Sabrina Ionescu, Sue Bird: 5 standout WNBA players from 2021 so far

WNBA

After the first two weeks of the 2021 WNBA season, there's so many talking points to take from these early games.

GiveMeSport Women has selected five players who have really stood out with their performances so far...

Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty

Sabrina Ionescu has carved her name in WNBA history after recording her first career triple-double against the Minnesota Lynx. Her phenomenal performance last week was one for the record books, as she became the youngest player ever to register such a feat.

The 23-year-old notched 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, becoming just the tenth WNBA player ever and first in New York Liberty history to register a triple-double.

This performance wasn't a one off though. The 2020 No.1 overall draft pick has been playing out of her skin this season, which is only her second year as a professional basketball player. 

Ionescu has scored the most three pointers so far this term and averages the second highest amount of assists with 7.8 per game. Only Chicago Sky's Courtney Vandersloot has averaged more with 8.5.

The Liberty are currently second in the season standings, level on points with leaders Connecticut Sun. The New York side will be more thrilled than ever over their decision to make Ionescu their No.1 pick last year.

Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm

As the reigning WNBA champions, Seattle Storm are the side to beat this season as they look to defend their crown. The Washington-based outfit are currently third in the standings after winning four of their five games played so far. Power forward Breanna Stewart has been one of their standout players so far this season, with some impressive stats to boot.

After being named the 2020 Finals MVP, Stewart is carrying her stellar form into the new term. The 26-year-old has clocked up an average of 10.8 rebounds per match as well as 24 points per 40 minutes – only Charles has averaged more points so far.

Breanna Stewart

More impressively though, the forward hasn't hesitated when it's come to helping her team out on the defence. Stewart is in the top five rankings for most blocks per game with an average of two across the five fixtures played. And for those who are into their fantasy leagues, she also tops the table with the most points accumulated so far.

The Storm will be hopeful that Stewart remains in shipshape and will no doubt be expecting the points to continue racking up.

Tina Charles, Washington Mystics

Despite playing just five games so far this season, Tina Charles has already established herself as one of the most clinical converters in the league. The centre's stats outrank even the best power forwards in the WNBA for the 2021 term, averaging 26.2 points per game. 

Her team, the Washington Mystics, are way down the table in eighth after the first five games, which highlights just how much Charles is shining on the court. However, the capital-based side powered through their most recent match against Indiana Fever, winning 85-69 on home turf. 

The 32-year-old was responsible for 35 percent of the Mystics' points against Indiana – netting 30 baskets and providing two assists. Her performance marked her third game in a row of scoring 30 points or more.

As the No.1 overall draft pick and Rookie of the Year in 2010, as well as the 2012 MVP, it's no surprise that Charles is still setting the court alight all these years later.

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm

Unsurprisingly, Sue Bird has been cooking up a storm this season, pun intended. As one of the most iconic WNBA players in history, the 40-year-old is showing that she hasn't quite finished just yet.

With four WNBA titles, 11 appearances in the WNBA All-Star Game and countless individual accolades, it's difficult to see how Bird can improve her game. Yet, she has come flying out of the blocks this season, clearly eager to clinch her fifth title with Seattle Storm.

Sue Bird

As a leading name for Seattle, the point guard boasts the third highest assists on average per game this season with 5.6. Bird has also racked up an average of 11.8 points per 40, showing how she dominates play and controls the flow of the match with ease.

In her most recent performance, a narrow 90-87 win over Connecticut Sun, Bird netted 21 points and contributed two assists, despite not even starting the match. 

A lot can be expected from the 40-year-old this season, who is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down her game.

Liz Cambage, Las Vegas Aces

Liz Cambage has been hugely influential since the 2021 season started, for her presence on and off the court.

Headlines were swarming with the news that Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller had made a disrespectful comment regarding her weight when the 2020 runners up met with Las Vegas Aces earlier this week.

Following his intolerable behaviour, Miller has been suspended for the Sun's next fixture and issued a fine of $10,000. Cambage spoke out on the issue on her Instagram and hit back at the coach's comments, radiating body positivity with every word.

"I’m weighing 235 pounds (105kg) and I’m very proud of being a big b***h, big body, big benz, baby,” the 29-year-old centre retorted. "So don’t ever try to disrespect me or another woman in the league."

As well as becoming an icon for women of all shapes and sizes, Cambage has been doing her talking on the court. She currently leads the standings for highest field goal percentage per game (66.7 percent) and has the second most amount of blocks per game (2.5) on average.

We're just two weeks into the 2021 WNBA season and so many players are already laying down the foundations of a phenomenal term. We can only hope to see even more exhilarating action on the court as the rest of the fixtures play out between now and September.

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