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Lynx Tracks: Midseason Review

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*************************August 2011: Vol. 3, Issue 5************************

By David Zingler

With August already upon us, the WNBA's 15th season has reached its midpoint. We've already seen the most decorated collegiate player in NCAA history join the hometown team and help the Lynx jump out to the best start in franchise history, the league unveil its 15 greatest players at an exciting, competitive All-Star Game and Target Center filled with more energy than any summer in the past. And still, you get the feeling the best is yet to come.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves (that comes later), let's take a look at the season's top mid-year performers.

Coach of Year: Cheryl Reeve, Lynx

Sure the Lynx are deep and talented, but often times the most talented teams are the most difficult to coach. It was up to Reeve to establish order and roles on a star-studded team that had never won before. So far she's made all of the right moves.
Contenders: Dan Hughes, San Antonio; Mike Thibault, Connecticut

Most Improved Player: Matee Ajavon, Washington

Not only is the fourth-year guard scoring nine points above her 2010 pace, her shooting percentage is up significantly while her assists and steals totals have more than doubled. Ajavon has become one the league's most dependable stat sheet fillers.
Contenders: Epiphany Prince, Chicago; Jessica Davenport, Indiana

Sixth Woman of the Year: Danielle Adams, San Antonio

With a hard-charging Maya Moore the likely Rookie of the Year, this is the perfect way to acknowledge the tremendous and unexpected impact Adams has had on the Silver Stars. The rookie leads all non-starters in points and is an integral part of one of the league's best teams.
Contenders: DaWanna Bonner, Phoenix; Essence Carson, New York

Defensive Player of the Year: Sylvia Fowles, Chicago

Fowles is the runaway league leader in blocks and, even more remarkably, the 6-6 center ranks among the top 15 in steals. Her unique combination of size and athleticism ruin opponent's offensive game plans on a nightly basis.
Contenders: Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta; Tamika Catchings, Indiana

Rookie of the Year: Maya Moore, Lynx

In only a half of a season, Moore has already shown she is the rare kind of player who can dominate a game without scoring. The No. 1 overall pick's strength, speed and superior instincts allow her to patrol the floor, wreak havoc in the passing lanes and find her teammates for unlikely fast-break buckets. That's not to say she can't score - Moore ranks a close second to Adams among rookies.
Contenders: Adams; Liz Cambage, Tulsa

Most Valuable Player: Fowles

No player brings a more unique skill set to the game than Sylvia Fowles. Not only is she the league's best defender, Fowles also is pacing her peers in scoring and efficiency rating while ranking third in rebounding and fourth in field goal percentage.
Contenders: Seimone Augustus, Lynx; Catchings

Now it's time to look ahead, here are 5 second-half predictions.

1. The Lynx will secure No 1 seed in West. The local squad is just starting to click. Players are still getting comfortable in their roles and Seimone Augustus is getting back to her pre-knee injury level. Watch out league!

2. Atlanta will finish strong and make the playoffs. After a dreadful start, the defending Eastern Conference Champions look to have gotten their act together. This squad has too much talent to miss the playoffs in the East.

3. Maya will score Moore. Like it says above, Maya doesn't need to score to change the game, but we've gotten the impression that her offensive game hasn't quite clicked yet. It will soon.

4. Tulsa will be more successful in the second half. OK, the Shock went a dismal 1-16 in the first half, so this is a gimme (I think). There's nowhere to go but up Shock fans. At least All-Star rookie Liz Cambage gives you hope for the future.

5. Connecticut will get the No. 1 seed in the East. As a basketball fan, it's hard not appreciate the way Indiana - led by Tamika Catchings - plays, they are tough defensively, fundamentally sound, and bring it every night. Even so, it's even harder to not like the young, dynamic UConn combo of Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles in Connecticut. Big things are in store for those two.

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