WNBA.com Power Rankings: September 2, 2009

Just like all of the teams around the league, the WNBA.com Power Rankings are in the race to the finish as the regular season closes in under two weeks.

As teams jockey for playoff position down the stretch, the playoff picture is changing on almost a daily basis. While the power rankings only come out once a week, we also have some re-positioning taking place as a team makes its debut atop the rankings this week.

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.

Note: These rankings reflect games played through September 1.

2009 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: September 2

TEAM (last ranking) W / L NOTES
1
Phoenix (2)
20-10 The Mercury have a chance to make this choice look wise or foolish tonight in Indiana as they take on the Fever. With Diana Taurasi playing arguably the best basketball of her career, Cappie Pondexter returning to form after a short midseason slump and Penny Taylor getting more comfortable with every game, the Mercury appear poised for a strong playoff run.
Looking back: 8/27 @ LA (W 98-90), 8/29 vs CON (W 95-84), 9/1 @ DET (L 101-99)
Looking ahead: 9/2 @ IND, 9/5 vs ATL
2
Indiana (1)
20-8 I can't tell if the Fever are in a funk or if they are just on cruise control after wrapping up the Eastern Conference so early. Either way, they need to right their wrongs soon if they want to lock up the best record in the WNBA and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. The Fever have lost three of their last four games, two of which came at the hands of the Monarchs, who own the WNBA's worst record.
Looking back: 8/27 vs SAN (W 77-66), 8/29 vs SAC (L 79-78)
Looking ahead: 9/2 vs PHX, 9/4 @ DET, 9/6 vs WAS
3
Seattle (4)
19-11 First the good news: Seattle is riding a six-game win streak and has pulled within a game of Phoenix for the top spot in the West. Now the bad news: Lauren Jackson is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in her back. If this scenario sounds familiar it is because similar circumstances occured last year when Jackson missed the final eight games of the regular season and the playoffs, where the Storm were eliminated by the Sparks in the first round. If the season ended today, Seattle's first round opponent would be L.A.
Looking back: 8/25 vs WAS (W 78-68), 8/27 vs COn (W 86-74), 8/29 vs ATL W 91-84, 9/1 @ NY (W 65-58)
Looking ahead: 9/3 @ WAS, 9/5 @ MIN
4
Atlanta (5)
16-14 The Dream entered last night's game in Los Angeles with a 4-9 road record and came away from the Staples Center with an important 84-79 win over the fully-loaded Sparks. What makes the feat even more impressive is that they did it without leading scorer Chamique Holdsclaw, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Atlanta now holds a 1.5 game lead for second place in the East.
Looking back: 8/25 vs SAC (W 103-83), 8/27 @ DET (L 87-83), 8/29 @ SEA (L 91-84), 9/1 @ LA (W 84-79)
Looking ahead: 9/4 @ SAC, 9/5 @ PHX
5
Los Angeles (3)
15-15 After rattling off six straight wins, the Sparks have lost two of their last three. Couple that with Seattle's win streak and the Sparks' hopes to capture homecourt advantage in the first round are all but dashed. Now L.A. must focus on their upcoming pair of games against San Antonio, which currently sits two games behind the Sparks for third place in the West.
Looking back: 8/25 vs CHI (W 75-63), 8/27 vs PHX (L 98-90), 8/30 vs CON (W 91-81), 9/1 vs ATL (L 84-79)
Looking ahead: 9/5 @ SA
6
Detroit (9)
14-15 The defending champs are back in the playoff picture after winning five of their last six games. But like so many teams currently holding playoff spots, the Shock are missing one of their stars players as Katie Smith has missed the team's last two games with lower back pain. However, the second half resurgence by Deanna Nolan and a vintage 20 and 10 from Cheryl Ford last night against Phoenix have the Shock looking good.
Looking back: 8/25 @ CON (W 90-70), 8/27 vs ATL (W 87-83), 8/29 @ SAN (L 100-88), 9/1 vs PHX (W 101-99)
Looking ahead: 9/4 vs IND, 9/6 vs CHI
7
Washington (8)
14-15 The Mystics put up a 1-1 week, but move up a spot due to the struggles of Connecticut and Chicago in the East. If the season were to end today, the Mystics would be playoff bound, but there are still games to be played and they are sure to be tough games for Washington as they face red-hot Seattle at home before hitting the road to face Chicago and Indiana to close the week.
Looking back: 8/25 @ SEA (L 78-68), 8/30 vs MIN (W 81-75)
Looking ahead: 9/3 vs SEA, 9/4 @ CHI, 9/6 @ IND
8
San Antonio (11)
13-17 With their backs against the wall, the Silver Stars responded with back-to-back wins over Detroit and Minnesota. The win over the Lynx was crucial as it gave the Silver Stars a one-game lead for the fourth spot in the West, and also sealed the tiebreaker with Minnesota in case they end up with identical records. San Antonio still has four games to play, including a pair with L.A. and a season-finale against Seattle, so the Stars need keep the same sense of urgency they displayed this week.
Looking back: 8/27 @ IND (L 77-66), 8/29 vs DET (W 100-88), 9/1 vs MIN (W 84-82)
Looking ahead: 9/5 vs LA
9
Chicago (7)
14-16 The Sky continue to struggle without the Sylvia Fowles on the floor. Fowles has now missed five straight games with an ankle injury and the Sky have gone 1-4 in that span. However, they remain just a half game out of the playoff picture with four games to play. The Sky's playoff fate will likely be determined this week as their next two games are against the two teams directly ahead of them in the standings (Washington and Detroit).
Looking back: 8/25 @ LA (L 75-63), 8/28 vs NY (W 96-77), 8/30 @ NY (L 77-63)
Looking ahead: 9/4 vs WAS, 9/6 @ DET
10
Connecticut (6)
14-17 Connecticut was hit with an incredibly difficult stretch over the past week, which could result in a premature ending to a promising season. The Sun were struck by tragedy last week as the wife of assistant coach Scott Hawk died unexpected on Monday, Aug. 24. With heavy hearts the Sun had to play five games over an eight-day span and lost all five. Connecticut has been without All-Star Asjha Jones for the past two weeks with an Achilles injury and coach Mike Thibault does not expect her back for the remainder of the regular season.
Looking back: 8/25 vs DET (L 90-70), 8/27 @ SEA (L 86-74), 8/29 @ PHX (L 95-84), 8/30 @ LA (L 91-81), 9/1 @ SAC (L 90-70)
Looking ahead: 9/4 vs NY
11
Minnesota (13)
12-18 The Lynx were able to end their recent six-game losing streak with a home win over Sacramento last week, but were unable to build on it as they lost their next two games - road contests with Washington and San Antonio. The double-overtime loss to the Silver Stars on Tuesday was the most costly as it put them a game back of the Stars for the fourth playoff spot in the West and sealed the tiebreaker for San Antonio as well.
Looking back: 8/28 vs SAC (W 100-95), 8/30 @ WAS (L 81-75), 9/1 @ SAN (L 84-82)
Looking ahead: 9/5 vs SEA
12
New York (12)
12-18 While the Liberty are still mathematically alive in the playoff race (2.5 games back with four to play), their hopes of postseason play took a major hit with losses at Chicago and at home to a shorthanded Seattle squad over the past week.
Looking back: 8/28 @ CHI (L 96-77), 8/30 vs CHI (W 77-63), 9/1 vs SEA (L 65-58)
Looking ahead: 9/4 @ CON
13
Sacramento (12)
11-20 Much like the Liberty, the Monarchs chances to make the postseason are virtually non-existent as they are 2.5 games back with only three games to play. However, Sacramento has plenty of pride as they have won back-to-back games against the Fever and Sun to help shape the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They may only play three more games this season, but the Monarchs do not plan to go home quietly.
Looking back: 8/25 @ ATL (L 103-83), 8/28 @ MIN (L 100-95), 8/29 @ IND (W 79-78), 9/1 vs CON (W 90-70)
Looking ahead: 9/4 vs ATL

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