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NEW YORK, September 10, 2008 — It's the final week of the regular season, so while some teams are nearly set to shut it down for the winter, the top eight teams below are all looking to kick it into full gear for the start of the playoffs next Thursday.

As always, 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: September 10
TEAM (last week's ranking)
W/L
NOTES
1 22-10 Three consecutive wins over L.A., Connecticut and New York bring the Silver Stars back up to the top spot, both in the West and in the Power Rankings. And they seem to be peaking at the right time. Becky Hammon lit up her former Liberty teammates for 30 on Tuesday, Sophia Young's MVP-caliber season has continued and Ann Wauters is a legit threat in the post capable of playing with just about anyone in the league. Helen Darling also seems to be healthy after missing a few games, so the Stars have to be the favorites to come out of the West right now.
Looking ahead: 9/11 vs. CON, 9/13 vs. SAC
2
20-12 The Shock's three straight wins weren't against quite the same level of competition as San Antonio's, but their recent run has them back atop the Eastern standings because they hold the tie-breaker over Connecticut. Deanna Nolan is making a run of her own at the MVP award while Katie Smith is set to show her worth again in the playoffs. Perhaps more importantly, Taj McWilliams-Franklin has been terrific filling in for Cheryl Ford since coming over from Washington and could be the inside force the Shock need to return to the Finals.
Looking ahead: 9/11 vs. WAS, 9/14 @ NY
3
21-11 Seattle has continued its impressive post-Olympics, sans-Lauren Jackson run, but Tuesday's loss in Sacramento hurts their chances at earning home-court in the West. Still, coach Brian Agler has to be delighted with the improved scoring from Sue Bird and the recent contributions from playoff-tested Yolanda Griffith and Swin Cash. Camille Little has continued to improve as well and her versatility will help against probable first-round opponent L.A.
Looking ahead: 9/12 vs. ATL, 9/14 @ LA
4 20-12 The Sun had won six straight before running into the San Antonio buzzsaw on national TV on Sunday. Then Tuesday, they fell in Houston to a Comets team that had lost five straight and was already eliminated from the playoffs. Lindsay Whalen hasn't been up to her early season level since missing a few games with an ankle injury, but it appears that she's on track to be 100 percent come playoff time. Asjha Jones has continued undoubtedly her finest season as a pro and Tamika Whitmore has done a marvelous job in her maiden voyage in Connecticut.
Looking ahead: 9/11 @ SAN, 9/13 vs. WAS
5 19-13 Which Sparks team will come to play in the postseason? The one that fell by 18 on the road in San Antonio last Friday? Or the one that held those same Silver Stars to 53 points in a win the previous Saturday? Defense wins championships, so they say, and that could be the biggest factor for offensive-minded L.A. where Lisa Leslie is making a run at another DPOY award, Candace Parker is as agile as they come... oh, and 7-2 Margo Dydek is set to join the fray.
Looking ahead: 9/11 vs. ATL, 9/14 vs. SEA
6
18-13 The Liberty have the talent and the depth to succeed come playoff time, but injuries pose some major questions to their immediate future. Leading scorer Shameka Christon returned to the lineup Tuesday with 15 points, but Tiffany Jackson hasn't played since before the Olympics and Janel McCarville is still reportedly day to day. And while Cathrine Kraayeveld has been solid and Essence Carson, Jessica Davenport and Erlana Larkins have impressed in steadily increasing minutes, Loree Moore and Leilani Mitchell have struggled a bit at the point guard spot.
Looking ahead: 9/11 @ IND, 9/12 @ CHI, 9/14 vs. DET
7 18-14 Unlike their Cali-based sistren in L.A., defense has historically been the name of the game for the Monarchs. But this year, they've allowed a pedestrian 75.1 ppg, just eighth best in the WNBA. It's conceivable that they'll be able to lock it down a bit more in the postseason, but they'll need more reliable scoring from Kara Lawson and Nicole Powell to combat any continued defensive let-down. Veteran point Ticha Penicheiro will be valuable in these shortened series, Rebekkah Brunson should be improving every day and the Monarchs will need continued energy and output off the bench from youngsters Crystal Kelly and Laura Harper.
Looking ahead: 9/12 @ HOU, 9/13 @ SAN
8
15-17 While the Fever have seemingly underachieved much of the season, they're coming together at the right time. Fresh off her gold medal in Beijing, Tamika Catchings appears to be fully healthy and has been wreaking havoc on the rest of the league, averaging 20.4 points and 8.4 boards a game since Aug. 30. And despite her underwhelming offensive play of late, Katie Douglas is a money player and a shutdown defender come playoff time. The recent injury to Tammy Sutton-Brown is worrisome, but after 19 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday's loss to Minnesota, it's safe to say she's ready for the postseason.
Looking ahead: 9/11 vs. NY,
9
Phoenix (12)
15-17 No, the Mercury won't be in the playoffs to attempt to defend their 2007 WNBA title, but they sure gave it a run. Phoenix had averaged 94.3 ppg in three straight wins over the Lynx, Monarchs and Comets before Tuesday's setback at Detroit. Diana Taurasi may be having the best single season of any player in the league and Cappie Pondexter has backed up her Finals MVP honor with her most productive season. Le'coe Willingham, too, has sparkled in her first season in the desert. But if the Merc hope to be back in the thick of things next year, some of their younger players -- LaToya Pringle, chief among them -- need to step it up a notch. Oh, and the return of Penny Taylor might help, too.
Looking ahead: 9/12 @ MIN, 9/14 @ IND
10
Houston (10)
15-17 The Comets haven't been fully able to overcome the loss of Sheryl Swoopes this past offseason, but that doesn't mean there aren't positives for Karleen Thompson and company to take from the 2008 season. Tina Thompson is clearly still among the world's elite players. The trio of Michelle Snow, Sancho Lyttle and Mistie Williams, with more consistency, could be dangerous in years to come. And young guards Matee Ajavon and Erica White could end up being big-time players in this league.
Looking ahead: 9/12 vs. SAC, 9/14 @ CHI
11
15-17 There is still no word on the injuries Tuesday to Minnesota stars Seimone Augustus and Candace Wiggins, but since the Lynx are already out of the playoff hunt, it's likely the team's less-used youngsters will get more time over the final two games. Rookies Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston have both had above-par premiers on the WNBA stage and Lindsey Harding, too, has appeared somewhat reinvigorated -- posting 11 points and 10 assists last Saturday against the Storm -- after a difficult start. The Lynx could be fun to watch next season and beyond.
Looking ahead: 9/12 vs. PHO, 9/14 @ WAS
12
Chicago (11)
12-20 The Sky have been much improved since the return of rookie center Sylvia Fowles and they too will have a lot to build on in 2009. With Fowles, Candice Dupree and Jia Perkins, coach Steven Key's squad boasts three of the league's top youngsters. And with the continued offensive development of Armintie Price and a likely top three draft pick in the mix, things will be looking up in the Windy City.
Looking ahead: 9/12 vs. NY, 9/14 vs. HOU
13
10-21 The Mystics, also, are looking to the future. And with Tasha Humphrey already establishing herself as a force, Crystal Langhorne set for a larger role in '09 and with the omnipresent Alana Beard manning the perimeter, there is reason for hope in the nation's capital. If Monique Currie and Nakia Sanford can finally step into the roles the Mystics brass has hoped they'd already be in next season, a return to the playoff should be well within reach.
Looking ahead: 9/11 @ DET, 9/13 @ CON, 9/14 vs. MIN
14
Atlanta (14)
3-29 It's tough to take a lot of positives from a three-win season, but the Dream can take pride in the fact that they've been involved in many close games against good teams before faltering down the stretch. Betty Lennox has been the scorer Marynell Meadors hoped she'd be and Ivory Latta has stepped up in a major way from her limited playing time in her rookie campaign. If the Dream's tree-sized trio of Katie Feenstra (6'8"), Alison Bales (6'7") and Erika Desouza (6'5") continue to develop next season, the rest of the East may be in for some tough matchups.
Looking ahead: 9/11 @ LA, 9/12 @ SEA
More »

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