WNBA.com Power Rankings: May 31, 2005

A little more than a week into the WNBA season and things are already rolling... Sacramento, Houston, Indiana and Detroit are all off to hot starts and moved up in the first weekly Power Rankings report as compared to initial preseason projections. Meanwhile, others are already hovering in the middle of the pack as they develop a new team chemistry and get used to one another again.

2005 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week One
1 3-0Even without injured forward Swin Cash, who is still out recovering from her knee injury, the Shock got out to the best start in the league. Deanna Nolan is dishing out assists, Cheryl Ford is rebounding and everyone is scoring, even the rookies. But most importantly, the bench is a more comfortable and reliable option for coach Bill Laimbeer than it was a season ago.
Upcoming: vs New York, vs. Seattle
2 3-0One of the bigger questions in the offseason was if Yolanda Griffith would be traded and where she would end up. Well, the Monarchs are glad they kept her. Even with other changes to the roster, Griffith is the anchor in the middle for a team that has a great mix of size, strength and experience. They recorded wins against three conference rivals already, with all three wins coming on the road.
Upcoming: at Indiana, vs. Los Angeles
3 3-1 Sheryl Swoopes is playing like her old self, when she was the best player in the world. Hello, 25 points per game, nice to see you. But the Houston is also getting scoring from Michelle Snow and Dominique Canty with the absence of Tina Thompson, which is exactly what they needed. The Comets won their first two games, dropped their third in Seattle, but rebounded to hand the Indiana Fever their first loss of the season over the weekend in a double OT thriller.
Upcoming: vs. Phoenix, vs Minnesota
4 2-1The defending champions were embarrassed at home by the Sparks in the opener on ABC a week ago, but pulled themselves together nicely over the weekend, with wins over the Comets and the Silver Stars. Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird have each found their scoring touch, yet it is Betty Lennox who leads the team in scoring with 16.7 ppg. However, in order to succeed, the Storm must get increased productivity from their bench, something they have not gotten in their first three games.
Upcoming: at Phoenix, vs. Indiana
5 2-1After falling in their opener to Detroit, the defending Eastern Conference champs won games against the Mystics and at home against the Mercury on ABC in convincing fashion. Taj McWilliams-Franklin is putting up career number since switching to the power forward position, averaging 20.0 ppg and 8.3 apg in the early going. Margo Dydek seems to be adapting well to her new surroundings, though the offense is not there yet on a consistent basis. Once this team has a chance to get its legs under it, look out.
Upcoming: vs. San Antonio, vs. Seattle
6 3-1The Fever started out 3-0 with some impressive wins, including a decisive victory in New York. They suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Comets in a great overtime match. While Tamika Catchings is still Tamika Catchings, leading the Fever in just about every statistical category, Indiana is getting balanced scoring from all starters and even their bench. In fact, seven players are averaging 7.0 ppg or better and new guards Tully Bevilaqua and Tan White have injected a new energy into this team.
Upcoming: vs. Sacramento, at Seattle
7 2-2For fans who only saw the Sparks first game against the Storm on television last Saturday, you'd think they'd be atop the rankings. However, they have been too inconsistent and have since lost two games. The addition of Chamique Holdsclaw has been tremendous as she is averaging 20.8 ppg and 11.5 rpg, but the scoring output is not there from the backcourt in any measurable way. Lisa Leslie, Holdsclaw and Tamika Whitmore are the only players averaging double figures in scoring while the bench remains a question for first year head coach Henry Bibby.
Upcoming: vs. San Antonio, at Sacramento
8 1-2The Lynx were one of the best teams in the league prior to the Olympic break and guard Katie Smith's injury last season. With Smith back, the Lynx get back a player who is currently scoring over 18 per game and shooting just under 50 percent from beyond the arc. She netted 24 in a good win over the Sparks last weekt, but aside from Smith and Nicole Ohlde, no Minnesota player is scoring in double figures.
Upcoming: at Washington, vs. Charlotte
9 1-2No one really had any idea what to expect from Charlotte this season other than that it would take some time for all of the new faces to get acclimated to each other. After two opening losses, the Sting rebounded to knock off the visiting L.A. Sparks thanks to Sheri Sam's best game with her new team. Even Dawn Staley is getting involved in the scoring act so far. A road trip will give a clearer indication of what the Sting could be all about in 2005 and whether they have what it takes to rise above the parity.
Upcoming: at San Antonio, at Minnesota
10 1-2The Mystics won their opener against the aforementioned Sting, but have since lost two games in a row to challenging foes. Playing for a new owner in Dr. Sheila Johnson, the Mystics will want to put on a better show than they have early on. Without the team's leading scorer down the stretch in 2004, Alana Beard, the Mystics need to find scoring elsewhere. Free agent rookie Laurie Koehn is a good start, and her 11.7 ppg are leading the team and a most welcome surprise in the nation's capitol.
Upcoming: vs. New York, vs. Minnesota
11 1-3The same problem that plagued the Mercury a season ago are surfacing again early in 2005. Primarily, Diana Taurasi and Anna DeForge are being too heavily relied upon for scoring. The two are taking half of all of the shots for Phoenix. Once Penny Taylor and Kamila Vodichkova return to the lineup, they should get more productivity from their frontcourt, but the Mercury are already digging a hole that they cannot afford to fall too far into with losses in the Western Conference.
Upcoming: vs Seattle, at Houston
12 0-2Two games is a tough sample by which to judge a team, but the Liberty lost both and struggled to compete inside in both of the losses. They are being outrebounded 42-27 by the opposition so far. Center Ann Wauters is back and healthy, which is a promising sign for New York while guard Becky Hammon has picked up right where she left off. However, until the Lib win a game, they are remanded to the bottom of the tight pack.
Upcoming: at Washington, at Detroit
13 0-4It may have been to much to expect San Antonio to compete for a playoff berth this season, but you got the sense that they were putting the talent in place to improve. After four early losses and the season-ending injury to rookie forward Kendra Wecker, the Silver Stars are by no means out of the race just yet, but things need to improve in a hurry. Marie Ferdinand and LaToya Thomas need scoring help and the Silver Stars must do a better job of rebounding to turn things around.
Upcoming: vs Houston, at Detroit