The Home Stretch
By Brian Martin, WNBA.com

The playoff picture is starting to come together with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season. One team has clinched (Minnesota) and two others are out (Tulsa and Washington). The rest are scrambling to be one of the eight teams with a chance to play into October.

As the action continues to heat up on the hardwood, let's take a look at how the teams shake up at the moment.

2011 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 8/26

TEAM (last week) W / L NOTES
1
Minnesota (1)
21-6 Another week goes by and the Lynx continue to pick up wins (2-0 over the last seven days) and continue to sit atop the power rankings. Minnesota clinched its first playoff berth since 2004 with a win over Los Angeles last Saturday and maintain a lead for best record in the league.
Upcoming Games: 8/28 vs Los Angeles, 8/30 @ Los Angeles, 9/02 @ Tulsa
2
Indiana (2)
19-8 The schedule was kind to the Fever this week, giving them six days off between games without travel involved. The break couldn't have come at a better time for a veteran team looking to make a deep playoff run. They have yet to clinch, but the Fever's grip on the top spot in the East has not loosened a bit.
Upcoming Games: 8/27 vs Atlanta, 8/30 @ Atlanta, 9/02 @ Connecticut
3
Connecticut (5)
17-10 Indiana's closest competition in the East hails from Connecticut, as the Sun look to return to the postseason after a two-year hiatus. After squandering a pair of wins last week (they gave up double-digit second-half leads in each), the Sun rebounded with a win over the surging Dream to right the ship.
Upcoming Games: 8/26 vs Phoenix, 8/28 @ Tulsa, 8/30 @ San Antonio
4
Phoenix (3)
15-11 At the moment Phoenix, remains the second-best team in the West, but they have two problems: 1) Diana Taurasi is suffering from back spasms and has missed the past two games and 2) the Seattle Storm are back to full strength and have closed the gap to a virtual tie in the standings.
Upcoming Games: 8/26 @ Connecticut, 8/28 @ Washington, 8/30 @ Tulsa
5
Atlanta (4)
14-13 Tuesday's road win over the Sky was huge for the Dream as they attempt to hold off Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East. The win gave the Dream a two-game lead on the Sky and also clinched the season series (3-1), which is the primary tiebreaker in case they end up with identical records. Nothing is guaranteed, but the Dream have a significant advantage.
Upcoming Games: 8/27 @ Indiana, 8/30 vs Indiana, 9/01 @ Washington
6
Seattle (8)
16-12 What a difference a three-time MVP makes, huh? Jokes aside, the return of Lauren Jackson has sparked a three-game win streak for the Storm to put them back in contention for the No. 2 spot in the West and the home-court advantage that comes along with it. Seattle is 12-2 at KeyArena and just 4-10 on the road.
Upcoming Games: 8/28 vs Los Angeles, 8/30 @ Los Angeles, 9/02 @ Tulsa
7
New York (6)
16-12 The Liberty were in danger of going 0-2 on a quick West coast trip to Seattle and Phoenix until Cappie Pondexter caught fire like she was playing NBA Jam in the fourth quarter. In the game's final six-and-a-half minutes, Pondexter scored 17 points - yes, 17 - while only missing one shot from the field and one from the line.
Upcoming Games: 8/28 @ Chicago, 8/30 vs Chicago, 9/02 @ Minnesota
8
Los Angeles (9)
12-15 Two straight wins by the Sparks - along with four straight losses by the Silver Stars - has put Los Angeles right back into the playoff picture as the Sparks currently sit just 1.5 games behind San Antonio for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. The return of Candace Parker has been key to their resurgence and also makes them a scary first-round matchup if they are able to sneak into the postseason.
Upcoming Games: 8/26 vs Tulsa, 8/28 @ Seattle, 8/30 vs Seattle
9
San Antonio (7)
13-13 The Silver Stars are in a free fall and a peek at the schedule makes it look like its about to get worse before it gets better, with a home-and-home series with the Lynx and a matchup with the Sun on the horizon. San Antonio's offense continues to struggle with the Stars averaging just 67.5 points per game in August.
Upcoming Games: 8/26 @ Minnesota, 8/28 vs Minnesota, 8/30 vs Connecticut
10
Chicago (10)
12-15 The Sky needed that win against the Dream on Tuesday and appeared to have it when Sylvia Fowles hit a jumper in the lane with 6.3 seconds to play. But the Sky were unable to hold on for the win and now are in serious danger of being on the outside looking in once again come playoff time.
Upcoming Games: 8/26 vs Washington, 8/28 vs New York, 8/30 @ New York
11
Washington (11)
5-21 The losses continue to pile up for the Mystics - three more this week and six in a row overall - as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention this week. To top things off, they were in town when a rare earthquake hit the East Coast and return home this weekend just in time for Hurricane Irene to show up.
Upcoming Games: 8/26 @ Chicago, 8/28 vs Phoenix, 8/30 @ Minnesota
12
Tulsa (12)
1-25 The Shock have entered the history books for the wrong reason, as they now have the longest losing streak in WNBA history - 20 games and counting after Thursday's loss to the Storm. Unfortunately the schedule doesn't let up with Los Angeles, Connecticut and Phoenix - all fighting for playoff positioning - coming up this week.
Upcoming Games: 8/26 @ Los Angeles, 8/28 vs Connecticut, 8/30 vs Phoenix