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2018 Power Rankings: Week 11

Note: WNBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Tuesday during the season, are the opinion of this writer and do not reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.

With All-Star weekend in the rearview, the playoff push is officially on as we enter a three-week sprint toward the end of the regular season with the playoff picture well out of focus.

While the Storm have a 2.5 game lead on the rest of the field, only 2.5 games separate the next seven teams in the standings, with one game separating seeds three through seven. The standings are shuffling each day as a single win or loss becomes critically important to each team’s playoff fate.

“This is the deepest the WNBA has ever been in my opinion,” Connecticut’s (and ESPN’s) Chiney Ogwumike said on Friday. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game every night.

“No game is guaranteed. It’s the hardest year. If you look at the records, it says it all. Everyone is pretty much in the mix for the playoffs.”

As a reminder, the current playoff format takes the top eight teams regardless of conference, with the top two seeds earning byes to the Semifinal Round and the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds earning byes to the Second Round. The first two rounds are single elimination games, followed by five-game series in the Semifinals and Finals.

In the first two seasons of this playoff format, Minnesota and Los Angeles ran away with the top two seeds and left the rest of the league scrambling to secure the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds to earn a First Round bye and home-court advantage in the Second Round. This season, every seed is up for grabs as a win streak can vault you up the standings fast (see Atlanta’s eight-game streak) and a losing streak can send you tumbling (see Phoenix’s three-game streak).

With every game from here on out so important, this week we will break down the schedules for each team during the stretch run and see which teams have the easiest or most difficult path to the postseason.


1. Seattle Storm (19-7)

Last Week: 1, 1-0 (at IND)
OffRtg: 107.8 (1); DefRtg: 98.5 (3); NetRtg: 9.2 (1)

The Storm hold a 2.5 game lead over the rest of the league as the stretch run begins, and face the easiest schedule down the stretch when looking at the combined records of their remaining eight opponents. Five of those games come on the road, but the Storm have been slightly better on the road (9-3) than they have been at home (10-4) this season.

Games Remaining: 8
Home vs. Road: 3 Home, 5 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 5 Over, 3 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 90-112, 0.446 (1)


2. Atlanta Dream (16-9)

Last Week: 2, 1-0 (at LAS)
OffRtg: 96.5 (11); DefRtg: 95.9 (1); NetRtg: 0.6 (8)

The Dream were the hottest team in the league entering the All-Star break as they are riding a franchise-record eight-game win streak. Can they keep up that momentum over the final three weeks of the season? Their strength of schedule is right about league average and they do have five of their final nine games at home, where they are 9-3 on the season.

Games Remaining: 9
Home vs. Road: 5 Home, 4 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 5 Over, 4 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 113-115, 0.496 (6)


3. Minnesota Lynx (15-10)

Last Week: 4, 1-0 (vs NYL)
OffRtg: 100.7 (8); DefRtg: 97.5 (2); NetRtg: 3.1 (4)

The Lynx have had an uncharacteristic up-and-down season so far, but they entered the All-Star break riding a three-game win streak. However, the Lynx face the second-toughest schedule down the stretch with six of their final nine games coming against opponents over .500, beginning with another Finals rematch with the Sparks in L.A. on Thursday (10 ET, ESPN 2).

Games Remaining: 9
Home vs. Road: 4 Home, 5 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 6 Over, 3 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 127-104, 0.550 (11)


4. Dallas Wings (14-11)

Last Week: 5, IDLE
OffRtg: 106.4 (2); DefRtg: 101.2 (6); NetRtg: 5.2 (3)

Dallas opens the stretch run with games against Chicago (9-17) and Indiana (3-23), two teams that are outside the playoff picture and have a combined record of 12-40. After that, the Wings have a tough stretch with five straight games against teams .500 or better, with three coming on the road. Winning away from Dallas has been an issue as the Wings are just 5-7 on the road this season compared to 9-4 at home.

Games Remaining: 9
Home vs. Road: 4 Home, 5 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 6 Over, 3 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 115-115, 0.500 (T-7)


5. Los Angeles Sparks (15-11)

Last Week: 3, 0-1 (vs ATL)
OffRtg: 101.1 (6); DefRtg: 98.8 (4); NetRtg: 2.3 (5)

The Sparks are off until the Finals rematch with Minnesota on Thursday, which gives Nneka Ogwumike a few more days to recover as she tries to get back to full health. The Sparks will need her as they make their push to get to a third straight Finals. Other than two matchups with 7-18 New York, the Sparks do not face a team with fewer than 14 wins down the stretch.

Games Remaining: 8
Home vs. Road: 3 Home, 5 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 6 Over, 2 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 103-100, 0.507 (9)


6. Connecticut Sun (14-12)

Last Week: 9, 1-0 (vs WAS)
OffRtg: 106.2 (3); DefRtg: 100.4 (5); NetRtg: 5.8 (2)

After opening the season with three straight home games, the Sun played 13 of their next 16 games on the road. That unbalanced schedule falls in their favor down the stretch as they have six of their final eight games at Mohegan Sun Arena, where they are 7-4 this season, compared to 7-8 on the road. The Sun also face the third-easiest schedule in terms of opponent win percentage, with four of their next five games coming against teams currently under .500.

Games Remaining: 8
Home vs. Road: 6 Home, 2 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 4 Over, 4 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 95-108, 0.468 (3)


7. Phoenix Mercury (15-11)

Last Week: 6, 0-1 (vs CHI)
OffRtg: 103.9 (5); DefRtg: 101.7 (8); NetRtg: 2.2 (6)

Similar to the Sun, the Mercury spent much of the past two months on the road as 13 of their 18 games from June 1 to July 15 were on the road. However, the Mercury were unable to capitalize on any of their three home games prior to the break. In fact, the Mercury have more losses at home (6 in 11 games) than they do on the road (5 in 15 games) despite playing four more road games so far this season. The Mercury close the season with five straight home games, including two against sub-.500 teams.

Games Remaining: 8
Home vs. Road: 6 Home, 2 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 5 Over, 3 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 101-103, 0.495 (5)


8. Washington Mystics (14-11)

Last Week: 7, 0-1 (at CON)
OffRtg: 105.7 (4); DefRtg: 103.8 (9); NetRtg: 1.9 (7)

The Mystics currently sit in seventh place in the standings as one of four teams with 11 losses on the season. Of those four teams, Washington has the most difficult schedule over the final three weeks of the season, with seven of their final nine games coming against teams currently over .500, with four of those five coming on the road, where Washington is just 6-6 this season.

Games Remaining: 9
Home vs. Road: 4 Home, 5 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 7 Over, 2 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 123-106, 0.537 (10)


9. Las Vegas Aces (12-13)

Last Week: 8, IDLE
OffRtg: 99.3 (9); DefRtg: 101.3 (7); NetRtg: -2.1 (9)

After opening the season 1-7, the Aces have gone 11-6 as they entered the All-Star break just one game under .500 and one seed out of the playoff picture. In order the climb into the top eight, the Aces will have to knock off some stiff competition as their first five games out of the All-Star break come against teams with at least 14 wins and three of those five games come on the road.

Games Remaining: 9
Home vs. Road: 5 Home, 4 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 7 Over, 2 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 114-114, 0.500 (T-7)


10. Chicago Sky (9-17)

Last Week: 10, 1-0 (at PHX)
OffRtg: 101.0 (7); DefRtg: 110.0 (12); NetRtg: -9.0 (11)

Games Remaining: 8
Home vs. Road: 3 Home, 5 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 6 Over, 2 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 94-110, 0.461 (2)

At 9-17, the Sky have not been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but would have to go on an incredible run in order to climb into the top eight. While they do have the second-easiest schedule according to combined opponent win percentage, there is a caveat to that stat. The Sky’s first six games coming out of the All-Star break come against teams currently over .500 and with a combined record of (88-64, .579) before they close out the season with a back-to-back against 3-23 Indiana.


11. New York Liberty (7-18)

Last Week: 11, 0-1 (at MIN)
OffRtg: 98.7 (10); DefRtg: 105.8 (10); NetRtg: -7.0 (10)

Not only are the Liberty currently 6.5 games back of the eighth and final playoff spot, they also face the toughest schedule the rest of the season, with their nine opponents having a combined 128-104 record (0.522 win percentage). Their uphill battle continues with the fact that they close the season with four straight road games, where they are just 3-9 on the season.

Games Remaining: 9
Home vs. Road: 4 Home, 5 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 7 Over, 2 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 128-104, 0.552 (12)


12. Indiana Fever (3-23)

Last Week: 12, 0-1 (vs SEA)
OffRtg: 94.4 (12); DefRtg: 106.7 (11); NetRtg: -12.3 (12)

The Fever are the only team that was officially out of playoff contention at the All-Star break. Their final eight games will be used to garner more experience for their young core and potentially play the spoiler role for some of the teams in playoff contention. The Fever’s three wins this season have come against Atlanta, Minnesota and Los Angeles – teams that currently hold the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds in the playoffs.

Games Remaining: 8
Home vs. Road: 4 Home, 4 Road
Games vs. Teams Over/Under .500: 4 Over, 4 Under
Opponent W-L, Win%: 99-105, 0.485 (4)