Lynx Remain Golden, Sparks Not Far Behind
By Aman Ali, WNBA.com

The Minnesota Lynx are the only defeated team in the league right now at an impressive 7-0. But there are four other teams with only one loss apiece giving the rankings a good shakeup this week.

The Los Angeles Sparks, with a 5-1 record, are not that far behind in the No. 2 spot. Where the remaining 10 teams in the league rank is where the fun begins.

2012 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 6/4

TEAM (last week) W / L NOTES
1
Minnesota (1)
7-0 The Lynx are 7-0. Enough said. Well, technically they’re on a 13-game winning steak if you consider the last time they lost was in the conference semifinals last year. But, this year's team is only two wins away from tying the 2001 and 2003 Los Angeles Sparks for most wins in a row to start the season (9). The Lynx could tie the record on June 9 against Tulsa and break the all-time record on June 15 at Phoenix. While the Lynx are not in the record book just yet, their start has been nothing short of phenomonal. And it's only more reason why the defending champs remain the ones to beat again this year.
Upcoming Games: 6/5 vs. Seattle, 6/9 @ Tulsa
2
Los Angeles (3)
5-1 The Lynx might tout the strongest record in the league right now, but the Sparks are easily the most exciting team to watch. Night after night, the tag-team explosive combo of Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike make this team exciting to watch. During the Sparks' last victory over the Storm, Ogwumike nailed a game-winning shot with just .02 seconds left. Expect MVP and Rookie of the Year talks to heat up for Parker and Ogwumike, respectively.
Upcoming Games: 6/8 vs. Phoenix, 6/13 @ Connecticut
3
Indiana (2)
4-1 They might have the same record as the Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun, but the Fever have racked up their wins against much tougher teams, including two back-to-back wins against the Atlanta Dream - one of the top teams in the league last year. Indiana's star Tamika Catchings is reminding people why she won the MVP title last year averaging more than 20 points a game this season.
Upcoming Games: 6/8 vs. Connecticut, 6/15 @ Washington
4
Chicago (7)
4-1 Chicago is the team with the biggest ranking surge this week. The Sky refuse to be written off by their critics coming out of the gate with only one loss to the Minnesota Lynx. Over the weekend, the team rallied from a 22-point deficit against the Dream to win in overtime by two points. They’ve got an easy schedule for the next few games, so expect them to remain towards the top of this ladder if they keep playing the way they have been.
Upcoming Games: 6/8 vs. Tulsa, 6/10 @ New York
5
Connecticut (4)
4-1 They may have one of the best records in the league losing only to the Minnesota Lynx, but the Sun have picked up their wins this season against easier teams to beat with victories against the Mystics, Silver Stars and two more versus the Liberty. Their games this week against the Fever and Dream will be more thorough tests to see if the Sun deserve to stay towards the top of these rankings any longer.
Upcoming Games:6/8 @ Indiana, 6/10 vs. Atlanta
6
Atlanta (5)
2-3 The Dream might be stumbling this season with a 2-3 losing record, but they’re playing tough teams and losing by incredibly small margins. They've displayed flashes of offensive chops, like on June 2 versus the Sky, where at one point they were up by 22 points. But the Dream ended up losing that game in overtime. If the Dream can prove they’re just as committed to defense as they are to offense, expect them to bump up a few notches on the ranking board.
Upcoming Games: 6/5 @ New York, 6/8 vs. San Antonio
7
San Antonio (8)
2-3 The Silver Stars lost by only four points to the powerhouse Minnesota Lynx making them one of the teams that got closest to beating the defending champs this season. But with a 2-3 record to start the year, only time will tell whether or not that proves the Silver Stars are worthy contenders this season, or if it was just an aberration that the Lynx game was even that close.
Upcoming Games: 6/8 @ Atlanta, 6/9 vs. Seattle
8
Phoenix (6)
2-3 The Mercury announced last week their star player Diana Taurasi will be sidelined indefinitely to nurse a hip injury, so expect this to be the last time the team will be even this high on the rankings board for weeks to come. Losing by 19 points to the Silver Stars without her is proof of that. But losing Taurasi is not only a blow to the Mercury, it’s a blow to WNBA fans everywhere. She was one of the most exciting players to watch in the league and it will be gloomy times for the Mercury until her return.
Upcoming Games: 6/8 @ Los Angeles, 6/15 vs. Minnesota
9
Seattle (9)
1-4 There’s no doubt the Storm have had the toughest schedule so far of all the teams this season, racking up losses to the Minnesota Lynx and three more to the Los Angeles Sparks. Losing Lauren Jackson to training with Australia for the 2012 Olympics is putting a strain on the team’s other star Sue Bird. Bird might be putting up impressive numbers, like 27 points against the Shock last week, but she cannot carry the entire team alone if they want to be championship contenders this season.
Upcoming Games: 6/5 @ Minnesota, 6/9 @ San Antonio
10
Washington (11)
1-4 The Washington Mystics are clearly on the road to rebuilding after gutting their roster in the offseason with trades and draft picks. But the Mystics are putting up impressive numbers individually. Breakout star Crystal Langhorne put up 27 points and five rebounds in the team’s loss to the Sun over the weekend. If the team can figure out their chemistry and play better as a cohesive unit, they have potential to move higher up on the rankings.
Upcoming Games: 6/8 vs. New York, 6/15 vs. Indiana
11
New York (10)
1-4 The Liberty were slapped with a string of losses this season including one by 26 points to the Atlanta Dream last month. But the Liberty might be getting their groove back if their win over the weekend to the Fever is indicative of what to expect in the days to come.
Upcoming Games: 6/5 vs. Atlanta, 6/8 @ Washington
12
Tulsa (12)
0-6 They’re 0-6. Not much else you can say about it. Tulsa, a very young team, has experienced some growing pains, losing three games by three points or less. New coach Gary Kloppenburg clearly has his work cut out for him this season if the team wants to redeem itself for its regrettable campaign in 2011.
Upcoming Games: 6/8 @ Chicago, 6/9 vs. Minnesota

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