WNBA.com Power Rankings: June 30, 2009
Like every Tuesday during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com Power Rankings.
As the opening month of June passes tonight, we are about a quarter of the way through the 2009 campaign and the standings still appear upside down from a year ago. It's one thing to open up on a hot streak, but as we begin the second quarter of the season, is it safe to say that this is not a fluke, that these non-playoff teams from a year ago are for real? I believe so.
Perennial playoff teams such as Sacramento, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York not only sit at the bottom of the standings, they also fill the bottom slots of our power rankings.
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.
Note: These rankings reflect games played through June 29.
|2009 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: June 30|
|TEAM (last ranking)||W / L||NOTES|
|6-2||The hottest team in the league climbs to the top of the power rankings behind a franchise record-tying six-game winning streak. Katie Douglas has paced Indiana all season offensively, while Eastern Conference Player of the Week Tamika Catchings leads the way in just about every other category -- rebounding (6.50, 12th in WNBA), assists (3.6, 9th in WNBA) and steals (3.13, 2nd in WNBA) -- while also chipping in 14.6 points a night.
Looking back: 6/26 at NY (W, 82-81), 6/27 vs. NY (W, 63-54)
Looking ahead: 7/2 vs. CON, 7/5 vs. ATL
|6-3||The combination of a close win and a blowout loss to the Sparks drop the Storm from the top spot in the rankings, but they remain the top team in the West. Lauren Jackson had her first poor game of the season (9 pts, 3-10 FG) on Sunday, leaving the Storm without a double-figure scorer in Los Angeles. If Jackson continues to have just one poor game after eight stellar games, the Storm should be just fine moving forward.
Looking back: 6/26 vs. LA (W, 69-67), 6/28 at LA (L, 82-55)
Looking ahead: 7/1 @ PHX, 7/7 vs. SA
|6-3||I donít think Lynx fans are ready to say "Seimone who?" quite yet, but wow did Minnesota look impressive in its last two games. Led by Western Conference Player of the Week Candice Wiggins (23.5 ppg, 45.7 FG%, 4.5 apg, 4.0 rpg, and 2.5 spg), the Lynx defeated New York and Phoenix by 12 and 29 points, respectively. Can the Lynx maintain this level of play with their leader out for the year? If Wiggins can continue her recent scoring binge and role players continue to do more with increased minutes, the young Lynx will remain near the top of the power rankings and the West standings.
Looking back: 6/23 vs. NY (W, 69-57), 6/27 vs. PHX (W, 109-80)
Looking ahead: 6/30 @ ATL, 7/2 vs. SAC
|4-3||The Sun may have only played a single game in the past week, but an impressive win over Atlanta extended their winning streak to three games and pushed Mike Thibaultís squad above .500 for the first time this season. Connecticut gets the edge over Chicago for the four spot thanks to their lopsided win over the Sky in mid-June. The two teams split a home-and-home set, but the Sky won its game by three, while the Sun won theirs by 30. The Sun also lead the league in point differential (+6.57), thanks in part to the stingiest defense in the league (allowing just 67.29 ppg).
Looking back: 6/27 vs. ATL (W, 82-68)
Looking ahead: 7/2 @ IND, 7/5 @ DET
|5-3||The Sky picked up a pair of wins over Eastern Conference foes Atlanta and Washington by a combined six points. The ability to win close games has been key to the Skyís success in 2009. They are 3-0 in games decided by six points or less, after going 4-7 in such games last season. A healthy Sylvia Fowles (12.5 pts, 8.4 reb, 1.6 blk) to go along with Jia Perkins and Candice Dupree has definitely helped as well.
Looking back: 6/23 at ATL (W, 99-98), 6/27 vs. WAS (W, 68-63)
Looking ahead: 6/30 vs. SAC, 7/3 @ SA
|6-4||The Mercury padded their record with wins early in the season thanks in part to playing in the friendly confines of the U.S. Airways Center. After opening the season with six out of seven games at home, the Mercury embarked on a three-game road trip that brought mixed results: a win over then-Eastern Conference leading Washington, along with a pair of losses to Western foes San Antonio and Minnesota. DeWanna Bonner has come back to Earth a bit after her torrid start and Diana Taurasi is no longer shooting close to 50 percent from three like she was at home.
Looking back: 6/23 at SA (L, 91-87), 6/25 at WAS (W, 93-87),
6/27 at MIN (L, 109-80)
Looking ahead: 7/1 vs. SEA, 7/5 @ LA
|4-3||The Mystics dropped a pair of close games last week against Phoenix and Chicago bringing their recent stretch to three losses in four games. If the Mystics are going to snap this trend they will need to do so away from the Verizon Center as they play their next three games on the road. Alana Beard continues to pace the Mystics, but without rookie Marissa Coleman in the lineup due to injury, Washington has just one other double-figure scorer (Crystal Langhorne, 11.9 ppg) alongside her.
Looking back: 6/25 vs. PHX (L, 93-87), 6/27 at CHI (L, 68-63)
Looking ahead: 6/30 @ SA, 7/3 @ ATL
San Antonio (10)
|3-3||The return of Becky Hammon and Vickie Johnson equaled a return to the win column for the Silver Stars this past week as they picked up victories over Phoenix and Sacramento to pull them back to .500 on the season. San Antonio is in the middle of its longest homestand of the season as they welcome Washington and Chicago to the Alamo this week. The Silver Stars remain the lowest scoring team in the league (69.0 ppg) with a -3.83 point differential, but those numbers are bound to improve now that they are closer to full strength.
Looking back: 6/23 vs. PHX (W, 91-87), 6/26 vs. SAC (W, 62-52)
Looking ahead: 6/30 vs. WAS, 7/3 vs. CHI
|4-5||The Dream reached a milestone in the past week when they equaled last season's win total (four) after just eight games with Friday's win over the Shock. The win featured Chamique Holdsclaw's best game in a Dream uniform (28 pts, 10-15 FG) and a career-night for Erika de Souza (23 pts, 13 reb). However, Atlanta was unable to set a new franchise mark with a loss to the Sun on Saturday. The Dream have a pair of home games this week as they look to pick up win No. 5 and get back over .500 to compete with the best in the East.
Looking back: 6/23 vs. CHI (L, 99-98), 6/26 vs. DET (W, 96-86),
6/27 at CON (L, 68-82)
Looking ahead: 6/30 vs. MIN, 7/3 vs. WAS
Los Angeles (11)
|3-5||If only every game was played at the STAPLES Center, then the Sparks would be fine as they have won each of their three home games by over 20 points. However, the schedule dictates that each team play 17 home games and 17 away games, so the Sparks will need to find a way to win away from Hollywood (currently 0-5 on the road) if they want to climb the standings. The Sparks have a light schedule this week, with their only game coming Sunday when they host Phoenix before heading out for a seven-game road trip that will last until August. While the team prepares for the Mercury, they also welcome back MVP Candace Parker to the practice floor on Tuesday as she gets closer to her return from maternity leave.
Looking back: 6/26 at SEA (L, 69-67), 6/28 vs. SEA (W, 82-55)
Looking ahead: 7/5 vs. PHX
|2-5||Are things beginning to look up for the defending champs? Rick Mahorn picked up his first win as a WNBA head coach on Sunday in the Shock's 86-72 win over Sacramento. That game also featured the season debut of Kara Braxton, who missed the first six games of the season while serving a suspension. Braxton's return, along with Cheryl Ford's steady improvement (season highs 12 pts, 8 reb, 2 blk vs. Sacramento), and the emergence of rookie Shavonte Zellous as a sixth woman (18.7 ppg in three games off of the bench) could have the Shock back on track.
Looking back: 6/26 at ATL (L, 96-86), 6/28 vs. SAC (W, 86-72)
Looking ahead: 7/2 @ NY, 7/5 vs. CON
New York (9)
|2-6||The Liberty suffered a trio of losses last week, but the home loss to Indiana on Friday had to sting the most. After leading by 17 points, the Liberty allowed the Fever to rally in the second half, force overtime and steal the game. The two faced off in Indianapolis the following night with the Fever completing the home-and-home sweep. Coach Pat Coyle will have plenty of time to work on fixing the Liberty's issues as they only have one game in the next 10 days. Another bright spot for the Liberty is their upcoming schedule, which features seven of their next nine games at home.
Looking back: 6/23 at MIN (L, 69-57), 6/26 vs. IND (L, 82-81),
6/27 at IND (L, 63-54)
Looking ahead: 7/2 vs. DET
|1-7||The Monarchs' losing streak has hit five games as they drop to 1-7 on the season. In the middle of a five-game road trip, Jenny Boucek's squad looks for its first win away from Arco Arena against Chicago and Minnesota this week. After a strong start to the season, Nicole Powell has averaged just 8.7 points in the first three games of the road trip. Ticha Penicheiro has returned to the lineup after missing four games, but has been unable to get the Monarchs back in the W column.
Looking back: 6/26 at SA (L, 62-52), 6/28 at DET (L, 86-72)
Looking ahead: 6/30 @ CHI, 7/2 @ MIN