WNBA.com Power Rankings: July 31, 2007
SECAUCUS, N.J. — Like every Tuesday during
the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com editorial staff's
Power Rankings. The defending champion Shock retain the top spot after a midweek
win in Connecticut. Despite their loss to Detroit, the Sun continue their impressive
rise. Meanwhile, the Fever and Liberty, both in the midst of six-game losing
streaks, continue to tumble. Take a look at our list, and let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice.
|2007 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week 11|
TEAM (last week)
|20-6||Indiana's recent slide just solidifies the Shock's
top spot... well, that and the fact that Detroit has won nine of 10. Deanna
Nolan put up a career-high 36 this week, Katie Smith seems more productive
at the three than at the point and Swin Cash has been reliable. Yes, they'll
be without All-Star MVP Cheryl Ford for at least the rest of the regular
season, but Katie Feenstra and Kara Braxton have played fairly well in her
stead. They're in good shape to earn home-court in the East, but they'll
need production from the center spot, even if it's only rebounding and defense,
to make it back to the Finals.
Upcoming games: at San Antonio, at Chicago
|16-8||Like Detroit, San Antonio will
miss a key player down the stretch in Erin Buescher, but other players --
particularly second-year All-Star Sophia Young -- have stepped up their
games. Becky Hammon is slowly injecting her name into the MVP discussion
with each clutch performance and she'll get her fair share of votes if the
Silver Stars get the No. 1 seed in the West. Marie Ferdinand-Harris had
her best game of the year on Sunday, and if she returns to her three-time
All-Star form, look out for Dan Hughes' squad!
Upcoming games: Detroit, Phoenix, Los Angeles
|16-10||The Mercury went 3-0 this week, winning in Minnesota
and Chicago and at home against the struggling Fever... three games they
should probably win. But they might not have won those games earlier in
the season, when they were either way up or way down every night. Diana
Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and Penny Taylor each led the team in scoring
once this week, showing that they have several great offensive options.
Tangela Smith has been great inside as well. Maybe defense is, in fact,
overrated if you can score 106 points a game.
Upcoming games: at Houston, at San Antonio, at Seattle
|14-12||The Sun were 6-11 on July 5,
on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture looking in. Since
then, they've gone 8-1, moving into within two games of second-place Indiana.
How have they made their move? Katie Douglas and Lindsay Whalen have won
the last two Eastern Player of the Week awards. Asjha Jones has been a go-to
player in the paint and 28-year-old Greek rookie Evanthia Maltsi played
with a lot of poise while Nykesha Sales missed time after suffering a concussion.
Upcoming games: Chicago, Indiana
|14-10||Yes, they suffered an uncharacteristic meltdown
in Sunday's home loss to Minnesota, but the Monarchs still have to be considered
one of the favorites in the West. Rebekkah Brunson is still working -- and
playing -- through the leg injury that sidelined her for the All-Star Game.
Nicole Powell has stepped up her game in a big way, scoring a career-high
29 in Sunday's loss, and leads the league in free throw percentage. The
Monarchs need one of their guards, probably Kara Lawson, to elevate her
scoring. Lawson has had only three double-figure games in her last 12 appearances.
Upcoming games: at Seattle, Seattle, at Indiana
The Fever's six-game losing streak makes one thing very clear: Tamika
Catchings is far more valuable to this team than most experts thought.
Long the class of the Eastern Conference with what seemed like a roster
deep in talent, Indiana has gone on a tailspin without its leader and
now stands only two games up on third-place Connecticut. Coach Brian Winters
shook up the lineup on Sunday and Tan White scored a season high 25 in
her first start of the year, but the Fever still fell in Phoenix. Catchings'
return is absolutely vital to Indiana's high playoff hopes.
|13-13||It's tough to understand how a team with a player
as consistently terrific as Lauren Jackson can be so mediocre. Sure, the
two-time defending Western Conference Player of the Week is having a special
season, but other players seem to disappear on occasion. Sue Bird has been
solid since coming back from knee surgery, Janell Burse has hung in there
despite torn ligaments in her wrist and Iziane Castro Marques has looked
great in several games. But the Storm lost their fourth straight to the
Silver Stars on Sunday and could end up facing them again in the first round
of the playoffs.
Upcoming games: Sacramento, at Sacramento, Phoenix
|12-14||Just when you think they're
out, they keep pulling you back in! After falling to a season-worst five
games under .500 on July 18, the Sky have won four of five to creep back
into the Eastern playoff picture. Veteran Stacey Dales has been the latest
to step up for rookie coach Bo Overton, averaging 19.0 points a game over
her last three. They have a tough week ahead, but if they can go 4-4 over
their last eight, the postseason will be within reach.
Upcoming games: at Connecticut, Detroit, at Washington
|10-14||Who would have thought that after their 0-8 start,
we'd be talking about the Mystics making the playoffs? But there they sit,
just two games back of the fourth-place Sky in the win column. It's not
going to be easy, but if Alana Beard can keep up her stellar play and Monique
Currie can continue on her path to becoming a more consistent scorer, this
team can hang with anyone.
Upcoming games: at Indiana, New York, Chicago
|10-14||The Liberty may have overachieved
early in the year in getting off to a 5-0 start, but they have certainly
underachieved of late, losing their last six, each in painfully close fashion.
Janel McCarville has become a leader on this young roster and is making
a push for the league's Most Improved Player award. But this team succeeded
early on because of its shooting from long distance, and though they still
lead the league in 3-point shooting percentage, it seems like the shots
simply haven't been falling as regularly for Cathrine Kraayeveld, Erin Thorn,
Shameka Christon and Loree Moore. They sit last in the league in scoring
at just 70.5 points per game.
Upcoming games: Los Angeles, Minnesota, at Washington
|8-17||Barring a remarkable late-season surge, the Comets
are likely to miss the playoffs. But there are plenty of reasons to follow
them to the end. Tina Thompson remains one of the league's most talented
players. U.S. national teammate Michelle Snow is an exciting post to watch
when she's on. And veteran guard Tamecka Dixon has enjoyed an impressive
rebirth on the court after being re-signed on July 2. First-year coach Karleen
Thompson deserves a lot of credit for keeping this squad focused after its
Upcoming games: Phoenix, Los Angeles, at Minnesota
|8-16||The Sparks lost three games
on the road this week, including in Detroit on Sunday when L.A. held a five-point
edge at the half. Taj McWilliams-Franklin is still a force down low and
Temeka Johnson is getting her feet back under her at the point after missing
almost the entire first half of the season. Mwadi Mabika has also shown
signs of a second-half resurgence. Youngsters Sidney Spencer, Sherill Baker
and Marta Fernandez are all getting a good amount of playing time, and whether
or not that translates into a postseason berth this year, it can only help
the Sparks down the line.
Upcoming games: at New York, at Houston, at San Antonio
|7-20||Yes, the Lynx are coming off a recent 10-game
losing streak, during which they fell to the bottom of the power rankings.
But they've won two in a row since then thanks to the remarkable scoring
of second-year superstar Seimone Augustus, including her career-high 39
against the Monarchs on Sunday. Svetlana Abrosimova is coming alive now
that she's a bigger part of their offense. Rookie point guard Noelle Quinn,
starting in place of the injured Lindsey Harding, is still turning the ball
over at an alarming rate, but fellow first-years Shay Murphy and Kathrin
Ress are contributing off the bench.
Upcoming games: at New York, Houston