WNBA.com Power Rankings: August 14, 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. Despite a shocking loss on Sunday, the defending champs remain
in the top spot. In fact, the top four all remain the same as the Mercury and
Sun both stay hot coming into this final week of the regular season. Moving
down the list, the Liberty take a step up as they close in on the Mystics for
the fourth playoff spot in the East. Take a look at our full list, and let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice.
|2007 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week 13|
TEAM (last week)
|24-7||The Shock fell to a buzzer-beating heave in New
York over the weekend, but they still have a firm grasp on the No. 1 spot.
Despite being without All-Star MVP Cheryl Ford for the last 10 games, Katie
Feenstra and Kara Braxton have stepped in impressively and the Shock have
gone 8-2 and secured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Coach
Bill Laimbeer now has the luxury of resting his big-time players to keep
them fresh heading into the playoffs. Case in point: rookie Ivory Latta
started against the Fever on Saturday.
Upcoming games: vs. Houston, at Minnesota, at Indiana
|21-11||The mighty Mercury are the hottest
team in the league right now, having won nine of their last 10 to catapult
into first place in the West. You know your team is doing well when the
player many consider the team's third option -- Penny Taylor -- is winning
Player of the Week honors and making a case to be on the All-WNBA First
Team. Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter are having solid seasons as well
and the Paul-ball-playing Mercury are rolling toward the postseason.
Upcoming games: at Sacramento, vs. Sacramento
|19-11||The Silver Stars have been only so-so of late,
going 5-5 in their last 10, including losses to Chicago and Houston. But
they have won their last two and sit only a game behind Phoenix for first
place in the West. Now that Becky Hammon is back and appears to be healthy,
they can rest up a bit over the final week. Rookie Camille Little has started
each of the last four games, and although she hasn't scored a lot, she contributes
on the boards and on defense and forms an imposing frontcourt with Sophia
Young and Ruth Riley.
Upcoming games: at Los Angeles, at Sacramento, vs. Indiana, at Minnesota
|17-13||The Sun are still scorching
hot, having won 11 of their last 13 games to clinch a playoff spot. They
could catch Indiana for second in the East with a strong final week and
some Fever losses, though they could also fall to fourth. But the way Katie
Douglas, Lindsay Whalen and company have been playing, the trend in Connecticut
is definitely bullish. On the other hand, with their 9-5 record on the road
(compared to an 8-8 mark at home), the Sun might be happier without home-court
Upcoming games: at Washington, at Indiana, at New York, vs. Washington
|18-13||Yes, the Monarchs topped the Sun last Tuesday
in an 81-79 slugfest in Connecticut, but the injuries to starters and veterans
Yolanda Griffith and Ticha Penicheiro are mildly troubling. They'll both
likely be back come playoff time, but will they be 100 percent? If not,
Rebekkah Brunson and Nicole Powell seem ready to take the reins along with
All-Star sixth woman Kara Lawson.
Upcoming games: vs. San Antonio, vs. Phoenix, at Phoenix
|19-12||Will she or won't she? The "she"
in question is no other than all-world forward Tamika Catchings, who was
arguably the league's best player this season before a foot injury sidelined
her nine games ago. The question is whether or not she'll be on the court.
If Catch is able to return at 100 percent for the playoffs, this makes Indiana
a very deep, dangerous team. Without her, the Fever are decidedly less imposing,
especially in the scoring column. As such, Tammy Sutton-Brown and Anna DeForge
need to demand the ball more. Still, Tan White has stepped up her contribution
as a starter and Tamika Whitmore brings size, strength and experience off
Upcoming games: vs. Connecticut, at San Antonio, vs. Detroit
|15-17||The Storm struggled without Lauren Jackson (and
starting center Janell Burse) in the lineup losing the two games LJ missed
by an average of 24 points, but they finally clinched a playoff spot on
Saturday. Betty Lennox and Iziane Castro Marques each had a big game with
their star teammate out of the lineup, so they're capable of contributing
offensively. But they're having trouble stopping teams on the defensive
end, allowing the fifth-most points per game in the league. That's a stat
that doesn't bode well against their current first-round opponent, the high-scoring,
Upcoming games: vs. Minnesota, vs. Los Angeles
|14-17||The Mystics are allowing the
fourth-most points per game in the league, a fact that hurt them in their
two losses to wrap up a 2-2 West Coast swing. The Mystics sit just a half game
up on the upstart Liberty for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East,
and the two squads face each other on Thursday in the nation's capital.
Last time they squared off, Alana Beard dominated, slashing to the hoop
for a game-high 24 points, and DeLisha Milton-Jones notched a double-double.
Nakia Sanford will likely need to have a big week against her Eastern Conference
post foes for the Mystics to reach the postseason.
Upcoming games: vs. Connecticut, vs. New York, at Connecticut
|13-17||New York's fate is in its own hands. With four
games to play, all against Eastern Conference foes, the Liberty's playoff
dreams come down to the final week. Having scored a scintillating last-second
victory over the defending champion Shock on Sunday, the Libs' pulses are
sure to be racing. That can be a positive, but it can also create some pressure
and nerves which they don't want to be dealing with heading into four tough
games in six days. On the court, though, Janel McCarville continues her
assault on opposing centers and Tiffany Jackson is quietly entering her
name in the Rookie of the Year race. If they do qualify as the fourth seed
in the East, their first-round opponents would be the Shock, who they've
already beaten twice this season.
Upcoming games: at Chicago, at Washington, vs. Connecticut, vs. Chicago
|12-19||After an 0-2 week and five straight
defeats, the Sky are falling out of the playoff hunt in the East. They can
still make it if they get hot and both the Mystics and Liberty falter, which
is possible. And with veteran leadership from Chasity Melvin and youthful
energy from Candice Dupree, Armintie Price and Jia Perkins, this team is
capable of a run. Still, even if they can't catch up, Chicago has made major
strides since last season's 5-29 mark and Bo Overton's name will be in the
conversation for Coach of the Year.
Upcoming games: vs. New York, at Houston, at New York
|11-20||Houston won't be in the playoffs for the first
time since 2004, but there is plenty for Karleen Thompson and her players
to build on heading into 2008. Since their 0-10 start, the Comets have gone
a very respectable 11-10 thanks in large part to veterans Tina Thompson
and Tamecka Dixon. But young bigs Michelle Snow and Sancho Lyttle have made
contributions as well, and with a bit of help in the backcourt, along with
a healthy Sheryl Swoopes, they could surprise some people next season.
Upcoming games: at Detroit, vs. Chicago, at Los Angeles
|10-21||The Sparks have lost 15 of their
last 18 games, a mark that obviously hasn't helped their playoff hopes.
In fact, this will be the franchise's first playoff-free season since 1998.
Veterans Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Temeka Johnson sat out Sunday night's
win over Minnesota, but LaToya Thomas stepped up with a season-high 23 and
rookies Sidney Spencer and Marta Fernandez put up 15 and 11, respectively.
With a healthy Lisa Leslie and a potentially high draft pick, the Sparks
could very well be back in contention for the postseason next year.
Upcoming games: vs. San Antonio, at Seattle, vs. Houston
|8-23||When the Lynx had five rookies on their opening-day
roster, we knew it could be a tough 2007 in Minnesota. And it has been,
but an incredible amount of progress has been made. With Seimone Augustus,
a more experienced and healthy Lindsey Harding and a solid core of role-playing
contributors on the boards and on defense, this is a team that is capable
of making some noise a year or two from now.
Upcoming games: at Seattle, vs. Detroit, vs. San Antonio