WNBA Power Rankings: Sun surge back into No. 1 spot; Mercury's Kahleah Copper continues brilliant season


Kahleah Copper was drafted in 2016 and played in 254 games entering this season, scoring 30 points in just one of them. Through 21 games this summer, she’s reached the 30-point mark six times, the latest a stunning 34-point effort in a win over the Dallas Wings. 

Copper is tied for the lead league in 30-point games with Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson, and she’s on pace to match Maya Moore and Jewell Loyd’s all-time record of 12 such games in a season. At the very least, the Mercury’s franchise record of 10 games, set by Diana Taurasi in 2008, appears to be in danger. 

New Mercury coach Nate Tibbett’s five-out system is a perfect fit for Copper, who is one of the most athletic players in the league and an elite downhill driver. She is nearly impossible to stay in front of one-on-one, and when she gets past her defender the opponents often have no one in the paint to protect the rim. 

During Copper’s big night against the Wings, nine of her 14 makes came in the restricted area. That continued a trend in which Copper is dominating at the basket. There are 12 players taking at least six shots per game inside of five feet this season. Copper, despite being a 6-foot-1 wing, has been the fifth-most efficient at 61.6%. She’s also one of eight players with at least 200 points in the paint. 

For the season, Copper is averaging a career-high 22.5 points, which is good for third in the league. The Mercury have been inconsistent, but they’re 11-10 and well on their way to a playoff return. That’s thanks in large part to Copper, who has been one of the most electric players to watch. 

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