After 34 regular season games for each of the 13 WNBA teams, the questions have been partially answered and the parity has been somewhat resolved. From the original 13, only eight are left to compete for the shiny trophy. Standings and records don't matter, and dare we say, even the Power Rankings can be thrown out the window. The teams will battle it out with each other to be number one when all is said and done. So let the games begin...

2004 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Playoff Edition
TEAM (last week)
REC.
NOTES
1 25-9 The final regular season Power Rankings would not be right if they did not have the best team in the regular season at the top. Despite struggling out of the gate, the Sparks have been the most dominant team in the WNBA, finishing with five more wins than the next best team. Lisa Leslie played like an MVP all year long and the team only got stronger with the mid-season losses of Olympian DeLisha Milton-Jones and Coach Michael Cooper. The rest of the teams should be ready for the Sparks, because the playoffs are when they perform their best.
Next: at Sacramento
2
20-14

Seattle was the league's best team through the first half of the season, but was unable to hold onto that momentum after the Olympic break, even having a losing record in September. Yet, they were still better than any team but the Sparks. If Jackson, Bird and co. can find their early season mojo, they could also be a force to be reckoned with in the weeks to come.
Next: at Minnesota

3 18-16 The Sun four of their final five games to win the Eastern Conference title for the first time. Who would have thought it was possible for a team that started out the season and spent much of the season in the bottom half of the Power Rankings. But with All-Stars in Nykesha Sales, Taj McWillimas-Franklin, Wendy Palmer and Lindsay Whalen, should we really be surprised? A balanced but starter-heavy team, Connecticut could continue to surprise well into the playoffs.
Next: at Washington
4
18-16 Up-and-down-and-up again. After a season of inconsistency, the Liberty finished on a high note and claimed second place. Veterans Becky Hammon, Vickie Johnson, Elena Baranova and Crystal Robinson will play a lot of minutes against the defending champions and need to knock down the 3's to prevent the Shock from getting out and running all over the place.
Next: at Detroit
5
18-18 Since the Olympics, the Lynx have played solid team basketball and gotten behind two rookie centers heading into the playoffs. But after a full season, Nicole Ohlde and Vanessa Hayden are no longer rookies. With veterans like Teresa Edwards, Helen Darling and Tamika Williams in the lockerroom, this young team won't lose sight of the magnitude of the upcoming series. Shutting down Lauren Jackson might be a greater challenge.
Next: vs. Seattle
6 17-17 The Mystics continued their meteoric rise through the rankings last week and completed a feat that would have seemed unthinkable in the beginning of the season. Riding the elevated play of Alana Beard, Stacey Dales-Schuman, Chasity Melvin, Nakia Sanford and Tamich Jackson, the Mystics qualified for the playoffs without superstar Chamique Holdsclaw. The Mystics won four in a row before falling in the finale in New York.
Next: vs. Connecticut
7 18-16 A full game and a half out of a playoff spot at the beginning of last week, the Monarchs won their final three games in a row to get into the playoffs and come from behind to edge out the Mercury. Sacramento's frontcourt depth could pose a serious challenge for the Sparks, who split the season series with the Monarchs.
Next: vs. Los Angeles
8
Detroit (11)
17-17 The Shock were the eighth and final team to qualify for the postseason, defeating the Charlotte Sting at home on the last day of the season in a win-or-go-home contest. Detroit actually won three in a row down the stretch without superstar forward Swin Cash. Can they sustain their momentum against the Liberty. Rebounding and defending the outside shot will be keys for the Shock's repeat quest.
Next: vs. New York


Better Luck Next Year
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Houston (12)
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