The Phoenix is Rising ... Fast
By Brian Martin,

The Indiana Fever hold on to the No. 1 spot as they extend their win streak to seven games with a pair of W's over the last week. But the Phoenix Mercury are hot on their heels, winning five games in a row to climb to the top of the Western Conference standings. Speaking of streaks, don't forget about the Liberty, who have rattled off four in a row as well. There's your top three, now let's see how the rest of the teams stack up this week.


TEAM (last week) W / L NOTES
Indiana (1)
10-3 Retaining its title as the hottest team in the league with their seven-game win streak, the Fever also got some good news on Thursday night as the fans voted Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas to start in this year's All-Star Game. They are the only teammates to make the East starting lineup.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 vs Minnesota, 7/17 @ Connecticut, 7/19 @ Atlanta
Phoenix (5)
9-4 In arguably the game of the year so far, the Mercury topped the Lynx in Minnesota on Wednesday to pick up their fifth win in a row. Since dropping its first three games of the season, the Mercury have gone 9-1 to reach the top of the Western Conference standings.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 vs Washington, 7/20 vs Minnesota, 7/26 vs Seattle
New York (7)
8-5 All-Star starter Cappie Pondexter and the Liberty picked up their fourth straight win with a wire-to-wire victory over the Dream on Wednesday to climb to second in the East. A pair of games against Connecticut this week gives New York a chance to create some separation in the standings if they stay hot.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 vs Connecticut, 7/17 vs Tulsa, 7/19 @ Connecticut
Minnesota (3)
7-4 This week brought hope and concern for Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. She has to be encouraged by the performance of Maya Moore against the Sun on Saturday (26 points, six threes), but she then watched her team give up a season-high 112 points to the Mercury on Wednesday. The Lynx face a trio of tough teams leading into the All-Star break.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 @ Indiana, 7/16 vs Seattle, 7/20 @ Phoenix
San Antonio (2)
7-2 The Silver Stars bounced back from their three-game slide with a win over the Storm on Thursday night. Reigning Rookie of the Month Danielle Adams led the way with 23 points off the bench. Speaking of the bench, the San Antonio reserves scored all 25 of its points in the fourth quarter (15 from Adams).
Upcoming Games: 7/18 @ Los Angeles, 7/21 @ Seattle, 7/26 @ Washington
Seattle (8)
7-5 The Storm are still adjusting to life without reigning MVP Lauren Jackson, going 4-3 since she last played on June 21. Reports out of Seattle this week indicate that Jackson's rehab is ahead of schedule and there's a chance she could return before the end of the season. Sue Bird and Swin Cash, who have been asked to do even more in LJ's absence, were named All-Star starters Thursday.
Upcoming Games: 7/16 @ Minnesota, 7/19 @ Chicago, 7/21 vs San Antonio
Connecticut (4)
6-5 Connecticut dropped a pair of road games this week to fall to 1-5 away from Mohegan Sun Arena, where they are a perfect 5-0. In those two losses, Tina Charles, who was just named the starting East center in the All-Star Game, scored a combined 21 points on 7-for-24 shooting (.291 percent), a far cry from her season average of .494 percent.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 @ New York, 7/17 vs Indiana, 7/19 vs New York
Chicago (6)
7-7 The Sky feature the league's leading scorer in Sylvia Fowles, but find themselves in the bottom third of the league in offense. Other than guard Epiphanny Prince (16.6 ppg) no other Sky player is averaging double figures in scoring. The Sky are just 1-4 in games against teams that score in the top third.
Upcoming Games: 7/16 @ Atlanta, 7/19 vs Seattle, 7/21 @ Indiana
Los Angeles (9)
5-6 Following a 19-point loss to the Storm on Saturday, the Sparks made a head coaching change with Joe "Jellybean" Bryant taking over for Jennifer Gillom for his second stint as head coach. The Sparks responded well, picking up a road win over San Antonio in Bryant's debut game.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 @ Tulsa, 7/17 vs Washington, 7/18 vs San Antonio
Atlanta (10)
3-9 The Dream continue to struggle in 2011 after their breakout performance a year ago propelled them to the Finals in just their third season. Already three full games behind fourth-place Chicago, the Dream need to right the ship quickly if they hope to have a chance of defending their Eastern Conference crown in September.
Upcoming Games: 7/16 vs Chicago, 7/19 vs Indiana, 7/20 @ Washington
Washington (11)
2-9 Alana Beard appears close to a return to the floor from a left foot sprain that has kept her on the sidelines this season. Beard's absence, along with that of veteran Monique Currie has provided an opportunity for Matee Ajavon and Marissa Coleman to assume starting roles and gain valuable experience.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 @ Phoenix, 7/17 @ Los Angeles, 7/20 vs Atlanta
Tulsa (12)
1-12 This week brought three more losses for the Shock and the resignation of head coach and general manager Nolan Richardson. Assistant coach Teresa Edwards was named interim coach and has her work cut out for her in her first head coaching job.
Upcoming Games: 7/15 vs Los Angeles, 7/17 @ New York, 7/26 vs Atlanta