2018 Power Rankings: Week 6

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.

This is year three of the WNBA’s new postseason structure that eliminates the traditional East vs. West format and seeds teams by overall record regardless of conference.

The first two years following this rule change provided spectacular results, with the past two WNBA Finals going the maximum five games between teams from the same conference that would have been forced to meet in the conference semifinals under the old format.

Why do we bring that up to open the Week 6 Power Rankings? Well, after a month and a half of play in 2018, the Western Conference is once again reigning over the Eastern Conference. In 38 inter-conference games matching a West team with an East team, the West holds a 26-12 edge.

The top three records in the league are all held by teams from the West; in fact, Los Angeles, Seattle and Phoenix are the only three teams to reach double-digit wins thus far this season. As expected, the West also dominates this week’s rankings with the top four teams hailing from the West and no team ranked lower than ninth.

1. Los Angeles Sparks (10-3)

Last Week: 1 (2-1)
OffRtg: 102.3 (5); DefRtg: 96.1 (2); NetRtg: 6.2 (3)

The Sparks hold the best record in the league with a balanced offense and a stingy defense — they are one of two teams to rank in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The Sparks do it without a top-12 scorer in the league, as Nneka Ogwumike leads the team at 16.2 points per game, which ranks 14th in the league.

2. Seattle Storm (10-4)

Last Week: 3 (2–1)
OffRtg: 108.9 (1); DefRtg: 99.2 (6); NetRtg: 9.7 (1)

The Storm own the league’s top-rated offense behind league leading scorer Breanna Stewart (21.9 ppg). Not only is Stewart scoring at a career-high rate, but she is also doing so more efficiently than ever before. In her third WNBA season, Stewart has a career-best 62.7 true shooting percentage, which ranks eighth in the league among players with a minimum of 500 possessions.

3. Phoenix Mercury (10-5)

Last Week: 2 (0-2)
OffRtg: 104.1 (4); DefRtg: 100.8 (7); NetRtg: 3.3 (4)

After winning eight games in a row, the Mercury had a setback with consecutive losses to Minnesota and Chicago last week. The Mercury feature the top scoring trio in the WNBA with Diana Taurasi (20.2, 2nd WNBA), Brittney Griner (20.1, 3rd) and DeWanna Bonner (15.1, 19th) combining for 55.4 points per game. Phoenix and Seattle are the only two teams with a trio scoring at least 50 points per game.

4. Minnesota Lynx (7-6)

Last Week: 7 (3-0)
OffRtg: 99.6 (7); DefRtg: 97.5 (3); NetRtg: 2.1 (7)

Look who’s back in the top half of the power rankings… it’s the defending champion Minnesota Lynx. The Lynx are riding the longest-active win streak with four straight wins over the last 10 days. Leading the charge has been West Player of the Week Maya Moore, who is averaging 21.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists during the streak, while Sylvia Fowles has added 18.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 63.6% shooting.

5. Washington Mystics (8-5)

Last Week: 6 (2-0)
OffRtg: 105.5 (3); DefRtg: 102.2 (10); NetRtg: 3.3 (5)

The Mystics picked up a pair of impressive wins over the Sky last week (winning by an average of 22 points) to right the ship after the Mystics had lost four of their previous five games. Washington opens a four-game homestand on Tuesday with a matchup with the Sun in their third meeting of the season. The road team has won each of the first two games.

6. Connecticut Sun (8-5)

Last Week: 4 (1-1)
OffRtg: 107.9 (2); DefRtg: 98.5 (4); NetRtg: 9.4 (2)

The Sun got a much-needed win over the 1-13 Fever on Sunday to snap their four-game losing streak. Connecticut got huge contributions from Rachel Banham and Brionna Jones off the bench as the duo combined for 38 points on 15-20 shooting, and Banham going a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc. With Alyssa Thomas still sidelined, the Sun’s depth will be needed as they open the week with a back-to-back against Washington and Indiana over the next two days.

7. Atlanta Dream (7-6)

Last Week: 8 (1-1)
OffRtg: 89.2 (12); DefRtg: 93.6 (1); NetRtg: -4.4 (8)

The Dream picked up a 75-70 win over Connecticut on Friday to improve to 7-6 on the season and 4-2 at home. The Dream are 3-4 away from home and embark on a three-game road trip this week with stops in Chicago, Minnesota and Indiana. After reaching 20 points twice in her first 11 games of the season, East Player of the Week Angel McCoughtry is coming off back-to-back games with at least 25 points, including a career-best 39-point performance against New York last week.

8. Dallas Wings (6-6)

Last Week: 5 (1-2)
OffRtg: 101.3 (6); DefRtg: 99.1 (5); NetRtg: 2.2 (6)

The Wings’ up-and-down week can best be summarized by Skylar Diggins-Smith’s Twitter feed. Here she is following her squad’s 29-point win over the Sparks at home:

And here she is two days later following Dallas’ 21-point loss to the Storm:

Up next for Diggins-Smith and the Wings is their second meeting with the Sparks in less than a week’s time. And sticking with the theme for this entry, that game can be seen on Twitter (10:30 ET).

9. Las Vegas Aces (5-10)

Last Week: 10 (2-1)
OffRtg: 95.9 (9); DefRtg: 101.7 (9); NetRtg: -5.7 (9)

After opening the season 1-7, the Aces have gone 4-3 in their last seven games behind the brilliant play of rookie forward A’ja Wilson. The 2018 No. 1 overall pick joins the 2013 No. 1 overall pick (Brittney Griner) as the only players to rank in the top five in both scoring and rebounding this far into the season. In their final three seasons in San Antonio, the then-Stars won eight, seven and eight games. The Aces are well on their way to surpassing those win totals this season.

10. New York Liberty (4-8)

Last Week: 9 (1-2)
OffRtg: 95.2 (10); DefRtg: 101.2 (8); NetRtg: -6.0 (10)

The Liberty opened last week with a home win over Atlanta, but followed it up with road losses in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. On the season, the Liberty are 3-4 at their new home and just 1-4 on the road. New York opens this week at home with a matchup with the Mercury (Tuesday, 7 ET, League Pass) before hitting the road for a meeting with the Mystics (Thursday, 7 ET, NBA TV).

11. Chicago Sky (4-9)

Last Week: 11 (1-2)
OffRtg: 96.4 (8); DefRtg: 107.9 (12); NetRtg: -11.5 (12)

The Sky snapped a six-game losing streak with an impressive 97-88 win over Phoenix on Sunday as Allie Quigley (20 points) led a balanced attack that saw six Sky players scoring in double figures and Courtney Vandersloot dishing out a season-high 12 assists. With Stefanie Dolson back in the lineup, the Sky are back to full strength with a three-game week on the horizon, beginning with a matchup with Atlanta on Wednesday (12 ET, League Pass).

12. Indiana Fever (1-13)

Last Week: 12 (0-3)
OffRtg: 94.1 (11); DefRtg: 102.2 (11); NetRtg: -8.1 (11)

The Fever faced a tough schedule last week — at Los Angeles, at Seattle and vs. Connecticut — and the end result was an 0-3 week. Indiana has been the second-lowest scoring team this season (75.7 points per game), and were held 10 points below that average last week (65.3). Unfortunately for the Fever, the schedule doesn’t get much easier this week with another meeting with the Sun (Wednesday, 7 ET, NBA TV), followed by home games with the Mercury and Dream to close out the week.