SECAUCUS, N.J. —We're exactly a month
into the 2007 regular season, and like every Tuesday, it's time for the latest
edition of the WNBA.com editorial staff's Power Rankings. Indiana overtakes
Detroit for the top spot after an impressive win over the weekend, Sacramento
stays on top in the wild, wild West, the Sun set and the winless Comets remain
in the cellar. Take a look, and let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice.
Yes, Cheryl Ford was missing for Detroit, but
Indiana topped the defending champs on Saturday night, so it only seems
fair that they take over the No. 1 ranking. Tamika Catchings notched her
third straight double-double and is having an MVP type of year so far. Tammy
Sutton-Brown could be the post presence the Fever need to compete with the
likes of Detroit in the playoffs.
The loss of Cheryl Ford, even
temporarily, has exposed a minor hole in the Shock frontcourt. Still, they're
among the league's elite teams, have depth at every position and will be
there at the end. Katie Smith has almost looked more comfortable at small
forward, especially in their solid win Monday in Los Angeles.
Two wins over Houston does not make for a particularly
impressive week, but you play the hand you are dealt. The Monarchs still
seem to be the best in the West, mostly because of their balanced scoring.
Rebekkah Brunson, Kara Lawson, Nicole Powell and Yolanda Griffith make up
what is still a solid core and Chelsea Newton even chipped in 17 to lead
the way past the Comets on Saturday.
On a given night, one could
make a legitimate case that the Mercury deserve to be as low as No. 10 on
this list, but they get the benefit of the doubt because of their remarkable
upside. When they're on, they're really on, as they showed with Friday's
victory over Indiana. Of course, when they're off, they're really off, like
during Wednesday's 17-point loss to the previously winless Mystics. The
reason they're ranked here? Someone had to be. That and they're 7-5 despite
up-and-down starts from Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter.
Much like the Mercury, the Silver Stars seem
to look great one game and considerably less so the next. But Saturday's
home win over New York showed that they're capable of hanging with the beasts
in the East and that Sophia Young can score. With the less-than-stellar
showing from Ruth Riley to this point, they'll need more points and boards
from Young. Meanwhile, just a couple of months into her San Antonio career,
Becky Hammon has already taken over this team and is averaging nearly four
points a game above her career high.
Who would have thought that
the Sky would already have eclipsed last season's win total? And who could
have seen Chicago getting this high in the power rankings in just the franchise's
second year in the league? But with wins this week over the Liberty and
Sun, they truly deserve the bump. Eastern Conference Player of the Week
Candice Dupree has turned into a bona fide star, new arrivals Chasity Melvin
and Dominique Canty are starting to assert themselves and 5-9 rookie guard
Armintie Price has been a monster on the boards.
The Ladies Liberty still sit third in the East,
but they were simply outplayed by Chicago and San Antonio on Friday and
Saturday. New York's 3-point shooting, so hot to start off the season, has
cooled down and team is now averaging only 72.9 points a game, third worst
in the league. They are also getting outdone on the boards by 4.6 a night.
Conventional wisdom says that rookies Jessica Davenport and Tiffany Jackson
will both improve with time, but the Liberty looked dangerous early in the
week against the Mystics when Barbara Farris and Janel McCarville both played
major roles in the offense.
Like nearly every other team
in the West, the Storm have already seen plenty of ups and downs. Lauren
Jackson has firmly established herself among the MVP frontrunners, but the
rest of the players have been less consistent. This week's 12-point win
at Chicago and the 28-point loss at Indiana support that notion. The scoring
of Betty Lennox and Iziane Castro Marques has fallen off a bit, but that
can be partially attributed to the increased playing time of rookie Katie
Fans and pundits alike were expecting a major
offensive falloff when Chamique Holdsclaw called it quits last week, but
the Sparks have gone a respectable 2-2 without her. The 25-point loss to
the Lynx on Saturday was definitely troubling, but the fact that LaToya
and Christi Thomas have each had a big game since Holdsclaw's departure
could be a sign that other players are willing to step up. The return of
point guard Temeka Johnson -- whenever it happens -- will help considerably.
The Sun have taken a serious
turn for the worse -- falling into a habit of getting down early in games
-- and have lost four straight. Asjha Jones has continued her serious push
for a spot on the Eastern All-Star Team, but Katie Douglas and Lindsay Whalen
have struggled from the floor and the center combination of Margo Dydek
and Erika DeSouza has been less than electrifying offensively. They'll be
in contention for the playoffs as the season goes on, but they're struggling
Despite their miserable start to the season,
there is reason for hope in Minnesota. This week, the young Lynx eked out
an impressive overtime win over the Sun and absolutely throttled the Chamique-free
Sparks by 25. Seimone Augustus is clearly still the go-to player in Minnesota
-- she scored her 1,000th career point against L.A. and has led the team
in scoring in 10 of their 12 games -- but others are beginning to step up.
Kristen Mann led the way on Saturday with 16 and Nicole Ohlde and Svetlana
Abrosimova added 15 and 14, respectively. Spreading the wealth will only
The Mystics removed the "winless"
prefix from their moniker this past week with an impressive home triumph
over the Mercury, and they've kept it close even in the games they've lost.
Alana Beard is an elite player and, though she is only 25, she's already
a leader on this roster. Despite coming off the bench, Monique Currie is
showing why the Mystics were willing to deal a veteran post of Chasity Melvin's
stature to get her.
Things haven't been pretty for Karleen Thompson
and the Comets, who continue to come frustratingly close to scoring their
first win before faltering at the end of games. Houston is hoping Crystal
Smith can change the inconsistency haunting their backcourt. Despite the
team's struggles, Tina Thompson has been remarkable and deserves a trip
to Washington for the All-Star Game.
Last week, Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph University courageously took the floor for her first college game, refusing to let an inoperable brain tumor keep her from achieving her dream – and WNBA stars Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings were on hand to lend their support.