WNBA ROY Ladder: A New Challenger Approaches!


The WNBA just finished up its fourth week of action, which means it’s time for a new Rookie of the Year check in. This week, number one remains the same, but the gap between first and second is the closest it has been all season. A new player has jumped into the top five, as well. Let’s take a look.

1. Michaela Onyenwere, F, New York Liberty

Season averages: 23.3 minutes, 11.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, 44/45/84.6 shooting splits

Team record: 5-4

Last week’s ranking: 1

What more can we say about Michaela at this point? The rook continues to perform well for a Liberty team that needs any positive they can find right now.

This week, Onyenwere returned to her quietly consistent ways after her 29-point outburst last week. She struggled a bit against the Aces, posting only her third sub-forty percent shooting game of the year, but returned to form against the Sun, despite the game not being close. All in all, her hold on number one remains firm.

2. Aari McDonald, G, Atlanta Dream

Season averages: 15.4 minutes, 7.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.1 blocks, 34/31/87.5 shooting splits

Team record: 4-4

Last week’s ranking: 4

No rookie has made the leap “Hash Brown” made this week. At this moment, she is closer to Onyenwere than anyone has been yet. She has shown that, when given the opportunity, she can perform at a high level. McDonald seems to have carved out a place for herself in a very crowded Dream rotation.

McDonald posted back-to-back 15-point games this week, both against Minnesota. She had shown the ability to fill up the stat sheet prior to this week, and her scoring prowess catching up was inevitable. In the first game, she knocked down four three-pointers. In game two, she only made one from deep, but got to the free throw line six times. Soon, she will be posting those numbers in the same game, and that’s when things will get “sc-Aari.”

3. Charli Collier, F/C, Dallas Wings

Season averages: 14.1 minutes, 4.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, 50/0/50 shooting splits

Team record: 3-5

Last week’s ranking: 3

Charli Collier continues to hold down the third spot. She does just enough to hold her spot, but not quite enough to move up. She produces when given the minutes, but her role fluctuates from game-to-game. Coach Vickie Johnson spoke on Collier’s minutes last week, and explained she was basing them off of matchups.

This week, Collier played 15 minutes against the Sparks, 19 minutes in game one against the Storm, then only nine minutes in game two against Seattle. She put up good numbers in those games, and has shown improvement each game. When her minutes even out, Collier will truly be able to make a push for the number one spot.

4. DiJonai Carrington, G, Connecticut Sun

Season averages: 10.4 minutes, 2.8 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, 35.5/25/50 shooting splits

Team record: 8-2

Last week’s ranking: 2

DiJonai Carrington’s ROY case continues to more about the eye test than the stats. She’s had a consistent role for the Sun from the beginning, and has played well enough to hold on to it. With the upcoming absence of Jonquel Jones, she could see a slight increase in minutes and chances.

Her offense continues to come and go, but Carrington constantly finds ways to be a positive impact player during her time on the court. That said, as other rookies find their footing her case becomes harder to sell without some consistency on offense.

5. Arella Guirantes, G, Los Angeles Sparks

Season averages: 12.1 minutes, 3.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks, 29/37.5/100 shooting splits

Team record: 4-3

Last week’s ranking: unranked

After a somewhat chaotic start to her career, Arella Guirantes is finally getting some consistent opportunities in LA. The well-rounded guard put up numbers across the board at Rutgers, and is starting to show flashes of that ability at the WNBA level.

Guirantes fits the Sparks’ defensive system well, and will be a welcomed contributor as her offense starts to flow. She was one of the nation’s best scorers and shooters in college, and the Sparks could use a bit of both. The absence of Nneka Ogwumike opens things up a bit for Guirantes, and it’s not unreasonable to expect her to climb these rankings soon.


About Richmond Bailey Caldwell

Die-hard Grizzlies fan since 2009. Aspiring basketball writer and coach. University of Georgia sport management alum. Perennial first team all-defense selection.

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