August 19 -- Throughout the course of the WNBA season, has provided a weekly analytical ranking of all 13 teams that assesses the strengths and weakness of each team and looks ahead at upcoming games. The Olympic Power Rankings adopt that same approach, taking into account all performances and placing a greater emphasis on head-to-head matchups. Thus far, things have pretty much held form. Australia and the United States remain unbeaten while Brazil and Russia are not far behind. Only Spain has been a surprise thus far, starting out 3-0. But will it last...? 2004 OLYMPIC POWER RANKINGS: Week 1
United States
3-0 The United States has dominated its three opponents thus far with stifling defense, inside scoring and rebounding. Both the starters and the second wave off the bench have sparked demoralizing runs to put opponents away early on. All of this, and the U.S. has not even shot the ball tremendously well from 3-point range. But Katie Smith is on the mend and the Americans could be ready to take it to another level.
Upcoming: vs. Spain, vs. China
3-0 Aside from the U.S., no team is as big, as strong or as deep as the Australians. With six WNBA players, including 2003 MVP Lauren Jackson, they have outscored opponents by an average of 16.7 ppg and Jackson leads all scorers over the first three games with 24.3 ppg. Brazil could prove a challenge for Australia in the final game of the preliminary round, but all signs point to a U.S.-Australia rematch at this stage.
Upcoming: vs. Greece, vs. Brazil
3-0 Spain has been the surprise of the tournament thus far, starting off with upset victories over the Czech Republic and China. Spain has been led by Amaya Valdemoro, whose 18.0 ppg. is currently sixth among all female Olympians. A showdown with the fellow Pool B leader United States awaits on Friday, but regardless of the results, Spain is already in prime position to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Upcoming: vs. USA, vs. South Korea
2-1 The Russian women have held form thus far, beating Greece rather easily in their opener, losing to Australia in their second game, and beating Brazil in a critical contest on Wednesday. While both Russia and Brazil will likely qualify for the quarterfinals along with Australia, beating the Brazilians could ensure them the second seed. Led by longtime veteran and Liberty center Elena Baranova, both Maria Stepanova and Anna Arkhipova have also helped the Russians find success thus far.
Upcoming: vs. Japan, vs. Nigeria
2-1 Brazil looked most impressive in its opening two games, victories over Japan and Greece. However, in its first legitimate test, Brazil fell to Russia and still has Australia on the horizon. Former and perhaps future Houston Comet star Janeth Arcain has been carrying a huge load for Brazil and got little offensive support from her teammates in the loss to Russia. However, once the elimination rounds begin, Brazil is more than capable of making a medal run.
Upcoming: vs. Nigeria, vs. Australia
Czech Republic
1-2 The Czech Republic came into the Olympics with legitimate medal aspirations, but find themselves in a precarious position with two must-win games coming up. After starting 0-2, four players scored in double figures as the Czechs rebounded on Wednesday to beat China by 15 points. Think they might be re-thinking their decision not to invite Seattle's Kamila Vodichkiva? Perhaps, but the Czechs should still advance.
Upcoming: vs. South Korea, vs. New Zealand
1-2 Since China's opening game win over South Korea, not much has gone right. In the losses to Spain and the Czechs, China has been badly outrebounded and unable to score consistently on the inside. Nan Chen has been the only credible scorer for the Chinese, but the lack of a reliable second and third scorer has plagued China down the stretch. The upcoming game against New Zealand could decide whether China stays in the red of advances from Group B.
Upcoming: vs. New Zealand, vs. USA
1-2 Along with Greece, Japan is fighting for fourth place in the more difficult Group A and it could come down to the final preliminary game between the two countries on Sunday. Japan lacks the size to compete with Russia and lost badly to Brazil and Australia, the two strongest teams in the group, but did what it needed to against Nigeria.
Upcoming: vs. Russia, vs. Greece
New Zealand
1-2 The Tall Ferns got off to a tough start in losing to the United States by roughly 50 points, but they were able to rebound nicely and take out South Korea in their next game. With a win against China, New Zealand could put itself in position to clinch the fourth seed in Pool B, as their path is slightly easier than China (who still must play the U.S). Now could be a good time to mention that in te event of a tie, it comes down to head-to-head matchups and point differential.
Upcoming: vs. China, vs. Czech Republic
1-2 After dropping their opening two games to Russia and Brazil, the host nation finally gave its fans something to cheer about on Wednesday. Anastasi Kostaki scored 25 points and Evanthia Maltsi talled 24 points in an 83-68 victory over Nigeria. Greece can still qualify for the quarterfinals, but is not expected to threatan the group's top three teams.
Upcoming: vs. Australia, vs. Japan
0-3 In its three games, former Houston Comets forward Mfon Udoka has been a force for Nigeria, including 28 points and 18 rebounds in Wednesday's loss to Greece. Unforunately for the Nigerians, no other player has stepped up to provide assistance for Udoka. The Nigerians have been all but eliminated from advancing to the elimination rounds
Upcoming: vs. Brazil, vs. Russia
South Korea
0-3 Despite entering the Olympics as the No. 6 ranked team in the world by FIBA, South Korea has dropped its first three games and is in jeopardy of finishing the tournament without a win. Yeong Ok Kim has kept the Koreans in games with her 3-point shooting, but they have been overpowered inside by their opponents.
Upcoming: vs. Czech Republic, vs. Spain