WNBA.com Power Rankings: September 10, 2009
As we enter the final weekend of the regular season, there remains much to be decided. At the moment only four of the eight playoffs spots have been secured and just two teams have been eliminated from the postseason.
In the West, Phoenix, Seattle and Los Angeles are in, with Minnesota and San Antonio battling it out for the final spot. The Lynx and Silver Stars are currently tied with matching 14-18 records, but the Silver Stars own the tiebreaker if they end the season that way.
The East is much more difficult to decipher as only the top seed Indiana has locked up a playoff berth, while Atlanta and Detroit appear to be headed to a first-round matchup as the two and three seeds in the conference. As for which team will play the Fever, there is currently a three-team tie between Chicago, Washington and Connecticut for the fourth seed. Chicago, which owns the multiple team tiebreaker, hosts the Fever tonight.
Having so many teams still in playoff contention with only four days remaining in the regular season definitely adds to the excitement of the stretch run. And with each team having two games left on the schedule, we are in for a thrilling finish to the regular season.
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 September 9.
|2009 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: September 10|
|TEAM (last ranking)||W / L||NOTES|
|22-10||The Mercury have clinched the Western Conference and now have their eyes set on securing the best record in the WNBA to ensure home-court advantage throughout the Playoffs and Finals. The Mercury have won two straight games and four of their last five, including last week's win over the East-leading Fever, who currently share the league's top record with Phoenix at 22-10. Phoenix is on pace to lead the league in scoring for the fourth consecutive year and will become the first team to average over 90 points per game for a season (currently 93.3).
Looking back: 9/2 @ IND (W 106-90), 9/5 vs ATL (W 100-82)
Looking ahead: 9/10 @ SEA, 9/13 vs LA
|22-10||After struggling through a stretch where they lost five of six games, the Fever rebounded with consecutive wins over Washington and New York to get back on the right track as they head into the postseason. Katie Douglas, who missed a pair of games during the losing streak due to a sprained ankle, is back in the lineup and the Fever have not lost since her return. While the Mercury are set to lead the WNBA in scoring, the Fever are on pace to be the top defensive team, allowing only 72.5 points per game.
Looking back: 9/2 vs PHX (L 106-90), 9/4 @ DET (L 70-63), 9/6 vs WAS (W 72-61), 9/8 @ NY (W 69-63)
Looking ahead: 9/10 @ CHI, 9/13 @ CON
|17-15||The Dream continue to thrive despite the absence of Chamique Holdsclaw, who underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 25. They just wrapped up a 2-2 West Coast trip that included an impressive win over the Sparks. Atlanta maintains its hold on the second seed in the East with a one-game lead over Detroit as well as owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Shock.
Looking back: 9/4 @ SAC (W 98-90), 9/5 @ PHX (L 100-82)
Looking ahead: 9/11 vs CON, 9/12 @ WAS
Los Angeles (5)
|16-16||The Sparks will honor Lisa Leslie tomorrow night at the STAPLES Center for the final regular season home game of her storied career. With the Sparks headed to the postseason - likely as the No. 3 seed as they hold a commanding lead over San Antonio - Leslie will have a chance to add another chapter (or perhaps an epilogue) to her story. I think I can already hear the L.A. fans chanting "one more year... one more year."
Looking back: 9/5 @ SAN (L 89-72), 9/8 vs SAN (W 76-68)
Looking ahead: 9/11 vs MIN, 9/13 @ PHX
|19-13||This week the Storm signed La'Tangela Atkinson and A'Quoneisha Franklin to end-of-regular season contracts since they are currently without Lauren Jackson (back), Sue Bird (neck), Katie Gearlds (knee) and Swin Cash (funeral). While Cash and Bird are expected back for the postseason, Jackson's status will remain the biggest question surrounding the Storm over the next week.
Looking back: 9/3 @ WAS (L 78-67), 9/5 @ MIN (L 76-68)
Looking ahead: 9/10 vs PHX, 9/12 @ SAN
|16-16||The Shock have won seven of their last nine games to put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the postseason and attempt to defend their title. With Katie Smith missing the last five games due to back pain, reigning back-to-back Eastern Conference Player of the Deanna Nolan has carried the Shock back into the playoff picture. However, Wednesday's loss to Minnesota hurt the Shock's chances of catching Atlanta for the No. 2 seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.
Looking back: 9/4 vs IND (W 70-63), 9/6 vs CHI (W 84-75), 9/9 @ MIN (L 75-72)
Looking ahead: 9/10 vs NY, 9/12 @ CHI
San Antonio (8)
|14-18||The Silver Stars are currently tied with the Lynx for the fourth spot in the West, but since they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Minnesota, they are in good shape to hold the fourth spot and attempt to defend their Western Conference crown. As has been the case all season, the Stars will need Becky Hammon and Sophia Young at the top of their game to make a run in the playoffs. Hammon has struggled a bit down the stretch, being held scoreless two weeks back and having six or more turnovers in three of her last five games, including a season-high eight against the Sparks on Tuesday.
Looking back: 9/5 vs LA (W 89-72), 9/8 @ LA (L 76-68)
Looking ahead: 9/10 @ SAC, 9/12 vs SEA
|15-17||If the playoffs began today, the Sky would claim the fourth spot in the East due to the multiple team tiebreaker over Washington and Connecticut (better winning percentage against all teams with .500 or better record). However, the playoff do not begin today, so the Sky still has work to do if they want to claim their first playoff berth in franchise history. The good news for the Sky is that they close the season with a pair of games at home, where they currently hold an 11-4 record this season.
Looking back: 9/4 vs WAS (W 92-86), 9/6 @ DET (L 84-75)
Looking ahead: 9/10 vs IND, 9/12 vs DET
|15-17||The Mystics have lost their last four games on the road and will likely need to break that streak if they want to advance to the playoffs as the close the regular season at New York on Sunday. The Mystics are 2-1 against the Liberty this season, but the three games have been separated by a total of just five points. All-Star Alana Beard played sparringly off the bench in Sunday's loss to Indiana after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury. The Mystics have been off since Monday and do not play again until Saturday, which could give Beard the time she needs to heal heading into a back-to-back to close the regular season.
Looking back: 9/3 vs SEA (W 78-67), 9/4 @ CHI (L 92-86), 9/6 @ IND (L 72-61)
Looking ahead: 9/12 vs ATL, 9/13 @ NY
|15-17||The Sun picked up a much needed win over the Liberty last Friday to end a five-game losing streak and also got a much-needed rest as they have not played since and will not be back on the floor until Friday night. Unfortunately for the Sun and their playoff hopes, they play the top two teams in the East to close out the year, on the road against Indiana and home against Atlanta.
Looking back: 9/4 vs NY (W 88-85)
Looking ahead: 9/11 @ ATL, 9/13 vs IND
|14-18||Just as it appeared that Minnesota would continue its second half slide and tumble out of the playoff race, the young Lynx have put together back-to-back wins to keep the pressure on the Silver Stars heading into the final weekend of the season. However, Minnesota's double-overtime loss to San Antonio on Sept. 1 gave the Stars the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lynx. In order for Minnesota to make the postseason they will need to finish a full game ahead of San Antonio after this weekend and have a tough pair of road games in LA and Sacramento to close the season.
Looking back: 9/5 vs SEA (W 76-68), 9/9 vs. DET (W, 75-72)
Looking ahead: 9/11 @ LA, 9/13 @ SAC
New York (12)
|12-20||While the Liberty's playoff hopes are officially over, they will play a major role in shaping the Eastern Conference playoff standings this weekend with games against Detroit and Washington to close out the season. Both of their opponents are still hoping to secure a playoff berth, which gives the Liberty the chance to play the spoiler.
Looking back: 9/4 @ CON (L 88-85), 9/8 vs IND (L 69-63)
Looking ahead: 9/10 @ DET, 9/13 vs WAS
|11-21||The Monarchs will help shape the bottom of the Western Conference with games against San Antonio and Minnesota, the two teams vying for the final playoff spot, to close out the 2009 season. The Monarchs may have the worst record in the league, but they will not be an easy opponent for the Stars or Lynx as the Monarchs have played their best basketball in the second half of the season, including a 6-4 stretch in their last 10 games.
Looking back: 9/4 vs ATL (L 98-90)
Looking ahead: 9/10 vs SAN, 9/13 vs MIN