WNBA.com Power Rankings: May 30, 2006

A little more than a week into the 2006 WNBA season, eight teams have winning records already while six teams are below .500. Yet, with only one undefeated team, seven of the top teams have identical 2-1 records. Hence, the only way to look at the early Power Rankings is to dig a bit deeper and assess the quality of wins and losses among that group. And for the first time in the history of this feature, the Indiana Fever are on top of the boards.

2006 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week One
TEAM (last)

As the only undefeated team in the WNBA, the Fever start out the regular season with three impressive wins by an average of more than 10 points per game. The new pieces have come together well under Coach Brian Winters as Tamika Whitmore and Anna DeForge are second and third on the team in scoring. But Tamika Catchings is still THE player for the Fever, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals yet again.
Upcoming: vs. New York, at Houston

2 2-1The defending champs looked invincible in their first opener, putting 105 points on the board against the Mercury. They went to 2-0 with a win over the expansion Sky, but looked vulnerable in a home loss to the Comets on Thursday in which no Monarchs player scored in double digits. Four players averaging in double digit scoring. The team is scoring more than 83 ppg, but surrendering 74 ppg, atypical of the defensive stalwarts. The team is also dealing with the news that Coach Whisenant may be hired by the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
Upcoming: vs. Seattle, vs. San Antonio
3 2-1One desperate Katie Smith 3-pointer away from being undefeated, the Connecticut Sun are instead 2-1 after losing at home to the Detroit Shock in overtime. This is still one of the best teams in the WNBA and has all of the pieces to make another run in the playoffs. Katie Douglas and Nykesha Sales have been as good as ever, and while Lindsay Whalen is not 100%, Erin Phillips is the real deal as a 20-year old rookie from Australia. Saturday's loss is a stumble along the way, but expect to see the Sun work their way back to the top of these rankings throughout 2006.
Upcoming: at Charlotte, vs. Charlotte
2-1The Shock had a lot of excuses why they fell short the last two seasons, but a lack of talent was never one of them. It cannot be an excuse this year, either. The Shock lost the first game of the season on the road to the undefeated Fever, but rallied to beat the Minnesota Lynx at home and then outlast the Connecticut Sun in overtime at Connecticut. Katie Smith has been the Katie Smith of old, scoring 17.7 ppg and Cheryl Ford is averaging 15.0 ppg and 11.0 rpg. Swin Cash is healthy and getting back into the flow, already the team's third-leading scorer.
Upcoming: vs. New York, at Washington
2-1The Seattle Storm are as talented as any team, and as the team gets healthy again, are a playoff team in the making. Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and Betty Lennox. That's not even a sentence, but you get the point. Janell Burse is playing again after an injured shoulder and the addition of Wendy Palmer has been paying dividends, as has the draft selection of Barbara Turner. Yes, they lost badly at home to Houston this week, but Jackson followed that game up with a career-high 35 points in Phoenix on Thursday.
Upcoming: at Sacramento, vs. Phoenix
2-1 After they lost at home in the opener to San Antonio, the veteran core in Houston got down to business. They pasted the Storm in Seattle last Sunday and then went into the home of the defending champion Sacramento Monarchs and won there. Swoopes and Thompson are scoring a combined 33 points per game and Dominique Canty is averaging a career-high 11.3 ppg. Even scarier is that this team is far from healthy. When 100%, they will be a favorite out west, but Sheryl and Tina may be the only ones with the power to keep this ship afloat.
Upcoming: vs. Indiana, vs. Chicago
7 2-1It is unfortunate that the Washington Mystics are 2-1, one of th emost impressive teams so far and very much in the hunt for a playoff spot this season, but relegated to the seventh spot in the Rankings. However, with 90+ point wins over New York and Minnesota, and a loss to the Charlotte Sting, the Mystics still need to prove themselves against top competition. That said, Alana Beard has been playing like an M.V.P., the addition of LaTasha Byears has been a brilliant move and the Mystics lead the WNBA in scoring and are one of only five teams that have held opponents to uner 70 ppg thus far.
Upcoming: vs. Detroit
8 2-1Leslie + Holdsclaw = good. Leslie - Holdsclaw = good, too. After losing the opener in Seattle, the Sparks have rebounded with two more road wins in Charlotte and San Antonio. Like Washington, they need to prove they can play with the elite teams, but Lisa Leslie does not need to prove anything. The all-world center has been on another mission this season, single-handedly carrrying the Sparks to a winning record. There is no word when All-Star forward Chamique Holdclaw will return, but until she does, Leslie will continue to carry the load. They are halfway through a torrid six game road trip to start the season, but will spend much of June and July playing at home.
Upcoming: at Minnesota, at New York
9 1-2Rookie Sophia Young has proven she belongs in the WNBA, already averaging a double-double in her first three games. Offseason pick-up Vickie Johnson is leading the team in scoring with more than 14 points per game, but the ten-year veteran may have broken her nose against the Sparks on Thursday. In order to be successful, the Silver Stars need more offense out of 6-8 center Katie Feenstra, though Kendra Wecker and LaToya Thomas are healthy again and scoring off the bench. They are much-improved, but still have a long way to go under Coach Dan Hughes.
Upcoming: at Phoenix, at Sacramento
1-2Well, at least they are not in last, a spot the Charlotte Sting spent nearly all of last season. The Sting have four players scoring in double figures, including two rookies. Monique Currie was the third overall pick in this year's Draft, but has joined Allison Feaster, Sheri Sam and Tangela Smith as the leaders of this team. Point guard Helen Darling needs to reduce her turnovers and become more involved in the offense of this team could continue to struggle in the stacked Eastern Conference.
Upcoming: vs. Connecticut, at Connecticut
Chicago (14)
1-2You know this is not the typical expansion team, with a mix of veterans and young talent, but that does not mean this team is ready to win double digit games. They went on the road to beat the Charlotte Sting in their first ever regular season game, but have fallen short against two playoff teams from last season, Sacramento and Indiana. Coach Dave Cowens seems to be shuffling the lineup a bit and figure out what roles his players will play, but one thing is certain. Candice Durpree should be starting.
Upcoming: vs. Los Angeles, at Houston
0-2When Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter score a combined 49 points and the Mercury still lose (as they did to Seattle on Thursday), you know this team is in trouble. Sure they can score in bundles, but when the shots aren't falling, the Mercury lack the post breadth or depth to rebound or share the scoring burden. Granted the team is not healthy yet and it will take some time to get used to a drastically different system, but a lack of committment on the defensive end is what should be most troubling in the Mercury's "Maul" Ball system so far.
Upcoming: vs. San Antonio, at Seattle
0-3All eyes are on the top overall pick in this year's Draft, Seimone Augustus, who has been stellar so far, but the young Lynx have struggled to get consistent performances from the rest of the team. No other player is averaging more than 8.7 ppg. Nicole Ohlde and Vanessa Hayden are barely averaging 10.0 ppg combined. Giving up 83.0 ppg to opponents thus far cannot make Coach Suzie McConnell Serio any happier, either.
Upcoming: vs. Los Angeles, vs. Indiana
0-2In two losses, the Liberty are being outscored by an average of 26 points per game. With all of the offseason changes, the Liberty were expected to struggle this season. And with two games against elite teamsin their conference, the Liberty could arrive home 0-4 for the first time in their storied history.
Upcoming: at Indiana, at Detroit