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NEW YORK, June 10, 2008 —
Like every week during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com
Power Rankings. We have a new number one! ... Though that could easily flip-flop
after Tuesday night's Connecticut-Minnesota matchup on ESPN2. Let's be honest,
the top six teams are pretty tough to call. But that's the beauty of these rankings:
there's always room for discussion.
Take a look at our full list below, then let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice. Post your own Power Rankings and
discuss them with your fellow fans.
Mike Thibault's Sun have won four straight games, including last Friday's
matchup against the then-unbeaten Lynx. Tamika Whitmore and Asjha Jones
are both playing at an All-Star level and Lindsay Whalen may not be flashy,
but she is quietly establishing herself as the league's most reliable
point guard. But tonight's ESPN2 game in Minnesota could quickly take
away Connecticut's top seed.
The Lynx lost last Friday to the
No. 1 Sun, but Minnesota remains the surprise of the 2008 season to this
point. They bring a 3-0 home record into tonight's rematch with Connecticut,
and with a win they could easily vault into the top spot. The Lynx are a
close second to the Mercury in points per game and their offense is firing
on all cylinders as rookies Candice Wiggins, Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston
continue to impress and with third-year vet Seimone Augustus putting up
MVP numbers. There are reports that injured point guard Lindsey Harding
will return to practice today, as well.
Friday night, in
front of a sold-out STAPLES Center crowd for their home opener, the Sparks
had a 69-53 lead on the defending champion Mercury after three quarters.
But they fell apart in the final stanza, getting outscored 32-10, and lost
the game. Frustrating? Certainly. Any positives? Sure. Both Candace Parker
and Lisa Leslie posted double-doubles on the night and Italian import Raffaella
Masciadri is averaging over nine points a game off the bench.
The Bad Girls from the Motor City
spanked Seattle and former captain Swin Cash as she made her return to Detroit
and proceeded to win in Sacramento two nights later. But they lost the second
game of a back-to-back the following day in Seattle. Katie Smith was named
Eastern Conference Player of the Week after posting two 30-point games and
Deanna Nolan, Cheryl Ford and Plenette Pierson are still among the league's
elite. The Shock might hit a speedbump every now and then, but they'll still
be there at the end.
The Fever have had
only one game over the last week -- a nine-point win at home over Houston
-- and their only two losses on the season were both to Detroit. Still,
Indiana has the league's best defense, allowing a league-low 67.0 ppg. Katie
Douglas has five 20-point games in her team's six tilts so far this season
and Ebony Hoffman and Tan White are both playing significant complementary
The Storm have perhaps the best starting
five in WNBA history. So how have they lost three times already? Well, a
lot of it has to do with the comforts of home. The Storm are 5-0 at KeyArena
in 2008, but just 1-3 on the road, including disappointing setbacks in San
Antonio and New York. Despite the issues, Lauren Jackson is returning to
her MVP form after a slow start and Sue Bird has already hit some big shots.
The Mercury are
back! Yes, they lost their first four under new coach Corey Gaines, but
with consecutive wins over the Mystics and the star-studded Sparks, it seems
as if the defending champs are inching their way back to their 2007 form.
They'll continue to miss Penny Taylor, but with the league's top two scorers
in Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi, not to mention the league's top-scoring
offense, the Mercury should continue to gel and wear their opponents out
as the season goes on.
Still one of the league's top defensive
squads, the Monarchs are struggling at the offensive end, averaging just
69.86 ppg, second worst in the league. While Kara Lawson has stepped nicely
into a starting role, Adrian Williams-Strong has been solid and Ticha Penicheiro
is having the best offensive season of her career (averaging 9.8 ppg., 3.5
above her career mark), neither Rebekkah Brunson nor Nicole Powell are producing
at quite the level coach Jenny Boucek likely hoped.
With wins over Seattle
and Houston, the Liberty were primed to move up even further, but the frustrating
loss on Sunday to Sacramento -- in which the team shot just 35 percent from
the field -- hurt. Sunday's 2-12 shooting performance aside, Shameka Christon
is turning into New York's go-to scorer. Furthermore, the young talent on
the Libs' roster -- Essence Carson, Leilani Mitchell and Tiffany Jackson,
among others -- should give Pat Coyle and her staff a ton of hope for the
Losing your 6-6 rookie center to
an injury and winning two straight doesn't seem to fit... until you consider
that the Sky's two wins in the last week were both against Atlanta. Still,
in Fowles' absence, rookie head coach Steven Key has to be happy with the
production of All-Star forward Candice Dupree and veterans Jia Perkins and
Chasity Melvin. Despite being below .500, Chicago is still fourth in the
East, good enough for a spot in the postseason.
Silver Stars are the league's worst shooting team, currently hitting just
38.7 percent from the floor, a statistic that won't be helped by the day-to-day
status of All-Star forward Sophia Young, who strained her groin last week.
Last year's MVP runner-up Becky Hammon is starting to heat up, averaging
18.0 ppg over her last three, and Belgian post Ann Wauters is getting back
into the WNBA swing of things. There's little doubt that 2007 Coach of the
Year Dan Hughes is on his way to righting the Silver Stars' ship.
The league's lowest-scoring
squad at just 68.13 ppg., but the league leaders in 3-point percentage,
the Mystics are a bit of an anomaly. Alana Beard has been brilliant at both
ends of the court and the front line of Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Monique
Currie and Nakia Sanford has been solid, though unspectacular. There's a
considerable fall-off after those four, however, as Nikki Blue is still
out and stand-ins Amber Jacobs and Coco Miller haven't set the world on
Hall of Fame career keeps trucking on... but the rest of the Comets continue
to struggle. Rookie Erica White has been better than expected and guard
Matee Ajavon continues to get plenty of looks, but she is just 2-13 from
the field over her last two games. Ajavon and veteran Mwadi Mabika are both
shooting below 30 percent, and Tamecka Dixon's .358 clip isn't that much
The Dream lost both ends of a home-and-home
against the Sky despite Sylvia Fowles being sidelined by a knee injury.
In their seven losses, they're getting outscored by an average of 15.43
points a game, worst in the league. On the positive side, though, veteran
guard Betty Lennox is among the league's scoring leaders. Also, Jennifer
Lacy has had two double-digit scoring games in her last three outings.
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.