Underdogs gaining ground
Posted June 18, 2012 1:00 PM
With a 78-60 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday, the Minnesota Lynx rolled to a 10-0 start, giving them the league's best season-opening winning streak of all time.
Then, just two days later, a two-win team -- the Seattle Storm -- put the kibosh on the Lynx's buzz with an explosive win against the reigning champions.
But the Storm weren't the only team to prove this week that it's much, much too early to write teams off. So, with some movement in the ladder's lower depths, it's time to rank 'em!
|2012 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 6/18|
|TEAM (last week)||W / L||NOTES|
The Lynx set the league record with their 10-0 start, only to be brought down to Earth a few days later by the Seattle Storm. Still, one loss is merely a drop in the bucket, compared to how well the Lynx have played this season. At 10-1, with the league's best defense and second-best offensve, the team is playing some of the best team basketball the league has seen in quite some time.
Upcoming Games: 6/21 vs. New York, 6/23 vs. Chicago
Chicago continues to play impressive hoops, with the second-best record in the league, at 7-2. But that might change this week. In the team's loss against the Fever over the weekend, WNBA second-leading scorer Epiphanny Prince left the game on crutches with a foot injury and is expected to be out for six weeks. Her loss could be a significant blow to the Sky despite the fact the team still has Sylvia Fowles to keep them fiercely competitive.
Upcoming Games:6/23 @ Minnesota, 6/27 vs. Indiana
The Indiana Fever gain ground in the rankings after an impressive 14-point win against the Sky over the weekend. Jessica Davenport lead the team with 19 points, along with double-digit scoring help from Briann January and Tamika Catchings. The team might not have the record yet to show for it, but they have potential to be one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference if they continue to put up fierce numbers like this.
Upcoming Games: 6/19 @ Connecticut, 6/21 vs. Connecticut
The Connecticut Sun's bump down in the rankings has more to do with the Fever racking up a tougher win over the weekend. Sure the Sun beat the Atlanta Dream, 75-73, to give them the top ranking in the Eastern Conference, but the Dream's star player Angel McCoughtry was sidelined during the game with an injury. That being said, Tina Charles continues to put up explosive numbers for the Sun, racking up 23 points and 22 rebounds in the game against the Dream and proving the Sun to be a worthy competitor on the rankings board. At this rate, this could be the lowest you'll see the Sun ranked on the board the rest of the way.
Upcoming Games: 6/19 vs. Indiana, 6/21 @ Indiana
Los Angeles (4)
The Sparks were dealt two gut-wrenching losses over the weekend, including an overtime thriller against the San Antonio Silver Stars. But all is not lost, as Candace Parker continues to rack up 20-30 points a game, easily making her one of the top players in the league. The Sparks still have one of the best records in the league at 7-3 so don't expect them, either, to stay even this low in the rankings for long.
Upcoming Games:6/18 vs. Washington, 6/20 vs. Tulsa
San Antonio (7)
What a game. After the Silver Stars took the Los Angeles Sparks into overtime on Saturday night, the extra frame belonged entirely to San Antonio, with the Silver Stars outscoring LA, 15-2, in OT. Becky Hammon and Sophia Young each put up 24 points that helped the Silver Stars -- now a .500 club -- beat one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Upcoming Games: 6/22 @Seattle, 6/24 @ Los Angeles
No team is dominating the WNBA headlines more than the Seattle Storm, after Sue Bird & Co. put an end to the Lynx's winning streak on Sunday. Minnesota trailed the Storm for pretty much the entire game and just didn't have enough to beat the Storm. Sue Bird racked up 21 points in the game and Tina Thompson picked up some clutch rebounds and free throws that helped the Storm close the game with an impressive win. The Storm's win deserves celebration, but at 3-7, the team still has their work cut out for them to climb back into the race in a hotly competitive West.
Upcoming Games: 6/22 vs. San Antonio, 6/24 vs. Washington
The Atlanta Dream started off the weekend with an impressive win against the Los Angeles Sparks, but followed up the win with a tough loss to the Connecticut Sun on Sunday. Even worse, Angel McCoughtry racked up 31 points against the Sparks only to be sidelined during the Sun game with a foot injury. It remains to be seen how serious McCoughtry's injury is, but the absence of the league's top scorer is bad news for the Dream.
Upcoming Games: 6/19 vs. New York, 6/24 @ New York
The Washington Mystics jump a few spots in the rankings after squeaking by with a 67-66 win over the Indiana Fever, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. But at 2-7, the Mystics, who essentially gutted their entire roster in the offseason, still need improvements to hone in on if they want to move up higher in the rankings.
Upcoming Games: 6/18 @ Los Angeles, 6/20 @ Phoenix
New York (9)
The New York Liberty continue to have trouble getting into a groove this season after another loss -- this time to the Connecticut Sun -- over the weekend sent them to 3-7. Even more concerning for New York is the fact the Sun beat them by 42 points. The Liberty have consistently made the playoffs over the past few years, but playing basketball like this makes their path to the top a daunting one this season.
Upcoming Games: 6/19 @ Atlanta, 6/21 @ Minnesota
The Tulsa Shock picked up their very first win over the weekend, beating the Phoenix Mercury by 12 points. Riquna Williams racked up 19 points for the Shock, with 15 of them coming in the 4th quarter. Despite the tiny bump the team got from beating the Mercury, it's hard to paint a rosy picture after a 1-9 start. The team still has a lot to prove if they want to recover from being the worst team in the league last season.
Upcoming Games: 6/20 @Los Angeles, 6/23 vs. Tulsa
The Phoenix Mercury lost to the Tulsa Shock over the weekend. Ironically, the Mercury's only two wins this season have come against the Shock. After already losing their star Diana Taurasi to injury earlier this season, during the Shock game the Mercury's other star player, Candice Dupree, left the game early with a knee injury. Things aren't looking good for the Mercury and time will tell how much losing their top two players will hurt them this season.
Upcoming Games: 6/20 vs. Washington, 6/24 @ Seattle