WNBA.com Power Rankings: July 18, 2006

The 2006 WNBA season has officially entered the second half. In a shortened week, we saw a new team fall to the bottom and are still seeing a tight race for the top Eastern Conference team in the standings and in the Power Rankings.

2006 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week Eight
TEAM (last)
1 18-5 Lisa Leslie and the Sparks are on fire again. In the shortened week, Lisa Leslie showed two youngsters that the vets still rule this league as she scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 95-85 win over Pondexter and the Phoenix Mercury, then again two nights later as she scored 29 points to go along with 14 rebounds in a 90-78 win over Augustus and the Minnesota Lynx. The Sparks have now won five straight and 15 of their last 17.
Upcoming: vs. New York, at Detroit
14-6 The Detroit Shock are only a half game behind the Sun for first place in the Eastern Conference, but are ahead in this week's Power Rankings after beating the much-improved San Antonio Silver Stars, 77-76, in their only game after the break. Cheryl Ford led the way with 20 points and 17 rebounds in the win. The Shock have won their last three and 10 of their last 12.
Upcoming: vs. Charlotte, vs. Los Angeles
3 15-6 The Sun lost their grip on the No. 2 spot after splitting their two games played last week. In a 2005 Finals rematch against the Sacramento Monarchs on Saturday, the Sun fell, 69-63. The following day, Katie Douglas led the way with 26 points as the Sun defeated the Seattle Storm, 92-83, to remain in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Upcoming: vs. Chicago, at San Antonio
4 13-8

If only Sacramento was in the Eastern Conference... The Monarchs beat the Connecticut Sun, 69-63, on Saturday to improve to 8-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season. Yolanda Griffith scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds in the 2005 Finals rematch.
Upcoming: at Seattle, vs. New York


The Fever remain in the fifth spot of this week's Power Rankings despite losing to the Charlotte Sting, 75-65, on Saturday. The Tamika's, Catchings and Whitmore, each had 17 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort. On Sunday, the Fever bounced back and beat the Houston Comets at home, 60-56. Whitmore led the way in the win with 22 points and Catchings had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Upcoming: vs. Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles


The Houston Comets continue to struggle with the absence of leading scorer Tina Thompson, but still remain in third place in the tight race that is the Western Conference playoff chase. Houston split its two games played last week with a win coming over the Chicago Sky, 82-77, and a loss on Sunday, 60-56, in Indiana. Michelle Snow, who put on a show at the end of Wednesday's All-Star Game by throwing down a dunk, recorded a double-double as she scored a career-high 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds in the Comets only win of the week.
Upcoming: at San Antonio, vs. Minnesota


Led by Lauren Jackson's 26 points and eight rebounds, the Storm beat up on the New York Liberty, 86-66, on Friday. Jackson's great numbers continued the following game as she scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a losing effort to the Connecticut Sun on Sunday. The Storm are currently one game ahead of the Silver Stars for the fourth and final spot in the West.
Upcoming: vs. Sacramento, at Charlotte

8 11-10 The Washington Mystics took advantage of their back-to-back games against the Chicago Sky by beating the Sky for the second straight time on Sunday, 83-75, to get over .500 for the first time since June 29th. The Mystics look to be a lock for at least fourth place in the Eastern Conference as they stand six games above the fifth place Sting.
Upcoming: vs. Phoenix, at San Antonio
9 10-11 After winning four straight, the Silver Stars have lost three in a row and are under .500 for the first time this month. In their two games played last week, San Antonio lost to the Sting, 81-65, on Friday and the Shock, 77-67, on Sunday. Their next five will be played at home, where they have stuggled at times this season.
Upcoming: vs. Houston, vs. Washington
Phoenix (10)
9-11 Diana Taurasi continues to put up unbelievable scoring numbers every night, and the Mercury seem as though they're slowly getting on track. To start the second half of the season, Taurasi scored 34 point and grabbed seven rebounds in a losing effort to the Los Angeles Sparks, 95-85, on Friday. And two days later, Taurasi was at it again when she and the Mercury hosted New York and scored 29 points in a 80-70 win over the Liberty. The Mercury are only 1.5 games out of fourth place in the Western Conference
Upcoming: at Indiana, at Washington
7-13 Seimone Augustus' 25 points wasn't enough to lead Minnesota past the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday as the Lynx lost 90-78. Augustus, the Dribble, Dish and Swish Challenge champion, has averaged 26.4 points per game over the Lynx last five in which Minnesota has only gone 2-3 over that span.
Upcoming: vs. Chicago, at Houston
5-16 The Sting responded to us placing them in last place in our last Power Rankings by winning two straight to start the second half of the season and moving up two places. On Friday, led by Tangela Smith's 25 point performance, the Sting blew out the Silver Stars, 81-65. The next day, Smith led Charlotte again by scoring 17 to beat the Fever 75-65.
Upcoming: at Detroi, vs. Seattle
Chicago (13)
3-17 The Sky remain in the No. 13 spot after losing to the Comets, 82-77, on Friday and the Mystics, 83-75, on Sunday. Chicago avoids the last place ranking because of the Liberty's rapid fall to the bottom.
Upcoming: at Minnesota, at Connecticut
4-14 We have a new last place team for the second time in two weeks. The Liberty struggled with Becky Hammon sidelined as they lost to the Storm and the Mercury on the road last week. Shameka Christon stepped up in the absence of Hammon by scoring a career-high 25 points in the losing effort to the Storm and 18 points against the Mercury in a loss on Sunday.
Upcoming: at Seattle, at Phoenix