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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

May 25, 2007 at 12:44 PM

The rules

So it just clicked that you’re not in my head so you may not know where I’m coming from with some of the things I write. Well, after eight years of you repeatedly pointing this out, I’ll explain my criteria for three items that always trip folks up.
First, the “Player of the Game” tag: This is not simply the high scorer and never will be. I always aim to make this the player who makes a strong dent the moment a game is won. Against Phoenix, forward Lauren Jackson had 31 points, which is extremely impressive. But I chose Betty Lennox (22 points) because her 10 first-quarter points helped deflate the Mercury early. The points kept piling on and Jackson was able to go off because everyone else was scoring. If Lennox didn’t also have a family matter that she was dealing with, I would have actually made Janell Burse the POG because of her first-half rebounding (16) and scoring in the second quarter that truly finished off the Mercury.
Second, the midseason grading: Most believe guard Sue Bird deserves an “A” every year, which I think is hooey. Every player, to me, is on their own grading scale based on talent and expectations. Bird is All-Decade, so if her game isn’t MVP like Steve Nash and she’s not injured (or dealing with a known personal issue), I’m knocking her grade down. I don’t care that she’s Sue Bird. If Shyra Ely’s sole purpose is “team cheerleader” and I see her jumping up and down rooting the team on every night, I’m grading her high regardless of low point production (or should we say no points since she has yet to score this season?). Her “A” and Bird’s “D” would not mean that Ely is better than Bird; that’s crazy talk. It would just mean that Ely performed her role, which is based on what coach Anne Donovan says she wants from the team at the beginning of the season, better than Bird.
Last, the MVP award: Again, folks in Seattle think Lauren Jackson should be the MVP for simply stepping on the court. So far this season, I’d agree. But that’s not how I’ll judge the category in August. Along with the normal requirements (domination, lifting the team up, and showmanship) I will never vote a player MVP if their team doesn’t advance to the playoffs. There’s only one goal when the season starts, and that’s to win a championship. To me, the MVP is the player you can’t be without because they lead you to the postseason. So, yes, I didn’t vote for Jackson in 2003 and she still razzes me for it. Oh, well.
Those are my rules and I’m sticking to them.

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