SI's WNBA All-Decade Team: First and Second Team

SI's WNBA All-Decade Team: First and Second Team

With the 2010s coming to a close, we take a look at the 10 players that have shaped the WNBA over the past decade and reflect on their impact.
September 27, 2019

Gathering an initial list of candidates for the WNBA’s all-decade team was very easy. By looking at the players who were named first-team All-WNBA and had won at least one championship and an MVP award, a group of 14 players clearly stood out from the rest. Making those last few cuts, however, was really hard, especially since the majority of these players are versatile forwards who can impact the game in so many ways. In the end, Angel McCoughtry, Nneka Ogwumike, Breanna Stewart and Lindsay Whalen were left off the list. Provided Stewart recovers completely from her Achilles injury, she’ll dominate the WNBA over the next decade. So who did make the cut? Let's dive into the figures that helped shape the WNBA over the past 10 years.

First Team

Age: 36  | Championships this decade: 1 (2014, Finals MVP)

It might be easier to count the records Taurasi doesn’t hold. For starters, she’s the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer with 8,549 points, and has the most made field goals (2,721) and three-pointers (1,102). She set the WNBA and NBA record for most points scored in a single game without a two-point field goal attempt (28 on June 17, 2018 at Las Vegas), a mark previously held by Robert Horry (27 points). In 2015, she led the league in assists (5.6) to become the first player in WNBA history to lead the league in scoring and assists for a season in her career. She’s the Mercury’s all-time franchise leader in 16 categories and was named one of the 20 greatest players in WNBA history during the league’s 20th anniversary in 2016. Even though Taurasi missed this season to recover from back surgery, she was still named one of the league’s funniest players

Age: 38 | Championships this decade: 2 (2018, 2010)

Another player who missed the 2018 season (due to knee surgery), Bird has been one of the best players in the league for her entire career. The career leader in starts, with 508, Bird has never once come off the bench. On Aug. 1, 2017 she passed Ticha Penicheiro (2,599) to become the all-time assist leader; she had 2,831 heading into this season. In 2018, her greatness was on full display. Bird, who as playing in a facemask because of a broken nose (the fifth such injury of her career), took complete control of the Game 5 showdown against the Mercury and scored 14 points (of her 22) in the fourth quarter to beat Taurasi and Phoenix, 94–84. (That was the only elimination game, in 14 tries, that DT has ever lost.)

Age: 30 | Championships this decade: 4 (2017, 2015, 2013, 2011) 

Maya Moore just wins. She was the centerpiece of a Lynx team that absolutely dominated the last decade, appearing in the Finals six times and winning four titles. She was rookie of the year in 2011, Finals MVP in 2013 and league MVP in 2014. In the eight seasons she played for the Lynx, the team had a regular-season winning percentage of 73.5 (200-72). Fans were shocked when she stepped away from the WNBA this year to work on social justice reform, and her latest Facebook video doesn’t offer much hope that she’s coming back soon. Nevertheless, the excellence she displayed from the first season she turned pro earns her a place on the first team.

Age: 33 | Championships this decade: 1

There was a time when it seemed like Candace Parker might be saddled with the best-player-to-have-never-won-a-title label forever. But then came the 2016 Finals against the Lynx. Parker had 28 points and 12 rebounds in the decisive Game 5, which was played in Minnesota. She earned Finals MVP honors and her unforgettable, emotional postgame interview left no doubt about how much the title meant to her. Parker was one of the first forwards to play all five positions, and her versatility inspired a wave of mobile post players. She has averaged 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds for her career. 

Age: 33 | Championships this decade: 2

Big Syl deserves more pub. Her talent has been overshadowed by the presence of Moore, even though Fowles’s contributions have been just as critical to Minnesota’s dynasty. Fowles took a bit of a PR hit back in 2015 for sitting out the first half of that season and forcing the Sky to trade her to the Lynx, but the move was unquestionably a good one for her. She led Minnesota to the championship in 2015 and 2017, and was named Finals MVP each time. A three-time league defensive player of the year, Fowles also holds the WNBA career record for field goal percentage (59.0). In playoff games, she has averaged 15.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and shot 58.9% from the floor. When she retires, she plans to become a mortician.


Second Team

Age: 35 | Championships this decade: 4

The soft-spoken guard has been in the spotlight for a long time. In 1999, when she was in ninth grade, Augustus appeared on the cover of SI for Women with the headline, Is She the Next Michael Jordan? She was drafted by the Lynx in 2006, and led the team to its first title, in 2011. Five years later, she was named one of the 20 best WNBA players of all time. 

Age: 30 | Championships this decade: 0

It was hard not to put Delle Donne on the first team, but she’s only played six seasons and has yet to win a championship—though that may be coming very soon. The newly minted MVP is having a career season, becoming the first WNBA player in the 50-40-90 club. In addition to averaging 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds this year, she hit 53.5% from the field, 43.0% from three and an astonishing 97.4% from the free-throw line. She missed just three shots from the charity stripe (out of 117) in 2019. 

Age: 40 | Championships this decade: 1

When she retired after the 2016 season, Catchings was universally lauded as one of the best to ever play the game. She was No. 1 in regular-season rebounds (3,316), free throws (2,004) and steals (1,074) and No. 2 in points (7,380). In addition, she was the postseason leader in nearly every category, from points to minutes played to games started. For all that she did on the court, she was perhaps more admired for her charitable efforts off of it, twice being honored with the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

Age: 30 | Championships this decade: 0

Though she’s been named to the All-WNBA first team in five of her nine seasons and was the league MVP in 2012, Charles has been stuck on the struggling Liberty and has had only limited postseason success. But there’s no question she’s one of the best rebounders to ever play the game. Her career average of 10.0 rebounds per game is the best in WNBA history and her scoring average of 18.1 ranks her eighth all time. She has 141 double doubles, second only to Lisa Leslie’s 157, and she has led the league in rebounding four times.  

Age: 28 | Championships this decade: 1

While she may be known as a defensive specialist, Griner led the league in scoring this season with 20.7 points. But the reality is, every WNBA player has learned it’s a bad idea to try to come into the paint against Phoenix. She has led the league in blocks in all six of her WNBA seasons, and holds the regular-season records for blocks in a single game (11), blocks in a season (129, 2014), single-season blocks average (4.04, 2015) and career blocks average (3.17).