The New York Liberty are 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2007. 

The 2023 WNBA title finalists notched a 74-63 win over Seattle on Monday night, with Sabrina Ionescu dropping 20 points alongside eight assists. After the game, Ionescu told reporters she thought the team was coming together a bit easier than they did last year.

"I think having a year together, we don't nearly have to communicate as much on the court anymore," she said. "Because we can just play off one another and read. And that's obviously been the growth of this team, is being able to play a season together last year."

The team’s defense has also contributed heavily to the season's winning start. Last night, the Liberty held Jewell Loyd to just 13 points and nine rebounds. Loyd let the Storm in scoring, with only two other players in double digits, while Nneka Ogwumike missed her second straight game with an ankle injury. 

Storm free agency acquisition Skylar Diggins-Smith had eight points, and is averaging 14.5 points and 5.8 assists per game this season. In her postgame remarks, Storm head coach Noelle Quinn called on others to give her grace in her return. 

"There needs to be respect about the fact that she's had two children and hasn’t played in 20 months," said Quinn. "She’s not going to come overnight and be who she was 20 months ago and we have to respect that and honor that. And I do.

"My grace as a coach is to know she’s working her butt off every day. You guys don’t see it. Every single day. Two children. Not one, two. Not many can do that."

Jewell Loyd is the all-time single-season scoring leader for the WNBA.

Last week, Breanna Stewart held the honor, as the New York Liberty star became the first of three players this season to surpass the previous mark. But on Sunday, Loyd finished at the top of the pack, scoring 939 points in 2023 compared to Stewart’s 919. And the Seattle Storm guard did it in 38 games to Stewart’s 40.

Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson also broke the previous record, set by Diana Taurasi, who scored 860 points in 2006, when the league played shorter seasons. Wilson scored 912 points in 40 games in 2023.

Loyd moved past Stewart in the Storm’s second-to-last game Friday. While Stewart moved ahead of her again in the Liberty’s final game Sunday, Loyd scored 28 points in the Storm’s season finale later that day to take the record. The 29-year-old guard needed nine points to beat out Stewart — and she reached that mark in the first four minutes of the game, nailing a three-pointer with 6:33 left in the first quarter to seal her place in league history.

“That wasn’t a goal of mine at all coming into the season,” Loyd said. “Even hearing about it and talking about it, it never was a goal of mine. It kind of just happened naturally. I think it’s pretty cool. What I miss, (two) games and still was able to produce the way I was producing, so that’s pretty cool.”

It was Loyd’s first game since signing a two-year supermax contract extension with Seattle, which she said Sunday was a result of her having no desire to become an unrestricted free agent.

“I didn’t have to think about it like seriously until a week ago,” Loyd said. “It’s kind of hard to make decisions while you’re in a season just because you’re not thinking about it. It takes a lot of energy and you have to focus in on what you’re going to do with your life.

“It didn’t feel like any pressure or I felt overwhelmed. At that same time, I understand the business and I knew kind of what I wanted. It was a feeling for me. At the end of the day it was a pretty easy decision.”

As Loyd moves forward with the Storm, and Stewart does the same with the Liberty, expect more records to fall. Stewart predicted as much after she broke Taurasi’s record last week.

“More games is more points,” Stewart said. “As we have 40-game seasons, and we continue to build off that, there’s going to be a lot of records that are broken.”

Jewell Loyd is staying with the Seattle Storm.

Loyd, 29, has agreed on a two-year extension, her agent, Jade-Li English of Klutch Sports, told ESPN. The deal will pay her $241,984 in the first season, the supermax for that year, and $249,032 in the second.

The All-Star forward has scored 911 points this season, a WNBA single-season record, and she’s leading the league with an average of 24.6 points per game. Loyd has been with the Storm since the team picked her No. 1 overall in the 2015 WNBA Draft.

“It’s been special for Seattle to witness Jewell compete for championships and rise to be one of the best in the game. She is a franchise player, and we are excited to continue to build our future around her,” Storm president and CEO Alisha Valavanis said. “She is a remarkable person and leader, she lifts her teammates, the organization, and her community. Everyone around Jewell knows she embodies greatness. We’re so glad she’s staying in Seattle.”

Loyd has been a bright spot in an otherwise dark season for Seattle, which is 11-28 entering its final game of the season, Sunday against the Los Angeles Sparks.

Loyd will look to finish her historic season on a high note. After signing the extension, she posted a famous Bruce Lee quote to X.

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine,” Loyd wrote.

With one month of regular season games left to play, the WNBA MVP race is getting serious as players make their cases on the court.

From 40-point games to triple-doubles, three candidates are routinely putting on MVP-level performances and are ahead of the rest, while three others deserve a mention.

Top contenders

A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces

Last year’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year is once again a leader for both awards. The Aces are the top team in the WNBA and the favorites to win the championship, and Wilson is the heart of their offense and defense.

A player who dominates both ends of the court automatically has a leg up in MVP conversations, and Wilson certainly does. She’s averaging a near double-double with 21.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, while recording 2.2 blocks on the defensive end. Wilson’s importance to the Aces goes well beyond her impressive stat line, though.

Defensively, her rim protection allows the Las Vegas guards to play intense on-ball defense and take risks that lead to run-outs. They know if they get beat off the dribble, Wilson is there to clean up.

Some will argue against Wilson’s case for MVP because of the talent she has around her, with her All-Star and All-WNBA teammates carrying much of the responsibility. On the flip side, the Aces have four elite offensive weapons — including Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young — but they know running things through Wilson is the best way to win. It’s working, as Wilson takes the most shots out of anyone on the team at 14.3 per game, and Las Vegas has the best record in the WNBA at 27-3.

And with Candace Parker out after having surgery on her foot, Wilson has taken on an even greater role. Starting on July 11, she went on an eight-game stretch of 20 or more points per game. Since then, she’s scored over 20 points in 11 of her team’s last 12 contests, including a career-high 40 points in a win over the Mystics on Friday.

(Elsa/Getty Images)

Breanna Stewart, New York Liberty

To reach MVP status, a player has to do things that no one else has. Stewart certainly does that. Teammate Courtney Vandersloot has called the New York Liberty forward “the best player in the world,” and she has a point.

The Liberty have 11 games left in the regular season, and Stewart has already set a WNBA record by becoming the first player in history to record three 40-point games in a single season. Her first came in New York’s home opener, when Stewart dropped 45 in a win over the Fever. She did it again on July 5 in a win over the Mercury, and most recently in another victory over the Fever on Sunday.

Stewart’s season stats are also MVP-worthy. She’s averaging 23.3 points (second in the WNBA), 9.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Stewart has been consistent in her scoring efforts, finishing with single-digit points just once in her team’s 30 games.

The Liberty have the second-best record in the league at 24-6, but things haven’t necessarily been easy for the team. They were dubbed a “superteam” after bringing in Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Vandersloot to join Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney in the offseason, but early on the group of stars failed to mesh. Notably, Jones was nursing an injury at the beginning of the season that kept the former MVP from performing at the level people expected.

Through the ups and downs, Stewart was the guiding force, almost single-handedly keeping her team afloat. Now they are reaping the benefits, as one of the favorites (alongside the Aces) to win the WNBA title. That’s something the Liberty have never accomplished despite being one of the league’s first franchises. With Stewart on their roster, it’s suddenly a real possibility.

Stewart and Wilson will go head-to-head twice this week, first in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup championship game on Tuesday and again in their teams’ final regular-season meeting of the season on Thursday.

(Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun

Stewart and Wilson will likely battle it out for the MVP trophy — conversations surrounding the award so far this season have skewed toward one or the other — but the Sun’s Alyssa Thomas deserves the same amount of attention.

The Sun are a contending team, currently third in the league with a 21-9 record. Along with the Aces and Liberty, they are one of just three teams in the WNBA with over 20 wins.

A lot changed for Connecticut in the offseason, as Jonquel Jones departed for New York and Curt Miller took a head coaching job with the Los Angeles Sparks. A drop-off from last year’s Finals appearance was expected but never happened. The Sun have stayed in contention against all odds, including an injury to reigning WNBA Sixth Player of the Year Brionna Jones, and Thomas is the biggest reason why.

Statistically, no single category jumps off Thomas’ stat page, but when you add it all together, you get the WNBA’s triple-double queen. Thomas isn’t scoring 20 points a game, but it’s hard to argue that anyone is more important to their team than she is to the Sun.

Thomas is averaging 15.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game. She also does the majority of Connecticut’s ball-handling, boasting a 4.1-to-1.6 assist-to-turnover record. Thomas has been stuffing the stat sheet all season and currently holds the WNBA record for triple-doubles, with five so far in 2023. Thomas does a little bit — or in some cases a lot — of everything for her team, making her a perfect MVP candidate.

Other candidates worth mentioning

At least three other WNBA players come to mind as having MVP-type seasons. But a large part of the criteria for the award is playing for a team in contention to win a title, and right now, these players don’t fall into that category.

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Satou Sabally, Dallas Wings

The Wings have the goods to make a playoff run, thanks to Arike Ogunbowale, Natasha Howard, Satou Sabally and a group of skilled role players. Sabally is healthy after battling injuries over the last couple of years, and she’s having the best season of her life.

The Oregon product is averaging 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game, making her an asset all over the court. The Wings are currently in fourth place in the WNBA at 16-14, with impressive wins over the Aces, Liberty and Sun.

Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx

With WNBA legend Sylvia Fowles in retirement, the Lynx are officially Collier’s team, and she’s up for the challenge. The 2019 first-round pick is averaging a career-high in points with 21.4 per contest, to go along with 7.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The Lynx are fifth in the WNBA at 14-16.

Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm

The Storm star is taking on a huge role for her team now that Stewart is gone and Sue Bird has retired. She’s leading the WNBA with 24.1 points per game and 3.1 made 3-pointers per game. But Seattle is 10th in the WNBA, making it hard for Loyd to make a real case for the MVP award.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

The Dallas Wings’ loss Sunday to the Chicago Sky featured two ejections and a fight during a chippy WNBA weekend, one which has resulted in one suspension and seven fines for players.

Wings star Arike Ogunbowale, one of the players ejected Sunday, gave voice afterward to a question that has echoed across the league this season: What is going on with the referees?

Ogunbowale received her second ejection of the season for making unnecessary contact with an official with 52 seconds left in the game. The 26-year-old guard’s shoulder knocked against the referee’s shoulder, which led to the technical foul and ejection.

“[The referee] was looking for something. I just watched it back a million times,” Ogunbowale said after the game. “I don’t know what’s going on this year with the refs but that was the worst call I’ve ever seen in my life.”

While Ogunbowale avoided a suspension, she did receive a fine for her contact with the official and for her postgame comments. Sky forward Ruthy Hebard received a one-game suspension and a fine for leaving the bench area during an on-court altercation earlier in the game, and her teammate Courtney Williams received a fine for doing the same.

The WNBA also handed out punishments for an altercation during Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics. Los Angeles’ Layshia Clarendon and Washington’s Ariel Atkins, Brittney Sykes and Shakira Austin all received fines.

Mystics players Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud both have expressed frustration with WNBA officiating this season. In May, Delle Donne criticized the referees for treating her “like a rookie with calls.” In July, Cloud had even harsher words for the referees.

“I don’t care what pipeline refs we have coming through. I don’t care,” she said. “We have to do our job every single night. You need to do yours. This is bull—t. This is f–king bull–t.”

In June, Atlanta Dream coach Tanisha Wright questioned the officiating in one of her team’s games, particularly a flagrant-one call on New York Liberty guard Stefanie Dolson that Wright believes warranted a flagrant-two and an ejection.

“We’re expected to play at a high level every single night… The officials need to be able to rise to that same occasion. They should be held to that same standard,” Wright said. “They’re going to fine me for this, but I’m challenging them to raise their standards… Officiating needs to get better, period.”

Also in June, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd — after scoring a career-high 41 points — took time to call out officiating issues.

“Protect the players,” Loyd said. “It’s not just us. Every single team has said something about the refs. That tells you that something is going wrong in that department. You expect high-level players, we expect high-level refs. We’re not getting that every single night.”

Jewell Loyd put on a show on Saturday in front of a sold-out WNBA All-Star Game crowd.

Among those in attendance were Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis, Sue Bird and Sheryl Swoopes, who all looked on as Loyd put up an All-Star Game record 31 points. That number broke Maya Moore’s and reigning MVP Kelsey Plum’s record of 30 points, set in 2015 and 2022, respectively. Loyd earned MVP honors for the feat, which featured a larger trophy than last year.

Plum, who had 30 points again this year and won the trophy last year, applauded the increase in size.

“They upgraded,” Plum said. “Whoever was in charge [of the trophy] either got fired or was very scared of getting fired. But listen, the whole incident with the trophy caused a stir, so I didn’t mind it.

“It’s cool. I’m super happy for Jewell, and I thought they did a great job this year.”

Loyd also set a record for 3-pointers, knocking down 10. Afterward, she dedicated the performance to her parents for their wedding anniversary and Kobe Bryant.

“It’s special because the last time I saw Kobe (Bryant) was here,” said Loyd, who also goes by the nickname the Gold Mamba. “He’s constantly with me and I try to live by his words of, ‘Be epic, create forever.”

The WNBA All-Star teams are set, but the lineup for the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest are still up in the air.​​ Friday’s competition serves as a precursor to the main event on All-Star weekend, with six players participating in the 3-Point Contest and eight in the Skills Challenge (if the WNBA sticks with the same format as last year).

With the entire league to choose from, here is my wish list for the players I’d like to see compete this weekend in Las Vegas.

3-Point Contest

Kelsey Plum, G, Las Vegas Aces

After struggling in last year’s 3-point contest on All-Star weekend, Kelsey Plum deserves a shot at redemption. Despite being an excellent 3-point shooter who averages 43.2% for her career, she was last in the competition in 2022. Teammate A’ja Wilson even said Plum “stunk it up.” The Vegas guard followed that performance up by winning 2022 All-Star Game MVP, but a good showing in this year’s 3-point competition would further erase last year’s struggles. Plum said she’s “not a rack shooter and more of a game shooter,” but why not both?

Lexie Brown, G, Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks guard was considered a snub in last year’s 3-point contest after shooting 39.8% on the season, thanks to a hot hand in the first half. This year, Brown is even better from beyond the arc, shooting 42% and making 2.3 attempts per contest. An illness has kept Brown off the court since June 14, but if she’s healthy, the guard is a no-brainer addition to this year’s competition.

Karlie Samuelson, G, Los Angeles Sparks

Why not have a little intra-team competition? Brown’s teammate, Karlie Samuelson, would be a perfect candidate. She’s spent the last few seasons fighting for a WNBA roster spot and has found a home this year with the Sparks, shooting an incredible 48.2% from beyond the arc. Samuelson is currently injured, but if healthy enough, she deserves this honor.

DeWanna Bonner, F/G, Connecticut Sun

At 35 years old, Bonner is having the best 3-point shooting season of her WNBA career, averaging 38.2% with 2.2 makes per game. Bonner spent her offseason practicing twice a day to rehab an injury and improve her long-range shooting. Bonner’s desire to find ways to get better after 14 years in the league makes her special, and bringing her into the 3-point contest would be a great way to celebrate the veteran’s season.

Sabrina Ionescu, G, New York Liberty

Another player who is having the best 3-point shooting performance of her career, Ionescu is making 43.9% of her attempts this season, marking a 10% improvement on her average last season. She’s making 3.1 3-pointers per contest, good for second in the WNBA. Ionescu is the reigning Skills Challenge champion, so why not give her a chance to win the shooting portion as well?

Jackie Young, G, Las Vegas Aces

Another intra-squad rivalry would be on display if Young competed alongside Plum, and with the competition being held in Vegas this year, two Aces players would make for an exciting atmosphere. Not to mention, Young has had one of the best career arcs when it comes to 3-point shooting, shooting 25% in 2021 and 43.1% in 2022. This year, she’s an absolute must-guard shooter from beyond the arc, making 48.1% of her attempts.

If this is Candace Parker's last season, an appearance in the Skills Challenge would be fitting. (Scott Eklund/NBAE via Getty Images)

Skills Challenge

NaLyssa Smith, F, Indiana Fever

The Fever forward participated in last year’s Skills Challenge as a rookie and finished in second place. Smith is having a great second-year campaign in Indiana, leading the team in rebounds per game and ranking second in points per game. Could a skills competition redemption be in her future? It’s certainly a possibility.

Sabrina Ionescu, G, New York Liberty

Speaking of last year’s contest, Ionescu took home the top prize and deserves a chance to defend her title. Having the Liberty guard compete in all three of the weekend’s events is a lot, but she certainly has a case to make the trio of appearances.

Rhyne Howard, G, Atlanta Dream

When it comes to All-Star snubs, no one was more deserving than Howard, who participated in the game last season as a rookie. She’s averaging 18.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, building on her Rookie of the Year season in 2022. Since we won’t get to see Howard in the All-Star Game, she should at least make an appearance in the Skills Challenge.

Candace Parker, F/C, Las Vegas Aces

This is perhaps the biggest reach on the wish list, but who better to participate in the Skills Challenge than a do-it-all player like Parker? She’s made it clear that she’s nearing the end of her career, so if 2023 is Parker’s last season, it would be a shame for her to go without seeing her compete in some capacity this weekend.

Marine Johannès, G, New York Liberty

Is it really a skills competition without the flashiest player in the WNBA? The French guard does a little bit of everything, and she does it all with style. Johannès is sure to get “oohs and “aahs” every time she steps on the court, making this event the perfect showcase for an exciting player like her.

Courtney Vandersloot, G, New York Liberty

If we are going to have two Liberty guards, why not make it three by adding in the WNBA assists leader? Vandersloot runs the Liberty offense with ease, dishing out 8.5 assists per game. The WNBA veteran certainly has the skills to win this competition, and maybe Allie Quigley would even make an appearance to cheer on her wife. It only seems fair after years of Vandersloot’s support for the queen of the 3-Point Contest.

Satou Sabally, F, Dallas Wings

Other than Smith and Parker, this list is guard-heavy. Enter Sabally, who is the perfect forward for the skills competition. She’s 6-4, but plays more like a guard who shines in the fastbreak and leads the Wings on the run. That makes her a competitive candidate for this event. Plus, Sabally is having the best season of her career, averaging 17.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Jewell Loyd, G, Seattle Storm

Things are much different for the 4-14 Storm this season, but Jewell Loyd’s talent remains the same. She could easily participate in the 3-Point Contest, averaging 38.8% from beyond the arc and leading the league in 3-pointers made with 3.4 per game. But I’d rather see Loyd show off her complete skill set, like she’s been doing for Seattle all season.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

The Seattle Storm fell to the Connecticut Sun 93-73 on Thursday, but not without another stellar effort from 2023 WNBA All-Star Jewell Loyd.

Loyd led all scorers with 22 points through 29 minutes, but she was one of just two players to finish the game with double-digit scoring marks for the Storm, compared to six players for Connecticut. After the first quarter, Seattle trailed Connecticut 29-6, and at one point Loyd expressed her frustration with the Storm bench.

“Who wants to f–ing play today? Who wants to play today?” Loyd shouted at her teammates, according to reporter Mark Schindler.

When asked about the moment after the game, Loyd said she has a responsibility to motivate her team and thought they did a good job of responding toward the end of the first half. The Storm went into halftime down 33 points and clawed back in the second half before losing their fourth straight game.

“My job as a leader is to try and find ways to motivate our squad,” Loyd said. “Most people know that I’m very calm and cool, collected, but if I need to light a fire under someone’s ass, I will. And so that’s what was needed and we ended up playing well for a stretch going into the half.”

For their part, the Sun (13-5) were seemingly unstoppable on offense. DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas each had 16 points, and the team as a whole shot 54 percent from the field. Veteran guard Rebecca Allen was also all over the court, recording 14 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.

“Obviously this loss is tough,” Storm center Ezi Magbegor said. “But we have more games on this road trip. I don’t think we can put it away completely because there’s things that we need to get better at.”

Loyd and Magbegor have been bright spots for the Storm during a rebuilding season. After losing Sue Bird to retirement and Breanna Stewart to the New York Liberty in free agency, Seattle (4-13) is in second-to-last place in the WNBA standings nearing the halfway point of the season.

The WNBA on Sunday announced the 10 players — four guards and six frontcourt players — who will start the 2023 All-Star Game.

For a second straight year, the Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson and the New York Liberty’s Breanna Stewart will serve as team captains after receiving the most fan votes of any All-Star starter.  Wilson received a grand total of 95,860 fan votes, while Stewart clocked in at 87,586.

In addition to Wilson and Stewart, the other frontcourt starters include Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Satou Sabally (Dallas Wings), Aliyah Boston (Indiana Fever) and Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks).

The four starting guards are Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings) and Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces).

Boston, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 WNBA Draft, is the eighth rookie selected to start an All-Star Game but first since 2014. She is also the only first-time All-Star of the group, while Griner is the starter with the most All-Star appearances (9).

Wilson and Stewart will draft their teams during a special WNBA All-Star selection show on Saturday, July 8 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN). The WNBA All-Star Game will be played at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 15, with the game airing on ABC (5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET).

How does WNBA All-Star voting work?

WNBA All-Star starters were determined by a combination of fan voting (50%), media voting (25%) and current player voting (25%).

Twelve reserves will be selected by the league’s head coaches, who each vote for three guards, five frontcourt players and four players at either position — though they are restricted from voting for their own players.

2023 WNBA All-Star Starters

See below for two tables that show the breakdown of All-Star voting by fans, media members, and current players for the top-10 athletes at each position. Starters are indicated with an asterisk (*).

The polls are closed for 2023 WNBA All-Star voting, and the game’s starters will be announced Sunday. From there, the WNBA’s 12 head coaches will select the 12 reserves, and the two top vote-getters will serve as captains and draft their respective All-Star teams on July 8.

For the first part of the process, media members were tasked with selecting four guards and four forwards/centers on their ballots. Whoever receives the most votes will start in the All-Star Game on July 15 in Las Vegas.

Here’s how I voted.

Jackie Young has been one of the best players on a star-studded Aces team. (Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)


Jackie Young, Las Vegas Aces

Young took home the Most Improved Player award last season, and so far this year, she’s been even better. Las Vegas is bursting with talent, but Young has often been the best player on the court for her team and has turned herself into one of the best guards in the league. The Notre Dame product is averaging 21 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. She’s shooting 50% from beyond the arc, making 2.3 3-pointers per contest, and has also been aggressive on the attack and in transition.

Young has been consistent in her play since she opened the season with 23 points in a win over Seattle. Of all the guards, she was the easiest All-Star selection for me.

Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm

The Storm may be struggling, but Loyd certainly isn’t. She’s leading the WNBA with 26.2 points per game and leading Seattle with 3.7 assists per game. The 29-year-old guard is a prolific shot creator, and without Breanna Stewart in Seattle this season, she’s taken on a bigger scoring role. Last year, Loyd was one of the league’s top guards, averaging 16.3 points per game. This year, she’s increased that number by 10 points. So far, Loyd has recorded four 30-plus point games, including a career-high 39 in a 109-103 win over Dallas on June 17.

Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas Aces

Last season’s Finals MVP is picking up right where she left off. The Aces rank first in the league in scoring, and their offense starts with Gray. She leads the team and is third among all WNBA players with 6.3 assists per game. Gray can also create shots for herself, averaging 13.6 points per game. Of all those qualities, it’s the veteran’s efficient scoring that makes her stand out to me. Gray is making 51.8% of her 2-point shots, 51.2% of her 3-point shots and 92.3% of her free-throw attempts.

Allisha Gray, Atlanta Dream

After playing her first six seasons with the Dallas Wings, Gray is wasting no time establishing herself with the Dream. The guard is averaging 17.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, all of which are career-high marks. Gray is also an excellent on-ball defender, meaning she impacts nearly every aspect of the game for Atlanta.

Gray is aggressive when both driving to the rim and attacking the glass. She’s the third-best rebounder among guards in the WNBA and has recorded two double-doubles this season. This is the best season of Gray’s career, and she is certainly worthy of making her first All-Star appearance.

Brittney Griner was playing at an All-Star level until she got hurt on June 13. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury

I expected Griner to take some time getting reacclimated to the WNBA after she returned home in December from wrongful detainment in Russia, but that was not the case. She opened the season with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field and four blocked shots. Since then, the Mercury center has been consistent on both ends of the floor. She’s averaging 20.1 points per game, which is sixth in the league, and 2.5 blocks per game, which is first.

Until getting injured in an 83-69 loss to Seattle on June 13, when she played just nine minutes and scored two points, Griner had scored at least 18 points in every appearance.

Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun

Connecticut coach Stepahnie White calls Thomas the “most underrated superstar in the WNBA.” While Thomas may fly under the radar, her impact on the court cannot be overstated.

Thomas does everything for the Sun. She averages 14.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.1 steals per contest, leaving her just two assists shy of averaging a triple-double for the season. She recorded the fifth triple-double of her career on June 20, with 15 rebounds, 13 points and 12 assists in an 85-79 win over the Storm. Thomas is also efficient with her decision-making, averaging just three turnovers per contest.

Satou Sabally, Dallas Wings

Injuries plagued Sabally in the first few seasons of her career, but now the Oregon product is healthy and playing her best basketball. Sabally is a versatile scorer who, at 6-foot-4, can get points from inside or outside, off a post-up or off the dribble. She’s averaging 20 points (up from 11.3 last season), 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Sabally is one of just three players in the WNBA averaging a double-double on the season. The forward should be a shoe-in All-Star selection.

Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks have battled injuries so far this season, but with different lineups nearly every night, Ogwumike has been the consistent bright spot. In her 12th season in the WNBA, Ogwumike is averaging a career-best 19.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, nearing a double-double. She is also averaging a career-high 3.6 assists per game, showing off her ability to read defenses and find open shooters. Ogwumike also has six double-doubles so far this season.

A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces

The reigning WNBA MVP has continued her dominance for the Aces, leading her team to a league leading 11-1 record so far. Wilson has led her team in either points or rebounds in 10 of those 12 games. She’s averaging 18.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest, while also making a difference on the defensive end with 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.

Wilson has been held to single-digit scoring just once this season, with eight in a win over Minnesota on June 18. But in that game, she proved her ability to impact the Aces in multiple ways, recording season-highs in rebounds (14) and blocks (four).

Breanna Stewart, New York Liberty

It’s taking the WNBA’s newest superteam time to develop chemistry, but through the growing pains, Stewart has been one of the league’s best players. In her first home game for the Liberty, Stewart recorded a double-double with 45 points and 12 rebounds, setting a new franchise record. She’s averaging a team-high 23.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.7 steals per game, while also dishing out four assists per game. Stewart is second in the WNBA in scoring and first in rebounding.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.