WNBA.com Power Rankings: July 19, 2005

After taking a break for the 2005 WNBA All-Star Game, the Power Rankings are back. The team of Power Rankings writers is back from their Caribbean vacation, rested, relaxed and ready to crunch the numbers once again and see where the teams fall relative to one another. Only five more weeks remain in the regular season, so every game takes on new meaning. As an interesting comparison, check out where teams were in Week One compared to where they are now.

2005 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week Eight
TEAM (last)
1 14-4Prior to winning their last two contests, at home against the Comets and on the road against Minnesota, the Sun sandwiched the All-Star break with two losses against their closest two rivals in the Eastern Conference standings, the Liberty and Fever. Connecticut already has 12 wins against the West but only two against the East, but consider that most of their remaining games come against the East. Is this a sign of rocky times ahead? Probably not considering most of the games are at home, where the Sun are a perfect 7-0 so far this season.
Upcoming: at Charlotte, at Detroit
2 13-5Don't look now, but the Monarchs are just a game behind the Sun for the best overall record in the WNBA. The Monarchs also have won two games in a row and are 7-1 at home. Last week, the Monarchs had no problem dispatching the Silver Stars and Mystics at home. With two All-Stars, a healthy Ticha Penicheiro and the most improved player this season, the Monarchs show no signs of slowing down.
Upcoming: at Houston, vs. New York

The Fever are one of the league's hottest teams, having won three straight. Their last two wins were impressive home-and-home victories of the Detroit Shock. Tamika Catchings scored 21 points to lead the Fever to a 59-58 triumph on Sunday in Detroit after scoring 20 points and collecting 14 rebounds in Friday's win.
Upcoming: at Minnesota, vs. San Antonio

11-7 The Houston Comets were the hottest team in the league, winning five straight before losing to New York and Connecticut last week. A trip to Charlotte was just what they needed to get back on track, though they were on the verge of their third straight loss when Sheryl Swoopes took matters into her own hands, scoring 14 of her 20 points in a game-ending run as the Comets sped to a 67-55 victory. If she keeps this up, she could add a league MVP award to her All-Star award.
Upcoming: vs. Sacramento, vs. Washington
5 10-8Just when you think the Sparks are back and ready to dominate in the second half of the season, they surprise you once again with their inconsistent play. L.A. got to three games above .500 with a win over the Sting at home, but then were beaten by the defending champions at home on Saturday night. After missing the entire first half of the season, the team welcomes back a familiar face to the lineup, forward Mwadi Mabika, who has been with the team since Day One.
Upcoming: vs. Washington, at Houston
10-9Another of the inconsistent teams hovering around the .500 mark, the Lynx had an impressive showing in New York on Friday night, leaving Madison Square Garden with a win. However, they were unable to sustain that momentum at home on Sunday when the league's best team, the Sun, pounced on them at home. Katie Smith has not been the scoring machine that she was in the first half of the season, but Vanessa Hayden and Nicole Ohlde are proving to be an unstoppable tandem in the middle.
Upcoming: vs. Indiana, vs. New York
10-10Admit it. You were ready to count this team out when they fell to two games below .500 last week, right? Monkey! But after a win at home over the Silver Stars and a tough win in L.A. in back-to-back nights, the Storm are showing that they are not giving up without a fight and are just a half game behind the Lynx for fourth place. As was the case last year, this team's health will be the key factor in determining just how far they can go.
Upcoming: vs. New York, vs. Detroit
8-8They may not be as streaky as they were last season, but the Liberty have been up-and-down as well so far this season, losing three in a row twice and winning three in a row twice. Crystal Robinson saved the day with a clutch 3-pointer to defeat the Comets in Houston on Tuesday, but a weakness in their interior defense was exposed on Friday night in a home loss to the Lynx. They have played fewer games than anyone this season, but the west coast road trip they have currently embarked on could be a key point in the season.
Upcoming: at Seattle, at Phoenix
9 9-10Just when we were ready to start thinking of the Mystics as one of the better teams in the league this season, a week in which they climbed above .500 for the first time all season, Washington was hit with a west coast barrage of their own, losing in Phoenix and Sacramento. Their next four games also come against the West, so the Mystics could either put themselves in a really good spot of be left hanging by a thread by this time next week.
Upcoming: at Los Angeles, at Houston
Detroit (8)
7-10Speaking of hanging by a thread, the Detroit Shock continue to lose (mostly to the Indiana Fever, who beat Detroit twice last week). Swin Cash finally returned to the lineup, but that came just as Elaine Powell was suspended for five games. Without their entire unit on the court this season, the Shock have looked confused. One thing is certain, however, and that is if the Shock keep losing, they will find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Upcoming: vs. Connecticut, at Seattle
Phoenix (13)
7-11Just two weeks ago, we here at the Power Rankings staff were checking the Mercury for a pulse. But the past two weeks have been huge for Phoenix as they rise back into the playoff picture. Four wins in a row will do that for you. Coincidentally enough, the hot streak began just as center Maria Stepanova re-joined the team. Penny Taylor and Anna DeForge have also raised their game as well, but Diana Taurasi's bruised knee could be cause for concern.
Upcoming: vs. New York
12 5-15The Silver Stars won two games in a row in early July but have been unable to build much in the way of consistency. They have since lost three straight, but Marie Ferdinand is growing stronger and center Katie Feenstra continues to impress in her rookie campaign. With those two, plus the return of LaToya Thomas and Kendra Wecker, the Silver Stars have a nice nucleus in place for the future. They also have enough talent now to play the role of spoiler in the competitive Western Conference.
Upcoming: at Indiana, vs. Phoenix
3-15The Charlotte Sting have struggled this season for several reasons. They are the lowest-scoring team once again, second-to-last in field goal percentage and league's lowest-rebounding team. Yet, with a team loaded with current and former All-Stars, the Sting's decline is baffling. Moreover, their veteran roster would indicate that they could snap out of their slump at any point and put on a great show for fans. Whether or not they actually will do that is a different question altogether.
Upcoming: vs. Connecticut, at Connecticut