The curtain has closed on the first half of the season. While some players are backstage taking a few days off, others are slated to put on a show at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on Saturday night. The �WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun" game marks the halfway point of this 2010 WNBA season. It seems just days ago we were announcing Tina Charles as the No. 1 pick in the draft. While some teams have certainly underperformed, we've also seen some outstanding performances. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly in awe of the Seattle Storm's 16-2 start.
Instead of keeping with the traditional weekly power rankings, this time we're doing an overall first-half rankings. WNBA.com's All-Star group of writers and editors are here to offer their opinions about which teams should rank where. While some of the selections are unanimous, there are a trio of teams in the center of the pack that we all can't agree upon. I'll also throw in my first-half MVP for each of the 12 organizations.
There are about two months left in the regular season, plenty of time for teams to secure higher spots on future rankings. With the playoffs just around the corner, there's no doubt teams will be giving it all they've got to grab a coveted Top 4 seed in their conference.
Here are the 2010 first-half rankings:
|The Storm are on pace to shatter the Phoenix Mercury's 23-win high from last season. They ride a seven-game win streak into the half, with both of their losses coming against Eastern Conference opponents, the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky. If Lauren Jackson keeps up her MVP-type year, she'll have more than one piece of hardware to add to her trophy case.
MVP: Lauren Jackson - 21.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.1 apg
|16-2, 1st West|
|Atlanta has never won more than 18 games in a season. This is looking like the year. The Dream are first in the league in rebounding (40.1) and assists (19.9), and second (86.6) in points. Excelling in each of those categories will keep them in contention every game.
MVP: Angel McCoughtry - 20.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg
|14-5, 1st East|
|Let's be honest, not many people thought the Mystics would be sitting second in the East without Alana Beard, who suffered a season-ending injury ankle injury before the year. That's exactly where they are though. The Mystics, who have won eight of the last nine games, are also 7-1 in the nation's capital.
MVP:Crystal Langhorne - 17.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.2 apg
|12-5, 2nd East (1.0 GB)|
|Defense. That's what head coach Lin Dunn preaches; it's what got the Fever to the WNBA Finals last season. Indiana is once again one of the league's top threats against opposing offenses. Their 70.24 points allowed a night is best in the league, and they're also at the near the top in steals (10.6) and blocks (5.6).
MVP: Tamika Catchings - 16.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.65 spg
|11-6, 3rd East (2.0 GB)|
|Where the Sun would be without Tina Charles nobody knows. I'm confident, however, they wouldn't be 10-8. Charles is putting up MVP-type numbers in her freshman season. MVP and Rookie of the Year trophies in the same campaign are not out of the question, just like Candace Parker did in 2008 with the Los Angeles Sparks.
MVP: Tina Charles - 15.9 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 1.7 bpg
|10-8, 4th East (3.5 GB)|
|We all wondered if the reigning WNBA champions would be as dominating after trading guard Cappie Pondexter to New York. The truth is: it doesn't look like it. In actuality, there's no way to tell if that's the reason behind their 7-11 start. After all, Candice Dupree, who came over from the Chicago Sky in the same deal, has played well. Diana Taurasi is also playing as good as ever before.
MVP: Diana Taurasi - 22.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg
|7-11, 3rd West (9 GB)|
|The Sky may be fifth in the East at this point, but they certainly aren't playing like a fifth-place team. Center Sylvia Fowles has been as hot as anyone through 18 games. Fowles is in the Top 5 in the league in scoring (19.3) and rebounding (9.4). If her supporting cast can step up -- Fowles' 19 points average is nearly 10 more than the Sky's next highest (Jia Perkins, 9.9) player -- the Sky is truly the limit.
MVP: Jia Perkins - 19.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.78 bpg
|8-10, 5th East (5.5 GB)|
|Each team in the three-team deal that brought Cappie Pondexter to New York is receiving solid contributions from their pick-ups. The Liberty, however, look to be the winners in the deal though. Pondexter is fourth in the league in scoring (19.6) and is fifth in assists (4.8). Let's also give props to fellow newcomers Taj-McWilliams Franklin and Plenette Pierson, who are both averaging more than 10 a night.
MVP:Cappie Pondexter - 19.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.8 apg
|7-9, 6th East (5.5 GB)|
|I'm going to be honest. There was a point this season I thought the Silver Stars would be much lower on these rankings midway through the year. But they've put together a 3-4 record over their last seven, and in the West, that was good enough to propel them into third place. With a lineup containing Sophia Young, Becky Hammon, Chamique Holdsclaw and Michelle Snow, this team could make a statement in the second half.
MVP: Sophia Young - 15.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.3 apg
|6-10, 3rd West (9 GB)|
|Seimone Augustus' return from abdominal surgery has definitely been a boost for this Lynx franchise. The team is 4-4 since Augustus stepped back on the court, as opposed to 2-7 prior. Four of their next six games are against Atlanta, Seattle and Phoenix (two), which will be a telling sign which direction Minnesota is heading.
MVP:Rebekkah Brunson - 13.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 1.69 spg
|6-11, 4th West (9.5 GB)|
|Losing Candace Parker to a season-ending left shoulder injury is a crushing blow to the L.A. franchise. Parker was averaging a double-double through the 10 games she did play. Unfortunately, even with her solid output, the Sparks still had trouble winning games. Tina Thompson and DeLisha Milton-Jones are now in control of the Spark's destiny.
MVP: Candace Parker - 20.6 ppg, 10.10 rpg, 2.20 bpg
|4-13, 5th West (11.5 GB)|
|There was a point this season when the Shock won three of four games and I thought, "hey, they could be pretty good." Since that point, however, Tulsa has lost their last 11 games. Opposing teams are dominating the Shock in rebounds, assists and steals. It also doesn't help that they're surrendering over 89 points a night, second worst in the league. There's been a lot of turnover this year, but none of it has seemed to work.
MVP: Scholanda Robinson - 12.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.6 apg
|3-14, 6th West (12.5 GB)|