Diana Taurasi, last season's MVP, started the season off slow with 13- and 14-point performances in her first two games. She busted out with 35 points in her next game against Tulsa and hasn't slowed down. She has scored at least 30 points in seven games this season, including a 44-point outburst in a triple-overtime loss to Seattle on July 11.
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The 6-foot-1 forward Angel McCoughtry has become a bonafide scoring threat in her second season with the Dream. After only starting 10 games last year, McCoughtry has developed into the go-to scoring threat on a young Atlanta squad off to a surprising start. Her breakout game came on May 21 against conference foe Connecticut, when she scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 97-82 victory.
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Lauren Jackson has been a mark of stability in leading Seattle to an 18-2 record and 10-game lead in the Western Conference through July 19. She has bested her career averages in points, rebounds and 3-point shooting percentage. She's also shooting 93.5 percent from the free-throw line, up from her career average of 84 percent.
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Using the same mentality that earned her the 2007 WNBA Finals MVP award while with Phoenix, Cappie Pondexter has excelled in late-game situations to help keep the Liberty afloat in the East. With fewer than three minutes remaining in two separate games against Chicago, Pondexter hit jumpers to give New York the lead for good. And against Washington on July 15, Pondexter had six points late to thwart a Mystics rally.
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The former UConn standout Tina Charles barely had time to rest following another national championship season for the Huskies. But in her rookie season, Charles is playing far beyond her tenure. She broke a franchise record with 19 rebounds against Los Angeles, only to go out a week later and demolish her own record by grabbing 23 against Phoenix. Charles is trying to become the only player besides Candace Parker in 2008 to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards.
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The first pick in Chicago Sky franchise history four years ago, Candice Dupree requested a trade in the offseason. In Phoenix, as Dupree goes, so go the Mercury. In the eight games Phoenix has won, Dupree has averaged 18.3 points and 8.9 rebounds. But in 12 losing contests, her numbers have slipped to 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.
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When Washington learned in April that stellar guard Alana Beard would miss the season after undergoing ankle surgery, it wasn't expected to be a major factor in the Eastern Conference. But the Mystics are in the thick of the conference race and stood in third as of July 19. Crystal Langhorne, a third-year forward, was the biggest reason for that. In her career year, Langhorne is averaging a near double-double with 16.8 points and 9.7 rebounds.
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Hampered by ankle injuries for the first half of last season, Penny Taylor returned for the second half but was relegated to mostly bench duty and scant minutes. Displaying her versatility, Taylor had 31 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals against Atlanta on June 29.
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Continuing her surprise resurgence that started with Atlanta a year ago, 26-year-old forward Sancho Lyttle is averaging nearly 14 points per game in her sixth season in the league. She also has helped fuel the Dream's run-and-gun offense by grabbing more than 10 rebounds per game, which was tied for second in the WNBA as of July 19.
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After struggling with various injuries her first two seasons, Sylvia Fowles has finally revealed her potential in her third season with Chicago. She showcased her talents in the WNBA All-Star game on July 10, scoring 23 points, including 13 in the opening six minutes of the second half.
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