Ready for the Playoffs
Posted Sept 9, 2011 4:00 PM
With just two days left in the regular season, we present our final power rankings of the 2011 WNBA season. The Minnesota Lynx held the top spot for 10 of the 13 weeks of rankings, including the final seven, as they clearly established themselves as the top team in the league this season. But will they still be able to make that claim a month from now when it matters most?
|2011 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 9/9|
|TEAM (last week)||W / L||NOTES|
What else is there to say about the Lynx? They feature a deep and talented team that brings a balanced attack to their opponents. And best of all they have been consistent. With only one two-game losing streak all season, the Lynx enter the Playoffs as the team to beat.
Remaining Games: 9/11 @ Phoenix
Just before the All-Star break the Fever suffered a three-game slide and responded by winning eight of their next nine games. A similar three-game losing streak came just two weeks ago and so far the Fever have won two in a row. If they respond the way the did before, they could claim their first WNBA title.
Remaining Games: 9/09 @ New York, 9/11 vs Atlanta
The turnaround that the Dream have made since a disastrous opening month of the season has been remarkable. Last year they made it to the Finals as a No. 4 seed and will likely be a lower seed when the playoffs open next week. One thing is certain, they're a team no one wants to face right now.
Remaining Games: 9/11 @ Indiana
While the Dream have been on fire heading into the postseason (winning six of their last seven games), the Sun have lost three of their last five and five of their last 10. This past week featured impressive wins over Indiana (by 28 points) and Washington (by 31 points), followed by an 11-point loss to Atlanta.
Remaining Games: 9/11 vs New York
Another team trending up (bringing back a three-time MVP can have that affect), the Storm have won six of their last seven and can wrap up the No. 2 seed in the West with a win over the Mercury on Friday. While the Lynx got all the headlines (and deservingly so) as the top team in the West, don't count out the defending champs just yet.
Remaining Games: 9/09 vs Phoenix, 9/11 vs Chicago
What are two words that Mercury fans have heard too often over the past few weeks? Back spasms. They have claimed games from both Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor recently and with a first-round matchup against their nemesis from Seattle, the Mercury need to be at full strength next week.
Remaining Games: 9/09 @ Seattle, 9/11 vs Minnesota
New York (7)
The Liberty are playoff bound, but where they open the postseason remains a mystery. Currently in the No. 4 spot in the East, the Liberty have two games remaining and can finish anywhere from No. 2 to No. 4. If they win out, the worse they can place is No. 3, which would help them avoid top-seeded Indiana in the first round.
Remaining Games: 9/09 vs Indiana, 9/11 @ Connecticut
San Antonio (8)
After being in danger of falling out of the playoffs, the Silver Stars responded by winning three of their last four and clinching the final playoff spot in the West. Their reward? A first round matchup with the Lynx, which won the season series with the Silver Stars 4-0.
Remaining Games: 9/10 vs Washington, 9/11 @ Tulsa
Los Angeles (9)
The Sparks will head into the offseason next week with a number of questions to answer. Will Joe Bryant be back as coach? He's 9-13 since taking over for Jennifer Gillom. Will their veteran players return? Tina Thompson is 36 years old and DeLisha Milton-Jones and Ticha Penicheiro are about to each turn 37. When will their star player - Candace Parker - be able to play a full season (or close to it)? After missing just one game in her MVP rookie season, Parker has missed 48 of the 100 games since due to injury and pregnancy.
Remaining Games: 9/09 vs Tulsa, 9/10 vs Chicago
As phenomenal as Sylvia Fowles was this season (posting MVP-type numbers of 19.8 ppg and 10.1 rpg), it was not enough for the Sky to advance to the postseason for the first time in its franchise history, which began in 2006. First-year head coach Pokey Chatman got the best out of her former pupil at LSU, but she will need more from the supporting cast if they Sky hope to break their playoff-less streak next season.
Remaining Games: 9/10 @ Los Angeles, 9/11 @ Seattle
The Mystics posted the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference last year. Since then, they saw the departure of GM Angela Taylor, head coach Julie Plank, point guard Lindsey Harding and veteran guard Katie Smith. Then they lost Monique Currie to an ACL injury and Alana Beard missed another season due to an ankle injury. The result was a six-win season with one game remaining. There are few positives to take from 2011, but we should note that Crystal Langhorne continued to play at an All-Star level and Matee Ajavon blossomed into a key contributor this year.
Remaining Games: 9/10 @ San Antonio
The Shock have become more competitive since Teresa Edwards took over the coaching reigns from Nolan Richardson. But she's only picked up two wins during her brief tenure as head coach. Will that be enough for her to return next season? With an eye on the future, the Shock should be eager to watch the development of young players like Tiffany Jackson and rookies Liz Cambage and Kayla Pedersen.
Remaining Games: 9/09 @ Los Angeles, 9/11 vs San Antonio