At this point in the year, regular season accomplishments no longer matter. For Just Women’s Sports’ WNBA Team of the Month for August, we selected a starting five strictly based on playoff performances.
Everyone is playing at a higher level, so even with fewer teams left competing, the player selection process was a challenge.
Here is our team for August:
Sky star Candace Parker has taken her game to another level in the postseason. Her 13.2 points per game in the regular season are up to 16.8 in the playoffs, and her rebounding average has also increased from 8.6 to 11.4 per game.
Parker put together a near-perfect performance in the Sky’s Game 1 semifinal loss to the Sun with 19 points, 18 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and four steals. Then, in Game 2, she guided the Sky to a much-needed victory with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists and three blocks. It was her 25th career playoff game with 20-plus points.
Before her one-point performance in Wednesday’s game, DeWanna Bonner has been the X-factor for the Sun. They wouldn’t be heading into Game 3 against Chicago tied 1-1 in the semifinal series without her.
Bonner recorded 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals to guide the Sun to an upset of the Sky in Game 1. She was also reliable in Connecticut’s first-round series against the Wings, particularly in the deciding Game 3 when she finished with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Last year’s Finals MVP picked up where she left off, recording 21, 20 and 15 points in the first three games of the playoffs against the Liberty. In the Game 1 of that first-round series, Copper also had eight rebounds for a near double-double.
She then scored 13 points against Connecticut in Game 1 of the semifinals, and followed that up with 12 in Game 2 as part of a balanced Sky attack.
Jewell Loyd is the X-factor for the Storm. When she’s scoring, they’re winning, and in the first round against the Mystics, Loyd was certainly scoring. In Game 1, she had 16 points and turned it on in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 to secure the win. In Game 2, she poured in 19 points on 5-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc.
Loyd followed that up with 26 points in the Storm’s opening semifinal win over the Aces, after which head coach Noelle Quinn praised her maturity.
Since being snubbed from the All-Star Game, Chelsea Gray has elevated her game. That increase in production has been even more prominent in the playoffs, where she has scored at least 17 points in all four games thus far.
The Aces point guard had 27 points and eight rebounds to send the Mercury home in Game 2 of the first round. Then against the Storm, Gray neared a triple-double in Las Vegas’ Game 2 semifinal victory, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.