WNBA.com Power Rankings: August 7, 2007

SECAUCUS, N.J. � Like every Tuesday during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com editorial staff's Power Rankings. The defending champion Shock seem to be getting stronger as the season moves along, and they easily stick in the top spot. The Mercury rise up to No. 2, while the Fever also take a step back in the right direction. Take a look at our list, and let us know what you think in our Fan Voice.

2007 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week 12
TEAM (last week)
22-6 A no-brainer. The defending champs have won four straight and nine of their last 10 in jumping out to a 4� game lead in the East. Wins this week against San Antonio and Chicago only bolster their top ranking, as super-sub Plenette Pierson led the team in scoring in both games and seems to have gone a long way toward replacing Cheryl Ford's scoring in the lineup.
Phoenix (3)
18-11 Yes, the Mercury lost a 111-101 shootout to the Storm on Saturday night, but they're still red-hot, having won six in a row prior to the weekend setback. Phoenix has clinched its first playoff spot in six years, thanks in large part to Western Conference Player of the Week Diana Taurasi, who has regained her scoring touch. Phoenix's potential playoff opponents will be having nightmares until the final seeding is decided.
3 17-10 The Silver Stars' two losses this week were to Detroit and Phoenix, so you can't take too much away from them. Becky Hammon (foot sprain) and Vickie Johnson (Achilles' tendon strain) missed Saturday's win over Los Angeles, but Marie Ferdinand-Harris had 11 points and nine rebounds, Helen Darling chipped in with nine assists and Peak Performer Shanna Crossley posted a career-high 26.
4 16-12 The Sun's only loss in their last 11 games came on July 24 to the Shock, so this is a team primed for a playoff run. Now that Nykesha Sales is back, they should be 100 percent healthy. Katie Douglas has been one of league's best players in the second half, Asjha Jones has been solid down low and Lindsay Whalen is a gutsy leader on the floor.
18-11 Coach Brian Winters told the Indianapolis Star Sunday that there is currently no timetable for the return of All-Star, do-everything forward Tamika Catchings. With Catch, the Fever are a deep, defensive and deadly team capable of taking down anyone in the league, including rival Detroit. Without her, they are a team struggling to earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. With Catchings recovering from her foot injury, though, Tan White has stepped up her scoring and Tamika Whitmore has seemingly taken to the sixth-woman role.
6 16-11 The Monarchs can play defense: Their 70.4 points allowed per game puts them second behind the Fever for best in the league. But their 73.3 points scored per game is third worst in the league. Their offensive issue reared its ugly head in Sunday's 63-55 loss to Indiana, in which Sacramento shot just 30 percent from the floor. Their frontcourt of Rebekkah Brunson, Nicole Powell and Yolanda Griffith has been solid on the boards, but the players need to put the ball in the basket more consistently.
14-15 The Storm earned a huge win Saturday night as Betty Lennox, Lauren Jackson and Iziane Castro Marques combined for 70 points as they topped the Mercury 111-101. But there was bad news out of Seattle Monday, where it was announced that both Jackson (ill relative) and Janell Burse (injured wrist) will miss both games this week as the Storm travel to Minnesota and Detroit. Seattle has nearly sewn up a playoff spot, but it could get interesting if they were to go on a prolonged losing streak and either Houston or L.A. were to catch fire.
8 12-15 Currently a game up in the fight for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East, the Mystics control their own fate. But after weekend wins at home over New York and Chicago, they take off on a four-game West Coast swing that could make the difference between the postseason and the draft lottery. Eastern Conference Player of the Week Alana Beard has been great, but she'll need more consistent scoring around her to lock up that fourth spot.
12-17 The Sky are falling at a most inopportune time. Losers of three straight to Eastern foes Connecticut, Detroit and Washington, Chicago next faces... three more Eastern foes in Indiana, Connecticut again and New York in games that will make or break their playoff dreams. With Candice Dupree, Chasity Melvin, Stacey Dales and sixth woman Jia Perkins to go along with rookie sensation Armintie Price, this is a team that won't go down without a fight.
New York (10)
11-16 Despite a home win last week against the Lynx, the Liberty are still struggling down the homestretch. They've lost eight of nine, including Friday's setback in Washington, largely due to their inability to score: their average of 70.2 points a game is the lowest in the league. The emergence of Janel McCarville has been a huge boon in the second half for the Liberty, but to get the wins they'll need to make the playoffs, Erin Thorn, Cathrine Kraayeveld and Ashley Battle will need to shoot both more and more consistently from the outside.
Houston (11)
10-18 Believe it or not, but the Comets are still in the playoff race. Granted it would take a minor miracle to catch the stumbling Storm, but it's possible. Tina Thompson has been one of the league's most consistent players all season long, scoring in double figures in 26 of Houston's 28 games. But her help has been far less reliable. Michelle Snow, Tamecka Dixon and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba have been good at times, but they'll need to step up in a big way over the season's final two weeks.
12 9-18 The Sparks have lost 12 of their last 14 games, not exactly a recipe for making the playoffs. But the possibility remains, especially with games remaining against Phoenix (two), San Antonio, Seattle and Houston. Mwadi Mabika has stepped up her scoring in recent tilts and Taj McWilliams-Franklin is still a force down low, but they need more reliable scoring from Temeka Johnson and rookies Sidney Spencer and Marta Fernandez.
Minnesota (13)
7-22 The young Lynx are looking to the season's final five games as an audition of sorts for next season. Coach Don Zierden has said as much. And with two games against Seattle and tilts against Detroit and San Antonio, it's unlikely to be an easy audition for stand-in point guard Noelle Quinn. In all likelihood, Lindsey Harding will return to the point next year if she's healthy, but a more experienced Quinn will be capable of stepping in at her more natural off-guard position. With All-Star Seimone Augustus at the three, they could have a solid trio on which to build their future.