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NEW YORK, July 8, 2008 � Like every week during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com Power Rankings. There's parity aplenty among the top teams yet again, as teams 1 through 4 are locked in a veritable dead heat. Meanwhile, the solidly impressive Fever and Comets are on the way up, while the newly struggling Lynx and Mercury have taken a downturn.
As usual, there are plenty of close calls this week,
but that's the beauty of these rankings: there's always room for discussion.
Take a look at our full list below, then let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice. Post your own Power Rankings and
discuss them with your fellow fans.
|2008 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: July 8|
TEAM (last week's ranking)
|12-6||After a mediocre start to the
season, the Silver Stars are the league's hottest team, having won four
straight and nine of 11. Dan Hughes' squad has caught fire as Becky Hammon
has come on, and last year's MVP runner-up has done just that, averaging
21.0 points and 5.3 assists a game over the past week. Sophia Young is a
legit MVP candidate and Ann Wauters has been just what the doctor ordered
Looking ahead: 7/8 vs. NY, 7/10 @ CHI, 7/11 vs. ATL
|11-6||The Sparks suffered through their first losing
streak of the season, falling consecutively to the Mystics, Liberty and
Lynx, all at home. But even after Sunday's solid victory over the Mercury,
the Sparks are still just 6-4 at STAPLES Center. But with the high-low dominance
of the league's dynamic duo of Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker, not to mention
the solid play of rookie point guard Shannon Bobbitt, L.A. will be in the
hunt for the long run.
Looking ahead: 7/9 vs. HOU, 7/10 @ SAC, 7/12 @ SEA
|13-6|| The Sun and Shock renew their
Eastern rivalry tonight in the Motor City, so this ranking doesn't take
that result into consideration, but Connecticut did score a good win earlier
last week against the red-hot Comets before falling Saturday in Indy. Asjha
Jones won last week's Player of the Week award and point guard Lindsay Whalen
is one of the league's unsung heroes so far this season and just became
the franchise's all-time leader in assists.
Looking ahead: 7/8 @ DET, 7/13 @ WAS
|12-6||Like the Sun, the Shock have struggled of late,
losing three of their last five. Tonight's matchup at the Palace is a big
one as it will settle the season series between the two teams and count
be a tie-breaker as the season winds down. Veterans Deanna Nolan, Katie
Smith and Cheryl Ford all continue to play their games and put up their
numbers, but the recent injuries to Ford and Plenette Pierson have hurt
down low. On the positive side, though, Kara Braxton has had two of her
best games this season in Detroit's last two.
Looking ahead: 7/8 vs. CON, 7/11 vs. WAS, 7/12 @ NY
|11-7||The Storm are the owners of
the league's best home record at 10-1. But unfortunately for Brian Agler
and crew, they play half of their games on the road, where they are 1-6.
Nonetheless, Seattle is one of the league's hotter teams of late, winning
this week against the Liberty and Lynx. Lauren Jackson is staking her claim
for a second-straight MVP with point totals of 33 and 34, respectively,
which earned her her first Player of the Week award of 2008. Are the Storm
fulfilling their preseason promise or simply benefiting from a couple of
home games in a row? Upcoming matchups against Phoenix and L.A. will be
Looking ahead: 7/8 @ SAC, 7/10 vs. PHO, 7/12 vs. LA
|9-8||On the surface, the Liberty are just 2-2 so far
on their West Coast swing, but sandwiched around a loss last week in Seattle
were hugely impressive wins in L.A. and Phoenix. New York boasts the Eastern
Conference Player of the Week in Shameka Christon, whose 16.6 ppg so far
seem to indicate that she's finally becoming the player everyone expected
she could be. Pair her with reigning MIP Janel McCarville and the ever-solid
Cathrine Kraayeveld and you have a potent frontcourt that's quick, versatile
and capable of shooting from the outside.
Looking ahead: 7/8 @ SAN, 7/12 vs. DET
|9-8||It looks like the Fever are
starting to get back on track with the return of superstar Tamika Catchings,
who had missed the season's first eight games. While Catch gets back up
to speed, fellow All-Stars Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown have led
the offense. Ebony Hoffman, too, has made a terrific case for a starting
spot, averaging over 5.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg better than her career numbers.
Looking ahead: 7/8 @ WAS, 7/12 vs. CHI
|9-9||Put aside a tough loss in Connecticut last Tuesday
and the Comets have won six straight, making them one of the league's hottest
teams. Several of those wins came without perennial All-Star Tina Thompson,
who missed four games during that stretch with a broken finger. Sancho Lyttle
has stepped up her game massively over the past few weeks and is now starting
alongside Thompson and Michelle Snow in Houston's big, athletic frontcourt.
Throw in the veteran-led backcourt of Shannon Johnson, Tamecka Dixon and
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba -- not to mention electric rookie Matee Ajavon -- and
you have a team built for the postseason.
Looking ahead: 7/8 @ PHO, 7/9 @ LA, 7/12 @ MIN
|9-9||The Lynx continue their fall-off
after a surprising 5-0 start, but they're still a force to be reckoned with,
which they showed in Thursday's 18-point victory in L.A. Seimone Augustus
stands sixth in the league in scoring at 18.9 ppg and rookie Candice Wiggins'
impressive streak of double-figure scoring stands at 16 games. Fellow rookies
Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston continue to make solid contributions as
well, though the point guard tandem of Noelle Quinn and Lindsey Harding
has had a rough go.
Looking ahead: 7/9 vs. ATL, 7/12 vs. HOU
|8-9||The Mercury had won four straight and had moved
over .500 for the first time all season... before losing their last two
games at home to the Liberty and on the road in L.A. Cappie Pondexter missed
two games this week to rest and Diana Taurasi cooled off from her two straight
Player of the Week awards with just eight points against the Sparks, but
Tangela Smith and Le'coe Willingham have been very solid in the paint of
late. Don't count out the defending champs.
Looking ahead: 7/8 vs. HOU, 7/10 @ SEA, 7/12 @ SAC
|8-10||Want something to blame for
the Monarchs' mediocrity so far in 2008? Their once-stingy defense is allowing
a very ordinary 75.17 ppg and allowing the second highest shooting percentage
in the league at .450. It also doesn't help that veteran Kara Lawson has
missed two straight contests with a bum shoulder. Ticha Penicheiro and Rebekkah
Brunson are quietly putting up solid, if inconsistent numbers, and Nicole
Powell has continued to struggle from the field (.359 on the season).
Looking ahead: 7/8 vs. SEA, 7/10 vs. LA, 7/12 vs. PHO
|5-11||It can't do wonders for team morale when you
lose to an 0-17 team like the Sky did this week in Atlanta, but they did
earn a solid win in Minnesota earlier in the week. Jia Perkins has become
a legit scorer in this league and has hit double figures in every game since
June 1. Candice Dupree is continuing to put up All-Star numbers and rookie
center Sylvia Fowles should be returning to the lineup later this month.
Looking ahead: 7/10 vs. SAN, 7/12 @ IND, 7/13 vs. ATL
|6-11||The Mystics continued
to struggle this week with two more losses. But coach Tree Rollins should
feel good about the future as rookie Crystal Langhorne -- despite being
undersized for a post player at just 6-2 -- has impressed since replacing
Nakia Sanford as the starting center. Alana Beard and Taj McWilliams-Franklin
are the steady All-Stars they've always been and Monique Currie can light
it up on occasion, but Washington still needs more out of the point guard
spot. And signing Kendra Wecker hasn't yet helped the league's lowest-scoring
Looking ahead: 7/8 vs. IND, 7/11 @ DET, 7/13 vs. CON
|1-17||The Dream finally have their first win as a franchise,
thanks to a stellar performance Saturday against the Sky. Ivory Latta and
Jen Lacy led six Atlanta scorers in double figures with 18 apiece, and it
does wonders to have that goose egg gone from the W-L record. "Its
an amazing feeling!" said guard Kristin Haynie. "It was a great
team effort. Now, its a new season. We are 1-0 now. Sadly, the
standings don't work that way, but Atlanta has a lot to build on for its
upcoming road trip.
Looking ahead: 7/9 @ MIN, 7/11 @ SAN, 7/13 @ CHI