WNBA.com Power Rankings:
August 21, 2007
SECAUCUS, N.J. — Like every Tuesday during the season, it's time
for the latest edition of the WNBA.com editorial staff's Power Rankings. The
regular season is over, so this will be the final rankings before the playoffs
tip off on Thursday. The East and West's top seeds, not surprisingly, take the
top spots, while Indiana takes two steps up despite the lingering injury questions
about Tamika Catchings. Take a look at our
full list, and let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice.
|2007 WNBA.com POWER
RANKINGS: Week 14
TEAM (last week)
||The defending champs finished off the regular
season with a three-loss week and will head into the playoffs on a somewhat
sour note with injury questions about forwards Cheryl Ford (knee) and Swin
Cash (back). But the Shock were so far ahead of their competitors coming
into the final week, that no one could catch them. They've been the most
consistently good team all year long, and if they get their stars back,
they're a solid bet to return to the Finals.
First-round playoff opponent: New York
||Winners of five straight and
11 of their last 12, the Mercury are on a roll. Whether it's Diana Taurasi,
Penny Taylor or Cappie Pondexter leading the way on a given night, they're
putting a ton of points on the scoreboard and led the league in average
scoring by a wide margin. Their up-tempo style not only gets them a lot
of points, but it tires out their opponents and forces them into bad shots.
If their outside shooting is on, watch out for them in the postseason.
First-round playoff opponent: Seattle
||The Silver Stars lost their last three games,
including an 81-55 laugher on Sunday to the Lynx (after already locking
up the No. 2 spot in the West) in which coach Dan Hughes utilized exactly
one player off the bench... the entire game. All of the starters sat out,
but you can bet Becky Hammon, Sophia Young and crew will be raring to go
in their playoff opener on Thursday.
First-round playoff opponent: Sacramento
||Though their last several games
didn't mean much, the Fever ended on a strong note, winning four of their
last six, all without superstar forward Tamika Catchings. Meanwhile, Tan
White has developed into a legit starter and scorer and Tamika Whitmore
has been producing a lot off the bench. The return of Catchings would obviously
boost their title hopes, but this is a solid group without her.
First-round playoff opponent: Connecticut
||The Sun had a chance to move up to the second
spot in the East in the final week, but Friday's loss to New York kept them
third. Still, Connecticut has been one of the second half's top squads.
Katie Douglas has been stellar at both ends of the court and Lindsay Whalen
is one of the grittiest performers in the league. Nykesha Sales is also
healthy heading into the playoffs and could provide some additional scoring
against the Fever, against whom the Sun are 4-0 this year.
First-round playoff opponent: Indiana
||The Monarchs have been hampered
by several late-season injuries to veterans Yolanda Griffith and Ticha Penicheiro,
though both should be on the court for their playoff opener. The slightly
dinged up Rebekkah Brunson, Nicole Powell and Kara Lawson, the team's three
leading scorers, will need to continue to produce on the offensive end.
But this team's strength is its defense, which always makes Sacramento a
tough playoff opponent.
First-round playoff opponent: San Antonio
||Seattle has managed to underachieve for much
of the regular season but seems to be entering the playoffs on a positive
note. Though Janell Burse is out for the year, Sue Bird and Betty Lennox
seem to be healthy and Lauren Jackson is... well... amazing. She alone makes
the Storm a dangerous team in the playoffs. And against an up-tempo, less
than stellar defensive side like Phoenix in the first round, LJ could go
First-round playoff opponent: Phoenix
||Three straight wins to end the
season, including Sunday's comeback victory over the pesky Sky, catapulted
the Liberty into the postseason. Janel McCarville continued to make her
case for Most Improved Player, while Shameka Christon, Cathrine Kraayeveld
and Loree Moore also came up big. Though most pundits don't give New York
a chance in their first-round playoff matchup against Detroit, they've split
the regular season series with the Shock.
First-round playoff opponent: Detroit
||Monique Currie made a near-miraculous shot to
lead the Mystics past the Sun on Sunday, but her team's playoff dreams were
shattered when New York won later that afternoon. Still, Washington fans
have to be delighted with the second-half performance of their team under
still-interim coach Tree Rollins. They rebounded from an 0-8 start to go
16-10 the rest of the way and Alana Beard earned her second Player of the
Week award of the season on Monday.
||The Sky's lone loss of the final
week came in New York to a revved-up Liberty squad. Despite narrowly missing
out on a playoff spot, Bo Overton deserves a ton of credit for Chicago having
overachieved this season. And with another top draft pick in the offing,
they will likely be even better next year, especially with up-and-coming
stars Candice Dupree and Rookie of the Year candidate Armintie Price a year
older and more experienced.
||Another team that made an impressive turnaround
after a rough start, the Comets were in the playoff race until the final
week. Tina Thompson had yet another remarkable season and first-year coach
Karleen Thompson is no doubt looking forward to year two after keeping her
players motivated and focused after losing their first 10 games.
||Long the No. 13 team in this
list, the Lynx move out of the basement based on youth, energy and excitement.
Seimone Augustus followed up her 2006 Rookie of the Year campaign with an
even better sophomore season. And with point guard Lindsey Harding likely
coming back next year and the vast improvements in the second half of fellow
rookies Noelle Quinn and Shay Murphy, Minnesota is building an exciting
||The Sparks sputtered to the end of the 2007,
losing their last three, eight of their last nine and 18 of their last 21.
The early loss of Chamique Holdsclaw really hurt as did the maternity leave
of Lisa Leslie, and point guard Temeka Johnson played only 11 games all
year. On the positive side, though, Sherill Baker was solid after her trade
from New York, veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin had another All-Star season
and rookies Sidney Spencer and Marta Fernandez should be valuable assets
for years to come.