WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week 6
TEAM (last week)
||The Fever narrowly hang onto the No. 1 position
after a 1-1 week. They fell Friday to the up-and-down Sun but looked impressive
in pasting the Liberty in New York on Sunday. Everyone knows what a great
defensive player Tamika Catchings is, but the rest of the team isn't too
shabby either: they're allowing the fewest points per game in the league
||The Shock are scoring the second
most points per game in the league and are getting contributions from different
probable All-Stars (Katie Smith, Swin Cash, Deanna Nolan, etc.) every night.
The two major reasons they're No. 2 are Saturday's loss to Sacramento and
the continuing health problems of Cheryl Ford, who has missed four of the
last five games with a sprained left knee.
||The cream of the Western crop to this point,
the Monarchs continue to win. They topped the Ford-less Shock on Saturday
and won a low-scoring battle in Chicago on Tuesday, sandwiching an incredible
double-OT loss to the Sparks on Friday. Like Detroit, Sacramento is getting
offensive contributions from a multitude of players: they've had seven different
leading scorers in their 13 games.
||No ifs, ands or buts: the Silver
Stars are the hottest team in the league. Western Conference Player of the
Week Becky Hammon has taken this team on her shoulders despite the absence
of coach Dan Hughes and led them to four straight victories, including two
against her former Liberty teammates.
||The Mercury went 1-2 this week, losing by three
to the defending champion Shock and by five in a shootout against the Mystics.
Their win came against Houston on Sunday as Penny Taylor went off for 30.
The impressive thing? It was all done without Cappie Pondexter, who has
missed the last three games with a strained groin. Diana Taurasi also missed
Sunday's tilt after earning a two-game suspension. Imagine how good they
can be with everyone in the lineup and hitting on all cylinders.
||The Storm managed to get a two-spot
bump despite going 1-2. How? Depth. On a team that calls Lauren Jackson
its star -- it's for good reason: she put up 35 and 10 in Sunday's win over
L.A. -- Sue Bird and Janell Burse each had big games this week. All three
could be headed to the All-Star Game in Washington D.C. and it's the range
of scoring options that puts Seattle where they are this week.
||Since their 5-0 start, the Liberty have quite
simply looked like a different team. There are still spurts where their
shots are falling, their rookies look like they're coming around and everything
Patty Coyle touches turns to gold. But it's been happening a lot less of
late. There is a lot of depth and promise on this team, but guard Erin Thorn
will miss this week's entire road trip with a sprained ankle. Shameka Christon
also missed Sunday's sloppy loss to Indiana with a stomach virus.
||Having lost four of their last
five, the Sparks seem to be feeling the effects of being without arguably
their top three players from last year: Lisa Leslie (pregnancy), Chamique
Holdsclaw (retirement) and Temeka Johnson (still recovering from knee surgery).
Johnson's return is still slotted for the next few weeks, so that will help.
Still, coach Michael Cooper is rumored to be considering some changes in
the starting lineup, possibly adding recent pickup Sherill Baker and rookie
Sidney Spencer to the mix.
||There's no reason for disappointment in Chicago.
The Sky have already won more games than all of last season. But they've
fallen back below the .500 mark with their two losses last week and a trip
to the rough and tumble West is on the horizon for this week. Candice Dupree
has continued her amazing progress from her rookie year and remains one
of the top candidates for an All-Star spot. Chasity Melvin has taken over
the starting center role and has played well as one of the team's elder
stateswomen. The other veteran, Dominique Canty, sprained her ankle over
the weekend and will likely miss some time.
||The Sun continue to struggle
after it looked like they might turn it all around two weeks ago. They had
lost five straight before they pulled out an improbable win on Friday at
Indiana against the Fever, as Katie Douglas dropped 30. The next day, though,
it was back to the dark side as they fell to the Silver Stars by 13. Regular
All-Star Nykesha Sales missed Saturday's game with a sore ankle and Achilles'
heel, but she is expected to be back on the court soon.
||Respectability is something we all strive for,
and the Lynx have achieved it. They're not in the playoff race in the West
nor are they likely to get there this season, but there are plenty of positives
to draw on. Seimone Augustus is a gotta-be All-Star and is second in the
league in scoring. Nicole Ohlde is becoming more of a reliable presence
in the post. Rookie Lindsay Harding could be in line for some postseason
||Respectability is something
we all strive for, and the Mystics are close to achieving it. Having won
in both Phoenix and Chicago this past week, they've crept within three games
of a playoff spot in the East. Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones have
both been impressive of late and Monique Currie is starting to make a tangible
||It doesn't feel right leaving the Comets at the
bottom after they earned two straight wins this past week. But they still
have the worst record in the league. Crystal Smith and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba
seem to be forming a solid pairing in the backcourt, they still have Tina
Thompson and Michelle Snow up front and rookie Ashley Shields is even showing
signs of a resurgence.