WNBA.com Power Rankings: July 17, 2007

SECAUCUS, N.J. � With apologies for the brief delay, just like every Tuesday, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com editorial staff's Power Rankings. Indiana stays on top but the defending champion Shock hold solid at No. 2. Elsewhere, the Sun, Mystics and Comets take a step up, while the floundering Sparks continue their free fall. Take a look at our list, and let us know what you think in our Fan Voice.

2007 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week 9
TEAM (last week)
15-4 Two wins last week only solidify the Fever's spot atop the rankings. MVP candidate Tamika Catchings had a fittingly MVP-caliber All-Star Game on Sunday and will lead this team well into the playoffs. Tammy Sutton-Brown's size adds another dimension to this team offensively, and Anna DeForge can hit the big shot when her team needs her to, like she did for the East with 39 seconds left on Sunday.
14-5 The defending champs toppled the upstart Sky twice last week in a home and away, and it appears that they're well beyond their struggles of the previous weeks. Swin Cash had a big game last week and looks to be stepping her game up to the levels of All-Stars Cheryl Ford and Deanna Nolan.
3 12-6 The Silver Stars will feel the loss of Erin Buescher, who went down for the rest of the year with an ACL tear last Wednesday, but they managed to win in Phoenix without her. Rookie Camille Little may be the beneficiary of more playing time and has shown she can hack it at this level, Becky Hammon has come back from her injury with a vengeance and late All-Star addition Sophia Young is stepping up her game of late.
4 12-8 Like Buescher with the Silver Stars, the loss, even temporarily, of Rebekkah Brunson, will sting in Sacramento. With her out of the lineup, Adrian Williams should see more of the court, Nicole Powell will likely play a larger role and Yolanda Griffith may need to kick it up a notch at the offensive end.
Phoenix (5)
11-9 While a 10-point loss to the Monarchs hurts, they're still in position for a playoff spot in the uber-tough West. They'll continue to give up their fair share of points, currently the most in the league, but their offensive firepower is undeniable. If Penny Taylor can keep up the scoring pace with Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter in the lineup, they'll win a lot of games in the second half.

Everyone thought the loss of Sue Bird would hurt, and it did in Wednesday's loss to the Sun, but the night before Seattle pounded the Sparks and remain in a virtual tie for the third spot in the West. Iziane Castro Marques and Tanisha Wright were big with Bird out of the lineup and Lauren Jackson has been her normal MVP self. With Bird likely returning later this week, they'll be primed for a late-season run to the playoffs.

10-9 The Liberty were the one team in the league without an All-Star representative in Washington, so perhaps the several days of rest will help in the immediate future. Another possible result is that the balanced team comes together even more and plays with a chip on its collective shoulder the rest of the way. The real question in N.Y. is whether Cathrine Kraayeveld, Erin Thorn and Loree Moore can keep posting great numbers after their above-par first halves.
8 9-11 The Sun are officially hot. After wins last week in Seattle and Sacramento, they're also officially back in the playoff hunt and currently sit fourth in the East. With All-Stars Katie Douglas and Asjha Jones heating up offensively, Nykesha Sales back from injury and Lindsay Whalen leading the way, they will be a force to be reckoned with before the year is through.
8-12 Losers of four straight, the Sky seem to be coming back to Earth after overachieving massively throughout the first half of the season. Jia Perkins has gotten hot at the offensive end and Candice Dupree is a real star in the making. But a tough schedule and a relative lack of depth on the bench could be their undoing.
7-12 After losing their first eight games of the season, the All-Star hosts have since gone 7-4 and are working their way back into playoff contention. Alana Beard continues to impress and would be in the MVP mix if the Mystics were higher in the standings. Nakia Sanford has had several big games of late and appears to be developing into a solid pro post.
Houston (12)
6-14 The Comets are on the way up as well. After an 0-10 start, they've gone 6-4 in their last 10 and beat Minnesota last week behind 24 points and nine boards from Michelle Snow. And if the All-Star Game is any indication, Tina Thompson can still play. The playoffs remain a tall task at this point, but if Tamecka Dixon can continue to provide scoring and experience in the backcourt, they could make a bit of a run.
12 7-12 Life hasn't been so peachy in the City of Angels, where they've lost six straight and 10 of 12. All-Star Taj McWilliams-Franklin appears to be back and healthy and rookie Sidney Spencer continues to impress as a starter, but the Sparks simply haven't been able to put the ball in the basket, as shown by their 82-47 loss to Seattle last week in which they shot 29.9 percent from the floor.
Minnesota (13)
5-16 Also losers of six straight, the Lynx have been hurt significantly by the loss of point guard and Rookie of the Year candidate Lindsey Harding. Fellow rookies Noelle Quinn and Shay Murphy will likely see more time in Harding's absence, but they have yet to show that they can score and distribute at the level of the 2007 Draft's top pick. Seimone Augustus is a monster, but she needs more help around her.