WNBA Rookie Report
By Cayla McMorris
Rookie of the week: A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
The 6-foot-4 star from South Carolina is not only leading all rookies in scoring, but her team as well at 21.1 points per game. Aside from points, Wilson also leads the rookies in rebounding at 7.7 per game. Wilson’s performance on Tuesday night against the Fever may have ended the Rookie of the Year debate. She dominated with 35 points, shooting 66-percent from the field, while also grabbing 13 rebounds in a 101-92 overtime victory. She scored 17 of her 35 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and is only the second WNBA rookie to ever net 35 points in a game (Candace Parker is the other).
Wilson is the face of the Aces. Although they have only won three games, her dominance continues to give the Aces a chance to win. She has proven her leadership ability by adapting to what some may call a “veteran role”, the leading scorer, which is helping the people around her. If Wilson continues to be this productive, the Aces, who are on a two-game winning streak, still have time to get things turned around.
Who’s having success?
Kelsey Mitchell continues to put up numbers for her winless Fever team and is their leading scorer at 19.1 points per game. From the first game where she only scored 5 points in 14 minutes, she has now scored in double figures every game as her minutes began to increase. Mitchell should definitely be a candidate for ROY, but it will be hard since her team has yet to win a game. Ariel Atkins has stepped up not only in the minutes column but in the scoring column as well. The 5-foot-11 guard from Texas is currently the third-leading scorer on the Mystics at 11.2 points per game, behind veteran stars Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver.
Who’s still figuring things out?
There is no question that Diamond DeShields should be up for ROY, but her inconsistency may be a factor. DeShields started off hot with nearly a 20-point performance in her season debut but after that she scored only 8 and 9 points in the Sky’s next two games. After those two games, she scored in double figures twice but went back into a slump scoring only 5 and 4 points the following two contest. She just put up 22 points in a loss against the Storm. Hopefully DeShields has found her rhythm again and will build off this performance. The Liberty’s Kia Nurse is another rookie who is struggling with consistent production. Ever since her 34-point performance on June 2, Nurse’s scoring has dropped significantly. In her most recent game against the Aces, she only scored 3 points and shot 14 percent from the field. The Mystics Myisha Hines-Allen went on a tiny spurt recording back-to-back double-doubles against the Lynx and Storm in May, but since then her numbers have declined in both areas. Part of it may be due to her shortened minutes but for a rookie she is still averaging a decent amount of playing time. For Hines-Allen, she is going to have to stay aggressive on both ends of the floor like she did during the Lynx and Storm games.
Forward Teana Muldrow was recently signed by the Wings.