Silver Stars are on fire
By Aman Ali, WNBA.com

The San Antonio Silver Stars are on an impressive hot streak this week, coming out of the weekend with a big win over defending champion Minnesota, the WNBA's top team, for their third straight win.

Everyone else, on the other hand, seems to be fizzling with a string of teams seeing their budding winning streaks coming to an end. Time to rank 'em!

2012 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 7/03

TEAM (last week) W / L NOTES
1
Minnesota (1)
13-2 The Minnesota Lynx lost to the San Antonio Silver Stars over the weekend, giving them their second loss in five games. Of course, that still means the Lynx had won three games in a row before falling to San Antonio on Sunday -- and each by more than 12 points (one, a 102-70 win over the Liberty on June 21, by 32). They've slowed a little from their torrid start, but the Lynx's 13-2 record is still superior compared to any other team. How long the Lynx will remain superior though is the question.
Upcoming Games: 7/5 @Los Angeles, 7/7 vs. Connecticut
2
San Antonio (4)
7-5 The San Antonio Silver Stars beat the Los Angeles Sparks not once, but twice last week and come out of the weekend beating the Minnesota Lynx too, in a match where the Lynx never had a lead. Let that sink in. Until then, the Lynx -- who'd set the record for the best-ever start to a season when they rolled out to a 10-0 start -- had lost just one game. Then, on Sunday, with Becky Hammon going for 23 points and 8 assists and Sophia Young going for 22 and 10 rebounds, the Silver Stars dominated. They've won five out of their last six games and played the last three games without trailing their opponents at all. They might not have the record to show for it yet, but the level of fire the Silver Stars played with last week is phenomenal. The question remains though how long the Silver Stars can keep up this impressive pace after a string of losses earlier in the season.
Upcoming Games:7/3 @ Phoenix, 7/5 @Indiana
3
Connecticut (3)
10-4 The Connecticut Sun continue this week as the top team in the East, which by no means is an easy feat when the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever are knocking on your door. But that looks like it's going to change sooner rather than later. Two weeks ago, the Sun lost to the Indiana Fever by more than 30 points - the worse loss in the team's history. And on Sunday, the team shot 32.5 percent from the floor in their overtime loss to Seattle. After starting their year at 8-3, the Sun have begun to sputter a little bit. Luckily for them, they've got Eastern Conference Player of the Month Tina Charles at center.
Upcoming Games: 7/6 @ Tulsa, 7/7 @. Minnesota
4
Seattle (6)
7-8 The Seattle Storm's stock continues to improve, coming out of the weekend with an impressive overtime win against the Connecticut Sun. In the team's last seven games, the Storm have racked up wins in six of them. Camile Little lead the Storm with 27 points against the Sun. On defense, the Storm managed to contain the Sun's powerhouse center Tina Charles to 13 points. The team may still have a 7-8 record that's too hard to ignore but they're slowly digging themselves out of the hole they created with a sluggish season start.
Upcoming Games: 7/7 @ Los Angeles, 7/8 vs. Phoenix
5
Indiana (5)
8-5 The Indiana Fever stay at the five spot this week after dropping a Chicago Sky team playing without leading scorer Epiphanny Prince by 10 points. The Fever didn't play great, but they'll have two big tests this week, when they take on the surging Silver Stars on Thursday and then meet up with the Sky again on Saturday. Consider this past week for them a free pass.
Upcoming Games: 7/5 vs. San Antonio, 7/7 vs. Chicago
6
Los Angeles (2)
10-6 The Los Angeles Sparks take a tumbling on the rankings board this week in midst of a three-game losing streak. Two of those losses were to the Silver Stars and the other was to the Tulsa Shock - the team with the worst record in the league. Candace Parker is playing stellar for the team, earning her the award for Western Conference Player of the Month presented by Boost Mobile, but it hasn't been enough to carry the team to victory. It would be foolish to write off the Sparks considering they have a solid roster and a record to back it up, but their losing streak does cause some concern.
Upcoming Games: 7/5 vs. Minnesota, 7/7 vs. Seattle
7
Chicago (7)
8-5 The Chicago Sky snapped their four-game losing streak with a win against the Atlanta Dream. The Sky's win also happened to snap the Dream's three-game winning streak. It was good morale-booster for the Sky, who have been struggling to gain ground in Prince's absence. It doesn't seem like the team though has figured out a strategy to fill her void after they also lost last week in double digits to the Indiana Fever. It's a shame considering how spectacular the team was playing (started off the season with a 7-1 record) with Prince before she was sidelined with an injury.
Upcoming Games: 7/6 vs. New York, 7/7 @ Indiana
8
Atlanta (8)
7-8 The Atlanta Dream saw their three-game winning streak come to an end by the hands of the Chicago Sky over the weekend. But make no mistake about it, by no means are the Dream playing poorly this season. Most of their losses like the one to the Sky were by narrow margins of less than 3-4 points. The team just needs a little push to get them over the hump in order to move up higher on the rankings board.
Upcoming Games: 7/7 @ Phoenix, 7/8 @ Los Angeles
9
New York (9)
5-7 The New York Liberty hold their spot on the rankings board after putting an end to the Seattle Storm's four-game winning streak over the weekend. Essence Carson led the Liberty with 22 points and Cappie Pondexter had 20 to beat the Storm by 18 points. But the team's advancement on the rankings board is only a tiny bump considering the Liberty have lost four out of their last six games. The team still has their work cut out for them starting with getting their record above .500.
Upcoming Games: 7/6 @ Chicago, 7/8 vs. San Antonio
10
Washington (10)
3-10 The Washington Mystics snapped their five-game losing streak over the weekend with a 13-point win over the Phoenix Mercury. Rookie Natalie Novosel played her best game yet for the Mystics, racking up 12 points, six rebounds and four steals - all career highs for her. But beating the Mercury, whose roster has practically been gutted with injuries, doesn't outweigh the fact the Mystics are still 3-10 so the win so the win only deserves a tiny bump on the rankings board.
Upcoming Games: 7/6 vs. San Antonio, 7/8 @ Tulsa
11
Tulsa (11)
2-12 The Tulsa Shock last week grabbed headlines by beating the Los Angeles Sparks by 16 points. That's the same number of points the Shock lost by to the Sparks less than a week before. Riquana Williams racked up 27 points in the game - the highest scoring total for any WNBA rookie this season. But the Shock failed to capitalize on the win by losing to the Atlanta Dream a few days later by double digits. Despite the win against the Sparks, it doesn't change the fact the Shock have the worst record in the league at 2-12.
Upcoming Games: 7/6 vs. Connecticut, 7/8 vs. Washington
12
Phoenix (10)
4-10 After losing to the Washington Mystics by 13 points over the weekend, the Phoenix Mercury continue to struggle without their star players Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree - who have all been sidelined with injuries. Sam Prahalis has been playing stellar for the Mercury and was just named the league's Rookie of the Month, but her contributions won't be enough to fill the void of the team's missing powerhouses. The team has had a few weeks now to adjust to losing their star players and so far they haven't been able to do so.
Upcoming Games: 7/3 vs. San Antonio, 7/5 @ Indiana

More

Video

Postgame: McBride and Young-Malcolm

Sophia Young-Malcolm and Kayla McBride talk about Game 1 of the Stars' series with the Lynx.

Postgame: Dan Hughes

Dan Hughes speaks with the press following Game 1 of the Stars and Lynx Playoff series.

Postgame: Moore and Whalen

Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen talk about the keys to a win in Game 1 for the Lynx.

Postgame: Cheryl Reeve

Cheryl Reeve talks with the media following the Lynx win in Game 1.

Stars vs. Lynx: Game 1

Maya Moore scores 26 points to lead the Lynx to a Game 1 win over the Stars.