WNBA

WNBA Power Rankings: Clogged Standings

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Everyone is looking a little fresher after a long break and the league is starting to fully settle into place. As teams cross the two-third mark of the season, questions are starting to be answered.

Let’s get started.

12. Atlanta Dream (6-17)

Last Week: Lost/OT to Los Angeles Sparks 85-80, Lost to Los Angeles Sparks 66-64, Lost to Phoenix Mercury 84-69

This Week: 8/24 vs. Chicago Sky, 8/26 vs. Las Vegas Aces

When the only direction a team continues to have is a downward spiral, the bottom of the rankings is the only place for them. Losers of eight in a row, the Dream are limping to the finish line. Chennedy Carter is neither back with the team nor on the move. Courtney Williams was only able to get on track in one of the three games last week and it showed in their production as a team. The Fever were able to pick up a win this week (more on that shortly), leaving the Dream only one game out of the worst record in the league.

11. Indiana Fever (5-18)

Last Week: Lost to Phoenix Mercury 84-80, Beat Dallas Wings 83-81

This Week: 8/28 vs. Las Vegas Aces

While the wins are still hard for the Fever to come by, Indiana has established a firmer direction than their bottom-dwelling counterpart. Their games are rarely fun but they are bruising, relying on Danielle Robinson and Kelsey Mitchell to put them over the top. Adding a slightly enjoyable element, Emma Cannon had herself a game this week against the Dallas Wings. After only appearing in 35 games from 2011 to 2020, Cannon is getting a chance to show something on her third team this season. In her first career start, she dropped 16 points on 7-9 shooting. If nothing else comes from the season, that will be a night she always remembers.

https://twitter.com/IndianaFever/status/1428913980681117700

10. Dallas Wings (10-14)

Last Week: Beat Chicago Sky 80-76, Lost to Indiana Fever 83-81

Next Week: 8/26 at Washington Mystics, 8/28 at Washington Mystics

Consistently inconsistent, the Wings were able to bring home a hard-fought victory over the Sky before falling at home to the Fever. It is the kind of week that has frustrated Wings fans all season. There are moments when Isabelle Harrison and Allisha Gray seem on the precipice of helping Kayla Thornton build a solid defensive unit. Other nights, they cannot seem to find a way to share the court as coach Vickie Johnson continues to come up with lineups as if she is playing Yahtzee. After putting together their 10th starting lineup of the season this week, it is anyone’s guess what the Wings bring to the court for back-to-back games against the Mystics.

9. Washington Mystics (8-14)

Last Week: Lost to Las Vegas Aces 93-83, Lost to Phoenix Mercury 77-64. Lost to Seattle Storm 85-78

Next Week: 8/24 vs. Los Angeles Sparks, 8/26 vs. Dallas Wings, 8/28 vs. Dallas Wings

The Mystics have not come out of the break strong, dropping every game so far. Admittedly, a slate featuring the Aces, Mercury and Storm is no easy task, but this past week was a missed opportunity to entrench themselves in the playoff race. Luckily, they face an easier slate this week and they have Elena Delle Donne back on the court. In her first game since the 2019 Finals, Delle Donne played 22 minutes and posted a line of 16 points and three rebounds. Her health, as well as that of the newly injured Tina Charles, will be essential to see just what the Mystics can do down the stretch.

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1429522272428204043

8. Los Angeles Sparks (10-13)

Last Week: Beat/OT Atlanta Dream 85-80, Beat Atlanta Dream 66-64, Beat New York Liberty 86-83

This Week: 8/24 at Washington Mystics, 8/26 at Connecticut Sun, 8/28 at Connecticut Sun

Do not look now, but the Sparks of Los Angeles are on a roll. The games are likely to give their fans indigestion, but four wins in a row have the Sparks in prime position to make a run at the postseason. Since Nneka Ogwumike has returned to the court, the Sparks have not dropped a game (though they have won the four games by a combined 15 points). Derek Fisher has them playing sound defense, making up for their unreliable offensive output.  This week is likely to be tougher, continuing their lengthy road trip visiting the Mystics and Sun twice. If they can sneak one win out of those three games, they will remain right in the hunt.

7. New York Liberty (11-14)

Last Week: Beat Seattle Storm 83-79, Lost to Seattle Storm 99-83, Lost to Los Angeles Sparks 86-83

Next Week: 8/25 vs. Phoenix Mercury, 8/27 vs. Phoenix Mercury

It was expected with health the Liberty would find themselves as a true contender. They looked impressive early in the season and finally had Natasha Howard back in the fold. Unfortunately, so far, they have only been able to get one win since the break. That lone victory came against a Storm team resting Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart. Now dealing with an injury to Sami Whitcomb, the Liberty may not ever be able to reach their ceiling this season. Even Michaela Onyenwere, the presumptive Rookie of the Year, has cooled off in the back end of the season. Over the last three games, she has scored just 14 points.

6. Chicago Sky (11-12)

Last Week: Lost to Dallas Wings 80-76, Lost to Minnesota Lynx 101-95

This Week: 8/24 at Atlanta Dream, 8/27 at Seattle Storm, 8/29 at Seattle Storm

Thought of by some hopeful fans as a contender for the championship, each passing week makes it tougher to believe in the Sky. Against the Wings, Candace Parker and Kahleah Copper tweaked their ankles. Copper was able to come back but the dip in production was enough for the Wings to scrape by with a victory. Parker missed the following game against the Lynx and the team took another loss. At some point, it is going to become apparent that if Parker is essential even for regular-season success and her health has been this complicated this year, it may just not be their year.

5. Phoenix Mercury (13-10)

Last Week: Beat Indiana Fever 84-80, Beat Washington Mystics 77-64, Beat Atlanta Dream 84-69

This Week: 8/25 at New York Liberty, 8/27 at New York Liberty

With Diana Taurasi officially back on the floor, the Mercury are starting to find their stride. Winners of four in a row and seven of their last 10, Phoenix is only a game behind the Lynx for a top-four seed. Skylar Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner are steering the ship, but the emergence of Brianna Turner takes the team a step further. For the second consecutive season, she has paired perfectly with Griner, seemingly rebounding everything the Olympian does not nab. With two games against the Liberty this week, Diggins-Smith will get a chance to put another nail in the coffin of a team she mocked on social media a few months ago.

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1404572828259676160

4. Minnesota Lynx (14-9)

Last Week: Los to Connecticut Sun 72-60, Lost to Connecticut Sun 82-71, Beat Chicago Sky 101-95

This Week: 8/24 vs. Seattle Storm

Sometimes a lesson can only be learned through experience. It became abundantly clear for the Lynx this week that while they may hope to play spoiler for the Storm and Aces, avoiding the Sun will be paramount to any success they hope to have in the playoffs. In the first game of the week, Napheesa Collier was held to just six points. In the second, she had 11 points but needed 15 shots to get there. The apparently ageless Sylvia Fowles remains astounding but needs help to outlast the top teams in the league. Aerial Powers returned against the Sky, so perhaps help may be on the way.

3. Las Vegas Aces (17-6)

Last Week: Beat Washington Mystics 93-83

Next Week: 8/24 at Connecticut Sun, 8/26 at Atlanta Dream, 8/28 at Indiana Fever

Delineating between the top three teams in the league at this point is nearly impossible. The Aces and Sun have the best record in the league. For their part, the Storm have one more win in two more played games. For now, the Aces are more of a 1c than a third-place team. They only played one game this week and handled their business against the Mystics. This week brings a showdown with the Sun, giving them a chance to make a statement. The Aces are 0-2 against Connecticut so far this year, so a win would be a nice confidence boost.

2. Seattle Storm (18-7)

Last Week: Lost to New York Liberty 83-79, Beat New York Liberty 99-83, Beat Washington Mystics 85-78

This Week: 8/24 at Minnesota Lynx, 8/27 vs. Chicago Sky, 8/29 vs. Chicago Sky

Much like the end of last season, the Storm know they have nothing to prove. As long as they finish with one of the top two seeds and avoid a single-elimination game it will be hard to pick against them coming away with another trophy. Losers of two games without Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, the Storm bounced back with their leaders back on the floor. While going through the motions, Jewel Loyd, Ezi Magbegor and Mercedes Russell have taken turns impressing. They were able to add Karlie Samuelson to the fold to play alongside her sister, perhaps adding the finishing touches on the road to another championship.

https://twitter.com/espn/status/1427774856121229314

1. Connecticut Sun (17-6)

Last Week: Beat Minnesota Lynx 72-60, Beat Minnesota Lynx 82-71

This Week: 8/24 vs. Las Vegas Aces, 8/26 vs. Los Angeles Sparks, 8/28 vs. Los Angeles Sparks

In a world where the Commissioner’s Cup does not exist (i.e., the league standings), the Sun remain an irresistible force. They have won five games in a row and nine out of 10. This week they brutalized the Lynx, who fancy themselves on the same level of title contention. Facing down the Aces this week, the potential to sweep their rival for the number one seed is enticing. Jonquel Jones (20.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per game) is starting to put some distance between herself and the rest of the pack for the MVP award. This could be the defining moment.

About Corey Rausch

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