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2022 WNBA ROY Power Rankings Week Three: Rhyne Howard has Competition

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It is hard to believe the 2022 WNBA season has already finished its third week. As teams adjust to rookie play, and rookies adjust to WNBA play, the 2022 WNBA ROY power rankings will shift. Competition for the 2022 WNBA ROY is heating up and the league is on notice. One constant so far, these rookies are a delight to watch. Even though the past week had its ups and downs for some rookies, overall these WNBA ballers showed up and showed out.

RHYNE HOWARD

Although the third week of the season was a tough one for Rhyne Howard, she leads the 2022 WNBA ROY power rankings once again. The Washington Mystics game was one Howard most likely wants to forget. She bounced back, however, with a strong showing against the Phoenix Mercury. Atlanta has a 5-3 record thanks to Howard’s 16.9 PPG (10th) and 23 three-pointers made (2nd). The Dream have three games this week so expect Howard to adjust to increased defensive attention and put the last two games in her rearview.

NALYSSA SMITH

After missing four games, NaLyssa Smith returned on Sunday, and picked up right where she left off. In her first game back, Smith had 17 points and five rebounds, as the Indiana Fever beat the Los Angeles Sparks. Smith is averaging 13.7 PPG, 9.2 RPG, in 30.1 MPG. If anyone is going to challenge Howard for 2022 WNBA ROY, it will be Smith. Her game is veteran status in almost every category. Smith definitely needs to improve her free throw percentage but she has the ability to dominate a game with very little fuss. Hence Smith moves from fifth last week to the number two spot this week.

SHAKIRA AUSTIN

With Smith back in the lineup for Indiana, Shakira Austin moves from second to third in the 2022 WNBA ROY power rankings this week. Austin is such an intriguing player to watch on so many levels. On any other team, she would probably be the front runner for 2022 WNBA ROY honors. Her shooting percentage of 62.7% is on fire. She is at 9.6 PPG and 5.9 RPG playing only 21.0 MPG. If Austin can find more minutes in the Mystics’ rotation, it may be a very tight three-way race for 2022 WNBA ROY.

QUEEN EGBO

Another player dropping because of Smith’s return, Queen Egbo lands at the four spot this week. Egbo continues to play consistently every game. She stepped up in Smith’s absence but Egbo shines brighter when Smith is on the floor with her. In 10 games, she has averaged 7.2 PPG and 7.1 RPG. Egbo is also ninth in the league at 1.3 BPG. Consistency is the name of Egbo’s game and she is a valued part of the Fever’s improved winning ways.

REBEKAH GARDNER

Settling in at the fifth spot of the 2022 WNBA ROY power rankings, Rebekah Gardner continues to play valuable minutes for the Sky. Gardner is all over the court and a very disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball. Her contributions may not pad a stat sheet but they are a much welcome addition as the Sky look to repeat as WNBA champions. Gardner averages 9.2 PPG while shooting 56.8% from the field. She may be a long shot at winning the 2022 WNBA ROY but Gardner deserves to be in the conversation.

OTHER NOTEWORTHY ROOKIES

There are a few other rookies that deserve mention in the 2022 WNBA ROY power rankings this week. Although Olivia Nelson-Ododa shows big time promise, she is not getting enough minutes for the Sparks. Maybe she still has some issues with her hip injury. Perhaps this week her minutes will improve and she will be able to properly showcase her WNBA talent.

Another rookie that deserves mention this week is Kristy Wallace of the Dream. She had a team high 17 point performance against the Mercury on Sunday, helping lead the Dream to another victory. Wallace is playing 27.1 MPG for Atlanta, finding ways to make an impact on a very talented backcourt roster.

Finally, Destanni Henderson is on fire for the Fever when given more minutes on the court. A new coach debuted for Indiana, so it will be interesting to see if Henny is utilized more effectively in the rotation. She is an extremely talented player and helps make the Fever offense run smoothly. The Fever are a better team when Henny plays significant minutes.

There are a lot of games on this week so make sure to tune in to all the amazing 2022 WNBA rookie talent. May all the rookies have their best plays and their best days as the WNBA ends May on a bang and welcomes in June with a winning mood.

About Sharon Ostrom

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