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2019 WNBA.com Power Rankings: Week 4

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.

Injuries are simply part of the game. Just ask the Golden State Warriors.

Every team has to deal with injuries at some point of the season, but as the 2019 WNBA season tipped off a rash of injuries to some of the game’s top stars hovered over the league.

And while many are still on the mend – Breanna Stewart (Achilles, out for season), Sue Bird (knee), Skylar Diggins-Smith (childbirth recovery), Angel McCoughtry (knee) – others are making their way back to the court very soon.

In the case of the L.A. Sparks, they have opened the season 4-3 despite not having two-time MVP Candace Parker (sidelined since preseason with a hamstring injury) and two-time DPOY Alana Beard (out since opening day with a leg injury). With multiple teams at 4-3 at this point in the season, L.A. gets the edge in the power rankings because they got there shorthanded and with a healthy roster on the horizon, they should only improve.

Another former MVP that is getting closer to a return is Diana Taurasi, who has been out since having back surgery in late April. The WNBA’s all-time scoring leader has progressed from non-contract drills to being a full participant in Mercury practice. When she gets back on the court is still unknown, but the Mercury could use her after opening the season 2-4.

Taurasi’s minutes will likely be limited in her first few games as she works herself back into playing shape and fully feels comfortable with her normal workload. A similar scenario played out in Las Vegas to open the season with Liz Cambage coming off the bench and playing limited minutes in her first two games before steadily moving into the starting lineup and increasing her workload. She logged a season-high 33 minutes against Minnesota on Sunday as the Aces won their second straight and third in the last four games.

Biggest Rise

The Chicago Sky rise four spots in this week’s rankings as they open the week as one of just two teams – along with Connecticut – that is at least two games above .500 in the WNBA. After opening the season 1-2, the Sky have won three straight, thanks in large part to an improved defense. After allowing 90.3 points per game in their first three games, the Sky have allowed just 70 per game during this three-game winning streak. The Sky open the week in New York on Wednesday before returning to Chicago to host Indiana and Connecticut (Sun. 6 PM ET, NBA TV).

Biggest Fall

The Minnesota Lynx drop four spots in this week’s rankings as their losing streak was extended to four with their home loss to Las Vegas on Sunday. After their promising 3-0 start to the season, the Lynx have gone 1-5 since, with all six of those games decided by single digits (-7 at SEA, +2 vs. PHX, -4 vs. LAS, -6 at NYL, -4 vs. CON, -5 vs. LVA). Despite losing all but one of those games, the Lynx continue to give themselves chances to win each and every night. Their average loss of 5.2 points is the lowest in the WNBA as their five losses have come by a combined 26 points. The other three teams that have five losses have differentials of -50 (DAL), -65 (NYL) and -76 (ATL), while Minnesota’s -26 is matched by Indiana (over four losses) and Washington (over three losses).

This Week’s Rankings

1. Connecticut Sun (8-1)

    • Previous Rank: 1
    • Last Week: (3-0) W vs. WAS 83-75; W at MIN 85-81; W vs. SEA 81-67
    • This Week: Fri. 6/21 vs. ATL; Sun. 6/23 at CHI
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 101.1 (3); DefRtg: 91.7 (2); NetRtg: 9.4 (2); eFG%: 46.3 (9); Pace: 95.5 (6)

2. Los Angeles Sparks (4-3)

    • Previous Rank: 3
    • Last Week: (1-1) W at PHX 85-68; L vs. NYL 98-92
    • This Week: Tue. 6/18 vs. WAS; Fri. 6/21 at SEA; Sun. 6/23 at PHX
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.6 (6); DefRtg: 97.6 (5); NetRtg: 0.0 (7); eFG%: 47.1 (6); Pace: 99.6 (3)

3. Las Vegas Aces (4-3)

    • Previous Rank: 6
    • Last Week: (2-0) W vs. NYL 100-65; W at MIN 80-75
    • This Week: Thur. 6/20 vs. WAS; Sat. 6/22 vs. DAL
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.2 (4); DefRtg: 89.4 (1); NetRtg: 9.7 (1); eFG%: 47.5 (5); Pace: 102.2 (1)

4. Washington Mystics (4-3)

    • Previous Rank: 2
    • Last Week: (0-2) L at CON 83-75; L vs. SEA 74-71
    • This Week: Tue. 6/18 at LAS; Thur. 6/20 at LVA; Sun. 6/23 at ATL
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 108.4 (1); DefRtg: 100.0 (T-8); NetRtg: 8.4 (3); eFG%: 50.2 (1); Pace: 93.9 (8)

5. Chicago Sky (4-2)

    • Previous Rank: 9
    • Last Week: (2-0) W vs. PHX 82-75; W at IND 70-64
    • This Week: Wed. 6/19 at NYL; Fri. 6/21 vs. IND; Sun. 6/23 vs. CON
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.5 (8); DefRtg: 98.2 (6); NetRtg: -2.6 (8); eFG%: 48.6 (2); Pace: 98.1 (4)

6. Seattle Storm (5-4)

    • Previous Rank: 8
    • Last Week: (2-1) W vs. IND 84-82; W at WAS 74-71; L at CON 81-67
    • This Week: Fri. 6/21 vs. LAS; Sun. 6/23 vs. IND
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.6 (7); DefRtg: 96.6 (4); NetRtg: 0.0 (6); eFG%: 46.9 (8); Pace: 93.7 (9)

7. Indiana Fever (4-4)

    • Previous Rank: 5
    • Last Week: (1-2) L vs. SEA 84-82; W at DAL 76-72; L vs. CHI 70-64
    • This Week: Wed. 6/19 at ATL; Fri. 6/21 at CHI; Sun. 6/23 at SEA
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.9 (2); DefRtg: 101.1 (10); NetRtg: 1.8 (4); eFG%: 48.3 (4); Pace: 93.2 (10)

8. Minnesota Lynx (4-5)

    • Previous Rank: 4
    • Last Week: (0-3) L at NYL 75-69; L vs. CON 85-81; L vs. MIN 80-75
    • This Week: Sat. 6/22 vs. NYL
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.1 (10); DefRtg: 94.2 (3); NetRtg: 0.9 (5); eFG%: 48.5 (3); Pace: 94.7 (7)

9. Phoenix Mercury (2-4)

    • Previous Rank: 7
    • Last Week: (0-2) L at CHI 82-75; L vs. LAS 85-68
    • This Week: Thur. 6/20 at DAL; Sun. 6/23 vs. LAS
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.2 (5); DefRtg: 103.1 (12); NetRtg: -4.8 (9); eFG%: 47.3 (6); Pace: 91.4 (11)

10. New York Liberty (3-5)

    • Previous Rank: 10
    • Last Week: (2-1) W vs. MIN 75-69; L at LVA 100-65; W at LAS 98-92
    • This Week: Wed. 6/19 vs. CHI; Sat. 6/22 at MIN
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.4 (9); DefRtg: 101.8 (11); NetRtg: -6.4 (10); eFG%: 44.9 (10); Pace: 100.8 (2)

11. Dallas Wings (1-5)

    • Previous Rank: 12
    • Last Week: (1-1) L vs. IND 76-72; W vs. ATL 71-61
    • This Week: Thur. 6/20 vs. PHX; Sat. 6/22 at LVA
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 90.7 (11); DefRtg: 100.0 (T-8); NetRtg: -9.3 (11); eFG%: 41.0 (11); Pace: 89.8 (12)

12. Atlanta Dream (1-5)

    • Previous Rank: 11
    • Last Week: (0-1) L at DAL 71-61
    • This Week: Wed. 6/19 vs. IND; Fri. 6/21 at CON; Sun. 6/23 vs. WAS
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 84.9 (12); DefRtg: 99.2 (7); NetRtg: -14.2 (12); eFG%: 39.9 (12); Pace: 96.0 (5)