NEW YORK, July 16, 2008 — Like every week during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com Power Rankings. After a fairly clear-cut No. 1 in San Antonio, there's a logjam behind them, as Seattle, L.A. and Detroit all have their good and bad days. Meanwhile, the Liberty hold their ground with some solid victories, while the once-soaring Comets fall back to earth.
As usual, there are plenty of close calls this week,
but that's the beauty of these rankings: there's always room for discussion.
Take a look at our full list below, then let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice. Post your own Power Rankings and
discuss them with your fellow fans.
|2008 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: July 16|
TEAM (last week's ranking)
|16-7||San Antonio suffered a disappointing
loss to the Sparks on Monday that snapped the team's seven-game winning
streak, but who says back-to-backs in the WNBA are tough? The Silver Stars
returned to the court with a passion on Tuesday, stomping the Mercury in
Phoenix on Tuesday. Coach Dan Hughes can thank Western Player of the Week
Becky Hammon, whose resurgence has lifted her team back among the league's
elite, viable MVP candidate Sophia Young, who had 26 points and eight boards
in the triumph over the Mercury, and increasingly valuable pickup Ann Wauters.
Said Mercury coach Corey Gaines after the game: "That is the best team
in the WNBA right now." Couldn't have said it better myself.
Looking ahead: 7/19 vs. MIN
|14-7||You probably know that the Storm have been on
a rampage, notching six straight wins. What I'm guessing you don't know
is that their defense is allowing the fewest points per game in the entire
WNBA (69.43) and that they also boast the top scoring differential (4.28).
Sue Bird has been terrific of late and Lauren Jackson will garner some MVP
votes after her first-half performance, but LJ has left the team to train
in Australia with the national team and won't be back until after the Olympics.
So the question is how the rest of Brian Agler's roster will keep the wins
coming without its superstar.
Looking ahead: 7/18 @ IND, 7/20 @ WAS
|13-8||I know, I know... the Sparks
spanked the Silver Stars Monday night, so I must be crazy for putting them
behind them, right? Wrong. Save your breath. Despite having three Olympians
on their roster and arguably two of the best female players in history,
L.A. has been very mediocre since its hot start. Still, Candace Parker continues
to put up MVP numbers and Lisa Leslie's return from a year off is inspiring.
DeLisha Milton-Jones looks to be healthy again and Shannon Bobbitt has done
a solid job so far at the point. And the Sparks had better have a change
of clothes: their next six games are all on the road.
Looking ahead: 7/17 @ PHO, 7/19 @ HOU
|14-7||The Shock are still perfect at the Palace this
season at an unblemished 9-0. But they're far from perfect away from home,
having lost four straight. Deanna Nolan's shooting has been a bit off, but
Katie Smith's numbers have remained solid. The frontcourt combo of Cheryl
Ford, Tasha Humphrey, Plenette Pierson and Kara Braxton is a formidable
one, collectively averaging 37.0 points and 21.3 rebounds a game. The addition
of Stacey Lovelace could help as well.
Looking ahead: 7/16 vs. CHI, 7/18 @ WAS, 7/20 vs. SAC
|13-9||Number one in the land just
five weeks ago, the Sun have faltered of late, losing four straight. "Its
really frustrating," said reigning Eastern Conference Player of the
Week Lindsay Whalen, "but you cant let it bring you down or get
too discouraged. ... We have to work through this, and have confidence in
ourselves that eventually this will come back to us." Like Whalen,
forward Asjha Jones has been consistently solid, but Tamika Whitmore's contribution
has lessened since her roaring start.
Looking ahead: 7/18 @ CHI, 7/20 vs. CHI
|11-9||Tuesday's victory in Connecticut broke the Liberty's
month-long streak of alternating wins and losses and was the team's second
straight win over a huge Eastern rival. And things are looking good in the
Big Apple, where the Libs are second in the league in three-point shooting,
Shameka Christon has turned into a bona fide scorer and Janel McCarville
has continued to be a tough matchup for slower, less agile post players
down low. Coach Pat Coyle is also happy with her depth, as Lisa Willis,
Tiffany Jackson and Leilani Mitchell are all providing sizable contributions
off the bench.
Looking ahead: 7/17 vs. WAS, 7/19 vs. IND
|10-9||The Fever are renowned for their
defense which is allowing the second fewest number of points per game and
the third lowest opponent shooting percentage in the league. But Indiana's
previously post-based offense is struggling from the outside, averaging
a league-low .393 from the floor. Particularly of concern are the shooting
percentages of All-Stars Katie Douglas (.367) and Tamika Catchings (.358).
Sure, they both contribute on defense and on the boards, but if they happen
to be off on a given night, that puts more scoring pressure on Tammy Sutton-Brown,
Ebony Hoffman and Tan White. Luckily for the Fever, all three have had solid
Looking ahead: 7/16 vs. ATL, 7/18 vs. SEA, 7/19 @ NY
|10-10||After their roaring-hot start and the subsequent
decline, the Lynx have been around .500 since, going 4-4 in their last eight.
And they're either on or off regardless of the opponent, topping Los Angeles
and New York in recent weeks, while falling to Atlanta and Chicago. Seimone
Augustus is the team's most consistent scorer, rookie Candice Wiggins has
been terrific and Anna DeForge stepped up for 17 in Saturday's win over
Houston. Nicky Anosike has also been very solid down low, but she needs
more help in the paint. Similarly deficient is the point guard position,
where second-year players Noelle Quinn and Lindsey Harding are combining
for a less-than-optimal 8.2 points and 4.9 dimes in over 35 minutes of play
Looking ahead: 7/17 @ HOU, 7/19 @ SAN
|10-11||OK, so the Monarchs have only
jumped two spots after wins over the Sparks and Mercury, but things are
trending upward in California's capital. "I felt like tonight we got
back to what Monarchs basketball is all about," said coach Jenny Boucek
after the victory over L.A. Red-hot shooter Nicole Powell agreed: "We
just have to get back to being us. We know we are capable of this every
night." If that's the case, the rest of the West had better look out
in the season's second half.
Looking ahead: 7/18 vs. ATL, 7/20 @ DET
|9-12||Oh, how the defending champs have fallen. Though
they can look like world beaters on some nights, the squad's inconsistency
has brought five losses in its last six games and a last-place tie with
the Comets in the West. The Mercury are still leading the league in scoring,
but their shooting from the outside has been off of late. "There are
a lot of things we need to fix," said center Tangela Smith. "The
main thing is to stop talking about it and get it done." Diana Taurasi
agreed: "This is make or break these next couple of games, especially
before the break."
Looking ahead: 7/17 vs. LA, 7/19 vs. ATL
|9-12||The Comets looked to be on the
way up last week after moving to .500 with successive victories over Minnesota,
San Antonio (twice) and Indiana. But the last seven days haven't been kind
to the Comets, who have lost three straight away from home. Now Tina Thompson
and company are home -- where they're 6-2 so far -- for five straight heading
into the Olympic break. Despite their recent setbacks, the Comets are still
just a game and a half out of a playoff spot in the West, and with a good
mix of youth (Matee Ajavon, Erica White) and experience (Shannon Johnson,
Tamecka Dixon), they're a team to watch.
Looking ahead: 7/17 vs. MIN, 7/19 vs. LA
|8-12||The Mystics are still the league's
lowest-scoring team at 69.05 points a night, but their defense -- fourth-best
in the league, allowing just 72.9 a game -- sparked Tree Rollins' squad
to a couple of wins this past week over traditional Eastern Conference powers
Indiana and Connecticut. All-Stars Alana Beard and Taj McWilliams-Franklin
are producing as they always do, Nakia Sanford has shown some serious intensity
since getting replaced temporarily in the starting lineup by rookie Crystal
Langhorne and Nikki Blue had a career-high 13 points in Sunday's win over
Looking ahead: 7/17 @ NY, 7/18 vs. DET, 7/20 vs. SEA
|6-13||It's tough to be too upset with
the play of the Sky so far in 2008. Being without supposed rookie savior
Sylvia Fowles now for 14 games has taken its toll (the team has gone 5-9
without her). And much of Chicago's troubles have been encountered away
from home, where the Sky are just 2-7. But Candice Dupree has had another
terrific season, Jia Perkins is having a career year and Chasity Melvin
is a solid presence down low. If Armintie Price can put up more consistent
offensive numbers, the Sky could surprise some people in the second half.
Looking ahead: 7/16 @ DET, 7/18 vs. CON, 7/20 @ CON
|2-19||The Dream picked up another win last Wednesday
after earning the franchise's first on July 5, but they've since returned
to their losing ways, falling in San Antonio and Chicago. We've discussed
how the Dream don't have the reliable talent of many other teams around
the league, but they're going to battle nearly every night. And with scorers
like Betty Lennox and Ivory Latta -- not to mention promising youngsters
like Tamera Young, Katie Feenstra -- and Erika Desouza hoping to return
to the court soon, the South just might rise up again.
Looking ahead: 7/16 @ IND, 7/18 @ SAC, 7/19 @ PHO