The season’s first edition of the Power Rankings comes with a number of questions:
1. How much can we really know about a team after only a one week, as most teams have played only one or two games thus far?
Sure first impressions are great, but can sometimes be fleeting. Last season’s power rankings opened with the Minnesota Lynx at the top spot as they opened up the season on fire, winning their first five games. However, the team was unable to endure that pace, especially after the season-ending injury to Seimone Augustus, and they tumbled down the rankings.
2. How much does early season performance have to do with team chemistry?
With so many teams making significant moves in the offseason, it’s obviously going to take some time for the team to jell and find their way. To make matters worse, with such a short training camp and with many players arriving late or missing camp altogether due to overseas commitments, there’s very little time to practice before the games start to count.
3. How much will the rankings change once teams get back to full strength?
The answer to this question will play itself out of the coming weeks and months and it really is what makes these rankings fun. As we see teams come together and hit their stride, you will see them climb the ranks until we have a more accurate look at what the 2010 WNBA landscape looks like.
|2010 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: May 21|
|TEAM||W / L||NOTES|
|2-0||The Washington Mystics opened the season without their franchise player Alana Beard, who is on the shelf for the year with an ankle injury. They also opened the season with a back-to-back on the road against Indiana and Minnesota. The result was a pair of impressive wins and the top spot in the rankings.
Next Three Games: 5/21 vs New York, 5/23 @ Connecticut, 5/25 @ Seattle
|2-0||The Storm make a strong case for the top spot as well, with a pair of wins, including a 14-point victory over the Sparks. Seattle is a team that returns its core group of plays and the continuity showed. It also helped that they opened the season at home, where they always have a home-court advantage.
Next Three Games: 5/22 @ Phoenix, 5/25 vs Washington, 5/27 @ Chicago
|2-0||The Dream opened with a road-home back to back and finished the opening weekend with a pair of wins by a combined nine points. After a home game against the Sun on Friday, the Dream embark on a four-game road trip, including a three-game West Coast swing, which will be a good test early on for the squad.
Next Three Games: 5/21 vs Connecticut, 5/23 @ New York, 5/28 @ Phoenix
|1-0||The defending champs opened up their title defense with a win on opening day against Los Angeles in a tightly contested game. That was followed by a full week off, which allows them plenty of time to practice as a unit, something that they were unable to do in training camp due to overseas commitments.
Next Three Games: 5/22 vs Seattle, 5/25 @ Tulsa, 5/28 vs Atlanta
|1-0||Another team that can take advantage of a light schedule in the first week is the Sun. After opening the season with a win against the Sky, in which rookie Tina Charles posted the first of many double-doubles that are bound to come in her WNBA career, the Sun had time to let all of their new pieces work together on the practice floor.
Next Three Games: 5/21 @ Atlanta, 5/23 vs Washington, 527 vs Minnesota
|1-0||The new trio of Cappie Pondexter, Nicole Powell and Taj McWilliams-Franklin impressed the home crowd on Sunday with a hard-fought win over the Sky. With four new starters on the floor, this team looks nothing like last year's team that finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Next Three Games: 5/21 @ Washington, 5/23 vs Atlanta, 5/28 @ San Antonio
|1-1||After opening the season with a close loss to the Dream, the Silver Stars rebounded and picked up their first win of the Sandy Brondello era on Thursday in Tulsa. In addition to the predictable solid play from Becky Hammon and Sophia Young, the Silver Stars got a big game from new arrival Michelle Snow, who posted 13 points and 15 boards against the Shock.
Next Three Games: 5/22 vs Los Angeles, 5/28 vs New York, 5/30 vs Seattle
|1-2||In each of the past two years the Lynx have started fast and stumbled late. Maybe this is the year they do it the other way around. As they await the return of Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins from injury, the Lynx will need to stay within striking distance of the West leaders and hope for a late-season push once their stars return.
Next Three Games: 5/23 vs Tulsa, 5/27 @ Connecticut, 5/29 vs Chicago
|0-2||New Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom predicted an opening day victory over the defending champion Mercury and the Sparks nearly delivered as they fell by a single point due to a pair of late free throws. The following night in Seattle, the Sparks were in a tight game once again until the Storm took the game over in the fourth quarter. Whether it was fatigue from opening the season with a road back-to-back or just a poor performance, it equals an 0-2 start in L.A.
Next Three Games: 5/22 @ San Antonio, 5/28 vs Washington, 5/30 vs Atlanta
|0-2||When you talk about teams that had little time to practice together in training camp, the prime example is the Fever, which had four of its starters miss training camp due to overseas commitments and return to the U.S. just days before the season opener. On top of that they opened the season with a back-to-back and ended up with a pair of losses. The defending East champs lost their first two games a year ago and then rolled off 11 straight wins. Let's see what they do this year.
Next Three Games: 5/22 @ Chicago, 5/23 vs Chicago, 5/29 @ Tulsa
|0-2||The new-look Sky opened the season on the road with a back-to-back and nearly spoiled the season opener in New York with a strong fourth-quarter rally after falling behind in the third. The resiliency was good to see, as was the play of Sylvia Fowles in the post who at times looked unguardable on the block.
Next Three Games: 5/22 vs Indiana, 5/23 @ Indiana, 5/27 vs Seattle
|0-2||The Shock opened the season with a pair of games in their new home, but were unable to record the first win of the Tulsa era. In both games the team fell behind early -- trailing by double digits in the first quarter --.and had to rally back into the game. The team heads out on the road for the first time this weekend, in search of its first win.
Next Three Games: 5/23 @ Minnesota, 5/25 vs Phoenix, 5/29 vs Indiana