Silver Stars are on fire
Posted July 10, 2012 1:00 PM
Did anyone think this would happen?
The Minnesota Lynx, the defending champions who started the season on a 10-game winning streak, are now on a three-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Silver Stars, a team that was was 4-4 to start the season, is now on a seven-game winning streak with one of the best records in the league now. Oh how times -- and this ladder -- change. Time to rank 'em!
|2012 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 7/10|
|TEAM (last week)||W / L||NOTES|
San Antonio (2)
The San Antonio Silver Stars are on a seven-game winning streak, playing some of their best basketball since they made it to their first WNBA Finals in 2008. It's too early to predict if they can make it that far this year (let alone win it all), but for now their impressive rebound from a shaky start this season is the hottest news in the league right now. Becky Hammon has been on a bulletproof run, leading the team last week with an average of 20.3 points and 4.8 assists a game and shooting 44.8 percent from the field. But the Silver Stars are far more than a one-person team as Jia Perkins and Sophia Young are putting up All-Star-type numbers right now (albeit in a year without an All-Star Game).
Upcoming Games: 7/11 @Chicago, 7/13 vs. Atlanta
Los Angeles (6)
The Los Angeles Sparks rebounded hard from a tiny stumble last week with three wins in a row since. Even better, the wins have been against the Minnesota Lynx, Seattle Storm and Atlanta Dream - none of whom are easy to beat. Candace Parker has taken the top spot in the Race to the MVP with four straight double-double games. She also leads the league with 12 double-double games this season. Complementing her perfectly are her teammates Kristi Toliver and Nneka Ogwumike, who are stepping up with consistent double-digit scoring games and solid defensive numbers too. The Sparks' run this season prove they truly have one of the best rosters in the league right now.
Upcoming Games:7/10 @ Phoenix, 7/12 @Indiana
The Minnesota Lynx have lost three games in a row. To put that in perspective, the team hadn't even lost two games in a row since June 2011. Or, in other words, MORE THAN A YEAR. In fairness, the losses have been by small margins, and to the Silver Stars, Sparks and Sun -- easily the top teams in the league right now -- and the Lynx still have the best record in the league at 13-4. But the way they're playing lately shows they've got some refocusing to do during the Olympic break to get back on track.
Upcoming Games: 7/10 @ Tulsa, 7/12 vs. Tulsa
The Connecticut Sun are easily the top team in the Eastern Conference, with nobody in the division coming close to their 12-4 record. The team won back-to-back games last week, including one against the Lynx. Leading the way for the Sun is Tina Charles, who is playing some of the best basketball of her career, with 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. She's scored in double digits in all but one game this season. The way they're playing now makes it safe to say they're the team to beat in the East this year.
Upcoming Games: 7/11 vs. Washington, 7/13 @Chicago
The Seattle Storm started off the season at 1-7 and have now rebounded by winning six of their last seven matches. Sue Bird missed a game last week with a strained hip but came back the next game with 31 points - the most she's scored since her rookie season. The only thing putting the team this low on the rankings board has been how sluggish their start was but if they continue playing the way they are after the Olympic break, expect them to continue surging upwards.
Upcoming Games: 7/11 vs. Atlanta, 7/13 vs. Phoenix
The Indiana Fever come into the week after a nail-biting win against the Chicago Sky in overtime on Saturday. Tamika Catchings lead the team in all categories with 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals that game in a game decided in the final seconds. It's also worth mentioning during that game Catchings sunk the 1,500th free throw of her career - the first player in WNBA history to do that. That being said, the Fever blew a 13-point lead in the game against the Sky forcing it to go to overtime. And its the second game in a row they've blown a large lead with the one before turning into a loss against the Silver Stars. If the Fever want to move higher in the rankings, they're going to need to work on how they close games.
Upcoming Games: 7/12 vs. Los Angeles, 8/16 vs. Washington
The Chicago Sky start the week on a two-game losing streak with back-to-back losses to the Fever and Liberty, as they still haven't figured out how to fill Epiphanny Prince's void. The loss to the Fever marks the 12th time they've lost to Indiana in the last 13 match-ups. The Sky still have a record above .500 which still puts them ahead of several teams in the league, but that may not be for long unless the Sky get it together quick.
Upcoming Games: 7/11 vs. San Antonio, 7/13 vs. Connecticut
The Atlanta Dream this season seem to have consistent tiny bursts of solid play stunted by hard losses shortly after. They beat the Phoenix Mercury over the weekend in a nail-biting double-overtime game, only to lose by 16 points the day after to the Los Angeles Sparks. Most of the wins the Dream have picked up this season have been against lower-ranked teams. It's a stark contrast to the team that made it all the way to the WNBA Finals last year, although the Dream are notorious late-starters. There's still plenty of time this season to turn things around, but the team needs a turnaround nonetheless if they want to return to the championships again this year.
Upcoming Games: 7/11 @ Seattle, 7/13 @ San Antonio
New York (9)
If you look at the New York Liberty's offensive numbers, they're impressive. During the team's game against the Silver Stars, Essence Carson racked up 25 points, Cappie Pondexter had 23, and Leilani Mitchell and Nicole Powell had 12 points each. But the team ended up losing the game and have lost several others to tough opponents this season. The Liberty can't seem to get into a good defensive groove at all this season and probably won't get any bump-ups on the ranking board until they can work on shutting down tougher teams in the league.
Upcoming Games: 7/13 vs. Washington, 8/16 vs. Connecticut
The Tulsa Shock snapped their two game losing streak with a 16-point win against the Washington Mystics over the weekend. The 62 points the Mystics scored were the fewest points anyone has ever scored against the Shock all season. Rookie Riquana WIlliams led the team with 18 points with Temeka Johnson and Glory Johnson backing her up with 17 and 16 points, respectively. But at 3-13, it's hard to celebrate the win any further, as the Shock still have the worst record in the league.
Upcoming Games: 7/10 vs. Minnesota, 7/12 @ Minnesota
The Washington Mystics are on a two-game losing streak coming into the week with a 16-point loss against the Tulsa Shock - the team with one of the worst records in the league. For a team that gutted its roster in the offseason, trading their budding talent in exchange for some seasoned veterans, the moves don't appear to be paying off yet. Unless the newly made-over Mystics focuses on building team chemistry, don't expect them to be in the single-digits on the rankings board this season.
Upcoming Games: 7/11 @ Connecticut, 7/13 @ New York
Without Diana Taurasi, the Mercury haven't been able to get anywhere this season and are now embroiled in a four-game losing streak. Rookie Sam Prahalis is putting up solid numbers for the team, but her efforts are not enough to carry the team. Short of crossing their fingers that Taurasi returns sooner rather than later, the team isn't likely to go anywhere this season unless everyone else on the team steps it up.
Upcoming Games: 7/10 vs. Los Angeles, 7/13 vs. Seattle