San Antonio Steals the Top Spot
Posted July 1, 2011 11:45 AM
After a few short weeks of staying within the hunt for the No. 1 spot, the San Antonio Silver Stars take the jump in Week 4 Power Rankings.
Let's see how the rest of the teams match up.
|2011 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 7/1|
|TEAM (last week)||W / L||NOTES|
San Antonio (2)
San Antonio jumped out to a hot 5-0 start to the season and closes out the first month with a 7-1 record. Becky Hammon is playing out of her mind, Ruth Riley is hitting 64 percent of her shots and Danielle Adams is a force off the bench. Given the state of injuries to Los Angeles and Seattle over the next few weeks, the Western Conference could be San Antonio's for the taking...
Upcoming Games: 7/1 at New York, 7/8 vs. New York, 7/12 vs. Los Angeles
...but not if Minnesota has anything to say about it. If it's not Seimone Augustus leading the game in points it's Rebekkah Brunson. If not Brunson, Lindsay Whalen. Or Maya Moore. Or whoever else on the team has the hot hand. Minnesota has a ton of talent and a number of scoring threats to turn to on any given night. Whalen's 21 points in Thursday's win over the Shock was a season-high for her. Who steps up next game?
Upcoming Games: 7/9 vs. Connecticut, 7/13 vs. Phoenix, 7/15 at Indiana
Despite Indiana's four straight wins and status as the No. 1 team in the East, I had my doubts about putting the Fever this high on the power rankings. Granted the Mercury watched its win streak come to an end in Indianapolis earlier this week, but I'm curious to see how the Fever is going to manage without Briann January for the remainder of the season. It's up to Shannon Bobbitt and/or Erin Phillips to take the reigns.
Upcoming Games: 7/5 vs. Seattle, 7/9 vs. Washington, 7/13 vs. Connecticut
If you didn't catch Tina Charles' 22-point, 23-rebound night against the Sparks on Tuesday then you definitely missed one of the top performances of the year - and the Sun is only eight games into the season (PS - You can watch the archive again on LiveAccess). That's now five straight double-doubles for Charles and Connecticut has gone 3-2 in that span. Without Candace Parker in the lineup for the Sparks, Charles did some major damage. What's she going to do against a Lauren Jackson-less Storm team on Friday?
Upcoming Games: 7/1 vs. Seattle, 7/9 at Minnesota, 7/13 at Indiana
Sylvia Fowles is posting up monster numbers, Epiphanny Prince has improved tremendously since last season and Courtney Vandersloot is coming along nicely. So how is it the Sky is below .500 right now? It probably didn't help that Phoenix blew through town on a win streak and San Antonio posted 31 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday afternoon to steal the win. I still can't help but think this team is much better than it's 4-5 record indicates.
Upcoming Games: 7/1 at Phoenix, 7/5 vs. Washington, 7/9 vs. Atlanta
Phoenix's Big Three of Candice Dupree, Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor is back on track after a slow 0-3 start. Tuesday's loss to Indiana was the Fever's way of striking back after the Mercury's win two weeks prior. Feels like the 2009 WNBA Finals all over again. Chicago, L.A. and a home-and-home against Tulsa could have Phoenix sitting pretty over the next four.
Upcoming Games: 7/1 vs. Chicago, 7/5 vs. Los Angeles, 7/8 at Tulsa
Los Angeles (4)
There's never a good time for the Sparks to deal with an injury to Candace Parker, but to have it come in the second game of a seven game road trip isn't exactly ideal. L.A. has yet to register a win on the road this season and now has three straight losses on the road with four more to go. The Sparks have to be optimistic that they can shift momentum soon.
Upcoming Games: 7/5 at Phoenix, 7/9 at Seattle, 7/12 at San Antonio
Any Storm fan would tell you that history is not on Seattle's side when it comes to playing without Lauren Jackson. This year's run will likely be nowhere near the 28-6 regular season record that Seattle posted in 2010, but the good part is Jackson is scheduled to return a few short weeks before the playoffs. If Jackson is healthy and ready to go by then we could see a strong Seattle squad sneaking in as a lower seed and scaring off some teams in the postseason.
Upcoming Games: 7/1 at Connecticut, 7/3 at Washington, 7/5 at Indiana
New York (9)
Cappie Pondexter has now scored 20 or more points in five straight games, the most recent a 25-point night in a loss to the Dream on Thursday. Pondexter is on fire and definitely playing MVP-caliber basketball. The only problem is, as indicated by the Liberty's record, she can't do it on her own.
Upcoming Games: 7/1 vs. San Antonio, 7/8 at San Antonio, 7/10 vs. Chicago
Any win against any team is a good win for the Dream at this point. Atlanta didn't have to finish first in the conference last season to make it all the way to the WNBA Finals, but staying in the playoff hunt early is key. All three of Atlanta's wins have come in the East, so that's at least an encouraging sign for fans down in A-T-L. Now if only they can string together a few wins and get closer to .500 by the All-Star break then they'll be in much better shape.
Upcoming Games: 7/9 at Chicago, 7/13 at New York, 7/16 vs. Chicago
Despite having a conference-worst 2-5 record, the Washington Mystics can still gain some ground in the East if they can pull out a few wins over the next few games. It won't be easy, but the Jackson-less Storm would be a nice jump-off point before taking on Eastern Conference rivals Chicago and Indiana on the road. You can't write off Washington just yet.
Upcoming Games: 7/3 vs. Seattle, 7/5 at Chicago, 7/9 at Indiana
Let's take the big picture approach to the Shock: rookies Liz Cambage and Kayla Pedersen are gaining solid experience on the WNBA level. I spoke about both briefly in this week's WNBA.com podcast, specifically highlighting Pedersen's 31.7 minutes per game in addition to wondering how the 6-foot-8 Cambage is only averaging 6.4 rebounds per game.
Upcoming Games: 7/8 vs. Phoenix, 7/10 at Phoenix, 7/13 at Chicago