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NEW YORK, June 24, 2008 — Like every week during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com Power Rankings. The Sparks keep their top spot, but a home-and-home series between the East's two strongest sides could sway the balance this week. The Silver Stars, too, continue their rise with two more victories.
As usual, there are plenty of close calls this week,
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.
|2008 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: June 24|
TEAM (last week's ranking)
|9-3||The Sparks retain the top spot,
despite a loss to smokin'-hot San Antonio, thanks to wins over Chicago and
Indiana. In the latter, yes, everyone knows that Candace Parker became the
second WNBA player to dunk in a regular season game, but she also had 10
points, 10 boards, 4 assists and 4 blocks. Lisa Leslie and DeLisha Milton-Jones
are coming close to joining her in double-double land and Kiesha Brown has
been very solid since getting tossed in at the point.
Looking ahead: 6/24 vs. SEA, 6/26 vs. WAS
|10-3||Sure, this week's wins came over Minnesota and
Atlanta, but wins are wins, and in this short regular season, every one
of them counts the same. Player of the Week Deanna Nolan put up a career-high
44 against the Lynx and rookies Tasha Humphrey and Alexis Hornbuckle are
working their way into the regular rotation. The Shock are looking strong
heading into a home-and-home series against the Sun, the team with which
they're tied atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Looking ahead: 6/24 @ CT, 6/26 vs. CT, 6/28 @ CHI, 6/29 vs. ATL
|10-3||The Sun have to be content with
their 3-2 record on their long, five-game West Coast swing. After Wednesday's
21-point loss at Phoenix, they rebounded to score a solid victory Friday
in Sacramento. Coach Mike Thibault continues to get solid play from Lindsay
Whalen, Asjha Jones, Tamika Whitmore and the now-starting Barbara Turner.
Meanwhile rookies Amber Holt, Sandrine Gruda, Ketia Swanier and Jolene Anderson
continue to get their feet wet as the wins keep coming in.
Looking ahead: 6/24 vs. DET, 6/26 @ DET, 6/27 vs. ATL, 6/29 vs. PHX
|8-4||There is no hotter team in the WNBA than the
Silver Stars, who have won five straight and could push that number to seven
with a sweep of their upcoming home-and-home vs. the Comets. Becky Hammon
could have been the West's Player of the Week, Sophia Young continues her
excellence in the paint and Ann Wauters is showing why coach Dan Hughes
was so keen on bringing her in this spring.
Looking ahead: 6/24 vs. HOU, 6/26 @ HOU, 6/28 vs. MIN
|8-6||Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird, Swin
Cash, Sheryl Swoopes and Tanisha Wright were all in double figures Friday
as the Storm stopped the Fever at home. Yolanda Griffith returned the lineup
after being sidelined briefly by an injury, as well, and with the weekend
addition of Camille Little from Atlanta, the Storm are a team with the players
to win it all. Whether or not they can do it will depend on how quickly
rookie coach Brian Agler can mesh the players' styles.
Looking ahead: 6/24 @ LA, 6/29 vs. WAS
|6-6||All-Star Tamika Catchings has made her much-awaited
return to the Fever lineup, but the Fever are just 1-2 so far with her.
Of course, it's hard to fault them for losing in Seattle and L.A. Catch
started off slowly, but has worked her way back to 17 points in 23-plus
minutes against the Sparks and should continue to get more and more involved
as she gets her timing back. Katie Douglas' numbers have slipped a touch,
but she and Tammy Sutton-Brown will only benefit from the return of a do-everything
player like Catchings.
Looking ahead: 6/24 vs. SAC, 6/26 @ NY, 6/28 @ HOU
|6-4||The Liberty have shown signs
of blowing up on an opponent all season long, and it finally happened Sunday
at home against the defending champs, as they scored a team-record 105 points
in slamming the Mercury. Janel McCarville is taking advantage of less athletic
posts and taking the ball to the hole, Tiffany Jackson had a career-high
21 against Phoenix on 8-8 shooting and four others were in double figures.
Point guard Loree Moore has returned from injury and appeared to be nearly
100 percent. Rookies Essence Carson and Leilani Mitchell have been solid
as well. If the Liberty can continue to mesh and play together in the way
they did on Sunday, they'll be a dangerous team heading into the postseason.
Looking ahead: 6/24 @ MIN, 6/26 vs. IND, 6/28 @ SAC
|6-6||Like the Liberty with their lack of a superstar,
the Monarchs are getting solid contributions from a group of players. Kara
Lawson and Rebekkah Brunson were All-Stars last year and, though their numbers
don't jump out at you, they're the leaders of the squad with veteran point
guard Ticha Penicheiro. Nicole Powell and Adrian Williams-Strong have been
steady as well, and rookie forward Crystal Kelly has been providing a major
boost off the pine.
Looking ahead: 6/24 @ IND, 6/26 @ MIN, 6/28 vs. NY
|6-6||Minnesota's free-fall continued
this week with tough losses to Detroit and Houston. The defensive issues
have gotten worse, which was partially responsible for Deanna Nolan's 44-point
game last Friday. But the Lynx still have plenty to smile about... Aside
from the never-ending greatness supplied by Seimone Augustus, rookies Candice
Wiggins, Charde Houston and Nicky Anosike have continued to impress. Last
year's No. 1 pick Lindsey Harding has returned to the lineup as well, and
it will be interesting to see how her quickness can be implemented in coach
Don Zierden's young, energetic offense.
Looking ahead: 6/24 vs. NY, 6/26 vs. SAC, 6/28 @ SA
|4-7||The Mighty Mercury appeared to be on an upswing
heading into New York on Sunday, but that was quickly dismissed as the defending
champs got throttled by the Liberty. And with four more road games on the
horizon, things don't get a whole lot easier. Still, with Diana Taurasi
and Cappie Pondexter (still the league's top two scorers) running the show
and coach Corey Gaines' offense continuing to gel, it's hard to imagine
Phoenix staying down for too long. As usual, the offense is doing well,
but the defense is allowing an astounding 90.55 ppg.
Looking ahead: 6/24 @ WAS, 6/26 @ CHI, 6/29 @ CT
|5-7||The Mystics have
struggled to this point in the season and they remain the lowest scoring
team in the league (68.67 ppg), but let's give credit where it's due. OK,
OK, their three straight wins have been over Chicago, Houston and Atlanta,
but as we've said, wins are wins. And thanks to Alana Beard's continued
scoring, Monique Currie's improved play and Nikki Blue's solid return to
the point guard slot, Washington has worked its way back into the Eastern
Conference playoff picture.
Looking ahead: 6/24 vs. PHX, 6/26 @ LA, 6/29 @ SEA
|4-8||Though they're still a bit of a longshot to make
the playoffs in the West, the Comets continue to show plenty of promise.
Aside from the obvious -- eventual Hall of Famer Tina Thompson -- the veteran
guard combo of Mwadi Mabika and Shannon Johnson has been settling in despite
their shooting troubles and are constantly being pushed by exciting rookies
Matee Ajavon and Erica White.
Looking ahead: 6/24 @ SA, 6/26 vs. SA, 6/28 vs. IND
|3-8||Yes, three of the Sky's four
straight losses have been on the road, but they're struggling right now
without exciting rookie Sylvia Fowles. Even though Chicago leads the league
in field goal percentage (.442), they're only middle of the pack in scoring
(76.64 ppg) to put points on the board and second to last in free-throw
shooting (.679). On the positive side, Jia Perkins has been scoring like
nobody's business, averaging 19.9 ppg in the month of June. Candice Dupree
is also doing her normal thing and stands among the league leaders in scoring,
rebounding and blocks.
Looking ahead: 6/26 vs. PHX, 6/28 vs. DET
|0-13||There is something to be said for consistency,
but this isn't the kind of consistency Marynell Meadors was hoping for.
Despite valiant efforts against San Antonio and Detroit and in Washington
this week, the Dream simply haven't put it together well enough to earn
their first win. Despite that, Ivory Latta has been on a major upswing,
averaging 12.2 ppg and netting a career-high 26 Sunday against her former
Shock teammates. Rookie Tamera Young is also contributing at both ends and
developing into a valuable member of Atlanta's roster.
Looking ahead: 6/27 @ CT, 6/29 @ DET