WNBA.com Power Rankings: August 2, 2005

Who wants it badly enough? Well, Seattle has won six games in a row and the Monarchs have won four. And with each team at 8-12 just over a week ago, Phoenix and Detroit have all but caught up in the playoff race, each one sitting just a game out of fourth place. Indiana, Washington and Detroit are among the teams fighting it out in the WNBA's competitive Eastern Conference, with only 3 1/2 games separating the second- and fifth-place teams. What the aforementioned teams have in common are Rookie of the Year contenders who are playing like seasoned vets.

The Mystics' Temeka Johnson leads all rookies in scoring and ranks second overall in assists. Indiana's Tan White and Detroit's Kara Braxton are among the league's top reserves and rank third and fourth, respectively, in rookie scoring. Braxton and the Shock travel to Houston tomorrow (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). White and Johnson square off Sunday when the Mystics host the Fever in a crucial intra-conference game (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2). In an effort to allow fans to see and hear all the action as it happens, the WNBA will have both coaches wired with live microphones during tomorrow's Shock-Comets game on ESPN2. All you have to do is hit the Power button on your television...

2005 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week Ten
TEAM (last)
1 18-6The Sun are still rolling along with a comfortable lead on the Eastern Conference and went 2-1 last week. But in losing the Detroit at home, their first home loss since last September, Connecticut already has as many losses since the All-Star break as they did before (three each). The Sun are also only one game up on the Monarchs for the best overall record in the league. Road games against two of the teams trying to catch them in the standings will not make things easier
Upcoming: at New York, at Indiana
2 17-7The Monarchs have now won four in a row, including three last week. and have kept up a solid lead on the rest of the Western Conference. Sacramento, which is off to the best start in team history, was led by Rebekkah Brunson's 14 points and seven rebounds in Sunday's win over the Lynx. Brunson also sparked a key 14-4 run over a seven-minute stretch in the second half that put the game out of reach. In their last eight games, five different Monarchs have led the team in scoring.
Upcoming: at San Antonio, vs. Houston
14-10Speaking of win streaks, no team has been hotter than the Seattle Storm. Below .500 at the All-Star break, the Storm have won six games in a row to pull into a tie with the Comets for second place in the West. The Big Three are clicking once again and the Storm's high-potent offense is firing on all cylinders. Betty Lennox's clutch 3-pointer gave the Storm an insurmountable lead in the team's 77-72 victory over the visiting Sparks on Sunday night. The Storm's sixth straight win tied the team record set in 2004. Lennox and Lauren Jackson scored 17 apiece. Seattle now hits the road for an East coast swing.
Upcoming: at Indiana, at New York

The Fever ran its home record to 10-2 with a 62-58 victory over the Mystics on Friday. An 18-4 second-half spurt gave the Fever a 51-41 lead with 11 minutes remaining before holding off a late Washington rally. However they could not keep up the momentum on the road, losing in New York on Sunday afternoon. Indiana led 11-4 out of the gate, but a 14-0 run early in the second half fueled the Liberty to a 67-53 win. It is the Fever's third loss since the break.
Upcoming: vs. Seattle, vs. Connecticut

14-10 For the first time since Tina Thompson's return, the Comets looked nearly unbeatable in back-to-back wins on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Washington and New York last week, two big road wins on against playoff contenders in the East. But just as they looked to be re-gaining their dominant swagger, the Comets then lost at home to San Antonio on Sunday. Tina Thompson’s 3-pointer midway through the second half gave the Comets lead, but they were unable to hold off visiting San Antonio in a 68-63 defeat Saturday.
Upcoming: vs. Detroit, at Phoenix
12-11The Liberty lost to Houston at home and the Sun in Conencticut in back-to-back nights last week. However, they were able to salvage the week and come out with a winning record after Ann Wauters scored a career-high 24 points and New York overcame a five-point halftime deficit and beat Indiana 67-53 Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Elena Baranova and Shemeka Christon added 14 points apiece for the Liberty, who used a second-half 14-0 surge to take control of the game.
Upcoming: vs. Connecticut, vs. Seattle
7 12-12One win at home against the Silver Stars was sandwiched by a loss at home to Houston on Tuesday and in Indiana on Friday night. A late rally pulled the Mystics to within one point with 22.4 seconds to play, but they were unable get past the Fever in the 62-58 loss. The Mystics were hot early, leading 29-17 with three minutes remaining in the opening half. Temeka Johnson led the way with 15 points and DeLisha Milton-Jones posted 12. At 12-12, the Mystics are only one game up over the surging Shock for the final playoff spot.
Upcoming: vs. Charlotte, vs. Indiana
Detroit (11)
10-12With two big wins in a row this past weekend, Detroit is now within one game of a playoffs position in the standings and moving in the right direction. First, the Shock pulled off a huge road win in Connecticut, the first road team to win there all year, and then against a hot Mercury team at home on Sunday. The addition of Katie Smith brings Detroit's All-Star total to five, and they now look even scarier on paper with less than four weeks to go.
Upcoming: at Houston, at Charlotte
9 11-12The Sparks looked to be back on track just two weeks ago, but now with three straight losses, they have fallen to fourth place in the West and below .500 for the season. Lisa Leslie shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor Sunday, but it was not enough as the Sparks fell at Seattle 77-72. Laura Maachi drilled a 3-pointer to give L.A. a 56-54 lead, its last advantage of the night. Leslie scored a game-high 18 points and Chamique Holdsclaw netted 17.
Upcoming: at San Antonio, at Minnesota
Phoenix (10)
10-13The Mercury continue to play much-improved basketball this season, going 2-1 last week with their only loss coming in Detroit on Sunday. They have now won seven of their last nine contests. Even at 10-13, Phoenix is just one game out of the final playoff spot despite their record. The Mercury led by as many 17 points in the second half Sunday, but they were unable to hold off the host Shock in a 66-63 loss. A 19-4 run gave Phoenix a 45-28 lead less than five minutes into the half before Detroit took control. Anna DeForge scored a game-high 20 points and Diana Taurasi added 16.
Upcoming: vs. Minnesota, vs. Houston
11-13Not only have the Lynx lost four games in a row, but now they must go the rest of the way without their team leader, captain and leading scorer. With Katie Smith traded to the Shock over the weekend and Sunday's loss to Sacramento, Minnesota is now on the outside looking in as the standings shake out. However, they are just a half game out with more than enough time to stem the tide and right the ship.
Upcoming: at Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles
12 7-18Things have certainly improved in San Antonio over the past week as the Silver Stars went 2-1. Dan Hughes' team has greatly benefited from the return of LaToya Thomas to the lineup. Chantelle Anderson’s layup with 7:56 remaining in the game Saturday put the visiting Silver Stars ahead for good in their 68-63 win over the Comets. The basket ignited an 8-1 run that gave San Antonio a 59-53 lead. Shannon Johnson went 11-for-11 from the line and led four Silver Stars in double figures with a game-high 18 points.
Upcoming: vs. Sacramento, vs. Los Angeles
3-20The disappointing season continued in Charlotte with two more losses and the loss of Allison Feaster from the lineup. The Sting need just one more win to pass the 1998 Washington Mystics and avoid finishing with the fewest losses in league history. However, the Mystics did play 4 fewer games and ended with 27 losses. The 2005 Sting have 11 more games to play.
Upcoming: at Washington, vs. Sacramento