Maya Moore is the easy pick for the WNBA’s top performer through the first 10 days of the season.
The honor of top team is up for debate, though it should be ironed out a bit Monday when Moore’s Minnesota Lynx visit the Chicago Sky and Elena Delle Donne in a matchup of the league’s only remaining unbeatens.
Moore set a league record with her fourth straight game of 30 points or more in Saturday’s 87-82 home win over New York. She had 30 on 11-of-19 shooting against the Liberty and is averaging a WNBA-best 33.8, including a career-high 38 Friday at Tulsa.
"It’s really kind of overwhelming," Moore said after a 5-for-8 effort from 3-point range Saturday. "I’m not really thinking too much – I’m just out there playing, worried about helping my team win."
The reigning WNBA Finals MVP extended her streak despite playing a season-low 31 minutes and suffering a first-quarter collision that left her with a cut over her right eye requiring five stitches.
"I needed an ice bag for my forehead when that happened," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. "I’m thinking, ‘How are we going to score?’"
That’s an especially pertinent question with Rebekkah Brunson, Monica Wright and Dev Peters all out for extended periods with knee injuries, though Minnesota (4-0) has gotten by. The Lynx are averaging a league-best 90.0 points even without the 23.7 the trio provided in 2013.
While Lynx guard Seimone Augustus has contributed heavily with 20.8 points through her first four contests, Moore has accounted for 37.5 percent of the team’s scoring.
"We’ve got the biggest band-aid in maybe the history of the league right now with Maya Moore," Reeve told the team’s official website.
While the Lynx have allowed 84.8 points on their early ascent to the top of the Western Conference, the Sky (4-0) have done it with defense in the East. Chicago is allowing a WNBA-low 69.3 points per game, and its 10.3 scoring margin is a league best.
Delle Donne’s 23.5 points per game have accounted for 29.6 percent of the Sky’s 79.5 points. She scored a season-high 27 in Saturday’s 87-73 home win over Atlanta, which set a franchise record for Chicago’s best start to a season.
"We’re thrilled to be 4-0 and have all W’s," Delle Donne said. "But it’s early and we have to continue to get better and improve. Even tonight there were some lapses that we can’t have."
Last season, the teams split two games with Rookie of the Year Delle Donne scoring a career-high 32 points in the first meeting, a 94-86 home overtime victory on Aug. 11. The Lynx defeated Chicago 79-66 on Sept. 14, their final regular-season contest before marching on to the WNBA title.
The Lynx and Sky met May 11 in the championship of the inaugural WNBA Preseason Tournament with Minnesota winning 79-69, though both teams spread their minutes around.