be here. As well as being near the assist leaders and being top 20 in scoring, the young guard leads the competition in steals.
Others to consider - Had she played more, East Perth's Sam Norwood would definitely be on the list and she figures to be a contender once again. Lakeside's Emily Fielding and Wanneroo's Ainsleigh Sanders can both consider themselves somewhat unlucky to miss out, while Lauren Jeffers of the Senators didn't make it due to her massive turnover rate.
Article by Jacob Kagi
Photo by Grant Lauterbach