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)
W/L
NOTES
1
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
2 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
3
Phoenix (4)
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
4 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
5 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
6
16-10

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.
Upcoming games: Washington, at Connecticut, Sacramento

7
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
8
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
9
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
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
11
Houston (11)
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 0-10 start.
Upcoming games: Phoenix, Los Angeles, at Minnesota
12 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
13
Minnesota (13)
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
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