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July 9, 2007 at 9:12 AM

Midseason awards

Man, just lost the first version on a computer crash. Anyway, I have a vote for postseason awards and here’s where I’m headed as the Storm is just a game past the midway point. Sorry if there’s no oomph, still a little bitter at having to re-type all of this. Yes, I’m hitting the “save” button more often from now on. Enjoy:
MVP: Storm F Lauren Jackson. I know there’s talk about Tamika Catchings, and she’s an incredible player who plays beautiful team ball, but Jackson is the best player in this league, period.
Defensive player: Jackson. I’ll probably switch this to Catch by season’s end, but with the way Jackson has been hustling around the court on the defensive end in the absence of Sue Bird the past two games, I want to give a little credit. But Indy worked over Seattle in June with Catch doing most of the damage. Jackson does lead the league in blocks (2.1) as well as scoring (22.6).
Rookie of the year: Los Angeles G Marta Fernandez. Her game is sweet even if it’s inconsistent at times. Shoot, she’s a newcomer. When she comes to your town, make sure you buy a ticket to the game. She’ll have you dreaming about what a power the Sparks would be if Lisa Leslie (maternity leave) and Chamique Holdsclaw (retirement) were around.
Most improved: New York is back to defeating the league’s top teams and in the middle of it all is Liberty F Cathrine Kraayeveld. She worked her tail off to come back a better player this season and it shows. I’d also like to give a nod to her teammate Janel McCarville, who still doesn’t look like a No. 1 overall draft pick, but isn’t an eyesore either. Sacramento F Rebekkah Brunson is a close second, but I definitely want to wait to see if she tapers off like others are predicting. I love watching her play and don’t expect her to, however.
Sportsmanship: No one is cooler than Catchings. She does an excellent job in representing the league and her teammates whether it’s on BET’s “Rap City: The Basement” or in union meetings.
Coach of the year: It was F Candice Dupree who said her Chicago Sky would win 20 games this season. They’re a little behind at 8-10, but coach Bo Overton has the second-year expansion team in the playoffs if the postseason were to begin today. And they should be there still when the season ends in August. A close second is Liberty coach Pat Coyle and Sacramento coach Jenny Boucek.
All-WNBA first team: I’m cheating and putting Jackson at center to have Catchings and Dupree surround her in the frontcourt. In the backcourt I’ve got Detroit guards Deanna Nolan and Katie Smith. I love Phoenix G Diana Taurasi, but I need someone to run my team and no one is better than Smith right now, except for maybe San Antonio G Becky Hammon.
All-rookie first team: I’ve got guards Fernandez and Lindsey Harding (Minnesota), with San Antonio F Camille Little, Storm F Katie Gearlds and New York C Jessica Davenport up front.
Well, that’s it. It’s been an interesting first half, so I can’t wait to see what the final dash brings. But tell me what you think, especially those on the “Catchings for MVP” campaign. I hate that she’s always a runner-up, so give me some pitches to change my mind.



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