NEW YORK, July 23, 2008 � Like every week during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the Power Rankings. With nearly every team looking terrific one day and losing the next, it's getting tougher and tougher to make these delineations. But San Antonio keeps the top spot... narrowly. The Monarchs continue to rise, while the Fever and Lynx take minor tumbles.

As always, 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 POWER RANKINGS: July 23
TEAM (last week's ranking)
1 16-8 A somewhat confounding home loss to Minnesota over the weekend is all that separates the Silver Stars from being the obvious No. 1, but they still get the top spot because of even worse losses by the teams below. While the trio of Becky Hammon, Sophia Young and Ann Wauters continues to play out of this world, San Antonio allowed Minnesota to score 87 points, 14-plus more than their defensive average of 72.8 a game (good for third best in the league). One point of concern for San Antonio: Dan Hughes' bunch is just 7-8 against the rest of the (incredibly tight) Western Conference and their first three games following the Olympic break are at Phoenix, at Los Angeles and at home against the Sparks.
Looking ahead: 7/24 vs. CHI, 7/25 @ MIN, 7/27 @ DET
16-8 The Storm had won seven straight before a shocking mauling on Sunday by the Mystics in D.C. They bounced back admirably on Tuesday with a big win on the road against the tough Lynx. Both Swin Cash and Sue Bird seem to be stepping up with Lauren Jackson having returned to Australia for national team training, but with Yolanda Griffith out (consussion symptoms) and Sheryl Swoopes leaving Tuesday's win in the second quarter with what appeared to be a hamstring issue, Seattle could be very shorthanded in its remaining two games before the Olympic break. Camille Little and Shyra Ely may have to step up to keep the Storm near the top in the West.
Looking ahead: 7/25 @ PHO, 7/27 vs. SAC
16-9 The last two games have brought the Shock's first two losses at the Palace all season long, and things now look even worse with stud forward Cheryl Ford out for the rest of the season. With Ford healthy, the Shock were perhaps the most complete team out there. How much does that change now? Without Ford and possibly Plenette Pierson for a few games, much more pressure will be placed on the streaky Kara Braxton and youngsters Tasha Humphrey and Olayinka Sanni. But with veteran and youth talent, skill inside and out and the ability to both slash to the hoop and batter opponents down low, they'll be in the Eastern race 'til the end.
Looking ahead: 7/24 @ HOU, 7/27 vs. SAN
4 14-10 Despite the win over the Shock, the Sparks are a team that had lost seven of its last 10 coming into Tuesday. And like Detroit, a significant amount rests on possible suspensions to key players Candace Parker and DeLisha Milton-Jones. Others could miss time, too. When L.A. comes to play and when Parker and Lisa Leslie are on their games, they can dominate in the paint like no other tandem in the league. Leslie's defensive dominance (five blocks) against the Shock was absolutely game changing. Though Michael Cooper says the team still needs a point guard, Shannon Bobbitt has done a more than serviceable job and Temeka Johnson rejoined the team Tuesday after missing a couple of weeks due to the death of her grandmother.
Looking ahead: 7/24 @ CON, 7/25 @ NY, 7/27 @ MIN
5 14-10 The once league-leading Sun righted their five-game streak of wrongness with a home win Sunday over the Sky. Asjha Jones posted a double-double, putting up 23 and 10, while point guard Lindsay Whalen looked like the MVP candidate she's been all season long, scoring 20, grabbing eight boards and handing out six assists. “It’s a win," said head coach Mike Thibault. "It wasn’t real artistic at times but we played much better.... We were much better defensively and we needed to be. ... We outrebounded them and we kept our turnovers down. That’s a good start towards getting back to normalcy."
Looking ahead: 7/24 vs. LA, 7/27 @ WAS
6 13-11 The Monarchs are the current holders of the "hottest team in the league" title, having won five straight. They've topped L.A., Phoenix and Detroit during that stretch, so it's safe to say the wins haven't been cheap ones. They've stepped it up on the defensive end and while no one player has taken over offensively (aside, perhaps, from Olympian Kara Lawson), they're getting contributions from someone every game: Nicole Powell, Rebekkah Brunson, Ticha Penicheiro, Laura Harper and Scholanda Robinson among others. And with DeMya Walker returning to the fold, things are looking up in Sacto.
Looking ahead: 7/24 vs. PHO, 7/26 vs. IND, 7/27 @ SEA
13-10 Depending on the night, you could see two very different Liberty teams. There's the one that dusted Eastern rivals Detroit and Connecticut in succession last week and topped a tough Mystics squad early Wednesday. Then there's the one that shot 28.6 percent from the floor in the Outdoor Classic and scored just 55 points in a loss to the Fever. If Shameka Christon is on her game and Janel McCarville and Tiffany Jackson are taking their marks to the hoop, New York can play with anyone. But if Christon, Cathrine Kraayeveld, Loree Moore and Ashley Battle struggle from the outside, it can be downright ugly. Regardless of the ups and downs, expect the Libs to be there when the postseason tips off.
Looking ahead: 7/25 vs. LA, 7/27 @ ATL
Houston (11)
12-12 Houston's up-and-down season has continued... but since the Comets are on a three-game winning streak, including a high-scoring win Tuesday over the defending champs, they're deserving of the No. 8 spot. Tina Thompson? Still a superstar at age 33. Michelle Snow and Sancho Lyttle? Coming on to complement Tina very solidly on the front line. Karleen Thompson's backcourt isn't young, but don't tell that to Tamecka Dixon and Shannon Johnson, who are producing quite nicely.
Looking ahead: 7/24 vs. DET, 7/26 vs. CHI
Phoenix (10)
11-13 After Tuesday's narrow loss in Houston, the Mercury sit in the Western Conference cellar, a fact that's hard to fathom with the knowledge that two Mercury players have led the league in scoring nearly the entire season. And while Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter continue to put up numbers, if the guards struggle from the outside, they're simply not good enough defensively to try and outscore their opponents.
Looking ahead: 7/24 @ SAC, 7/25 vs. SEA, 7/27 vs. IND
11-12 The Fever are loaded with talent in Katie Douglas, Tammy Sutton-Brown and the nearly 100 percent Tamika Catchings. But something appears to be missing from Indiana's equation. Losing point guard Tully Bevilaqua to the Australian national team doesn't help: "We are really challenged now to play without our starting point guard," said coach Lin Dunn after Wednesday's loss to Chicago. "We knew we needed to depend on (Tan) White and (LaToya) Bond. I thought they played pretty well, but we have to knock down some shots."
Looking ahead: 7/24 vs. MIN, 7/26 @ SAC, 7/27 @ PHO
11-12 The Lynx may be sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference, but a few points here and a few points there and they're sitting much closer to the top. Rookies Candice Wiggins, Charde Houston and Nicky Anosike were all big in Tuesday's second-half comeback against the Storm, but with Seimone Augustus struggling with her shot, the Lynx simply don't have enough offensive punch to make up for it. Minnesota is a young, scrappy team that will go out and fight every night, and whether they qualify for the postseason or not, this is a breakout season for this franchise and coach Don Zierden.
Looking ahead: 7/24 @ IND, 7/25 vs. SAN, 7/27 vs. LA
9-15 Let's be honest, the Mystics were not a good team the final two games under Tree Rollins, falling 77-56 to New York and 99-62 to Detroit before the longtime NBA player was replaced at the helm by assistant Jessie Kenlaw. But the team -- and its owner -- appeared reborn on Sunday as Washington rolled to an impressive 89-57 triumph over Seattle. Taj McWilliams-Franklin continued her terrific campaign with 22 on the afternoon, and though Alana Beard only had nine points, she handed out a career-high-tying nine assists. Will Kenlaw's success continue? Washington lost a nailbiter to New York on Wednesday and we'll find out more against Atlanta and Connecticut.
Looking ahead: 7/25 @ ATL, 7/27 vs. CON
Chicago (13)
8-15 The Sky are sixth in the East, ahead only of the expansion Dream, but Steven Key's bunch is unquestionably on the rise with wins this week over both Connecticut and Indiana. Perhaps more significantly, Chicago will benefit from the return of No. 2 draft pick Sylvia Fowles. Big Syl made her court comeback on Tuesday, scoring two points, grabbing five boards and blocking a shot in just under 12 minutes, and she'll continue to be worked in slowly. But this is a young team with a lot of talent: Candice Dupree is truly one of the league's most consistent power forwards and Jia Perkins is capable of going off for 20 on any given night.
Looking ahead: 7/24 @ SAN, 7/26 @ HOU
Atlanta (14)
3-22 Another week, another win for the up-and-coming Dream. They surprised a solid Fever squad in Indiana last Wednesday, but have fallen in three straight, including Tuesday's disappointment against Sacramento in which leading scorer Betty Lennox notched a season-low one point in 17 minutes. The good news for Atlanta is that Kasha Terry has played well (15 points, nine rebounds on Tuesday) since her insertion into the starting lineup and the two-headed monster of Alison Bales and Katie Feenstra combined for nine blocked shots.
Looking ahead: 7/25 vs. WAS, 7/27 vs. NY