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2019 WNBA.com Power Rankings: Week 8

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 the All-Star break on the horizon – the starters and reserves headed to Las Vegas later this month have both been revealed – teams will get a much-needed respite before the final playoff push begins once the midseason festivities come to an end.

There will be a total of 87 games played post All-Star (plus the conclusion of the Mystics-Aces earthquake halted game from July 5) for teams to jockey for playoff position – whether that be the top tier teams gunning for a top two seed and double-bye to the semifinals, or middle to lower tier teams looking to make the eight-team field.

The Aces enter this week riding a five-game win streak that has vaulted them to the top of the standings and power rankings. Can they keep that momentum going as they face Seattle twice (split between home and road) and Minnesota before the break? Vegas is one of eight teams in the league with three games remaining on their schedule until All-Star, while Connecticut, Chicago and New York each have just two and Atlanta has a league-high four games to play.

Biggest Rise

The aforementioned Atlanta Dream made the biggest rise in this week’s rankings, climbing out of the No. 12 spot up to the No. 10 spot after going 2-1 over the past week. After opening the season 2-9, the Dream have gone 3-2 in their past five games as they try to salvage their season. The key to the turnaround has been their defense as the Dream have an 87.2 defensive rating over the past five games (third in the WNBA over that stretch), compared to a 103.1 defensive rating through their first 11 games (last in the league). Defense was Atlanta’s calling card last season as they finished 23-11 and earned the No. 2 seed. They already have as many losses this year as they did all of last season, so getting back to the No. 2 seed may not be in the cards, but if they can play the kind of defense they did a year ago they can get themselves back into the playoff picture. With four games to play before the break, the Dream have a chance to keep building on their recent success and continue to climb in the standings. Atlanta is currently 2.5 games back of the eighth seed with four teams to pass along the way.

Biggest Fall

The Mystics entered their July 5 showdown with the Aces in Las Vegas riding a five-game win streak and led by 15 points at halftime. Then the earthquake hit that forced the remainder of that game to be postponed, and things have not gone so well for Washington since then. All-Star captain Elena Delle Donne suffered a broken nose in the first minute of the Mystics’ next game against the Sparks. Washington would go on to lose that game and the next two as Delle Donne has yet to return to the court. This season, the Mystics are 0-4 without Delle Donne (including the Sparks game that she exited so early) and 9-2 when she does play. Sometimes its as simple as needing your MVP on the court; the Mystics have outscored their opponents by 115 points in the 328 minutes Delle Donne has on court. In her 272 minutes off the court, Washington’s margin for error is essentially erased they have outscored their opponents by a total of five points.

This Week’s Rankings

1. Las Vegas Aces (11-5)

    • Previous Rank: 2
    • Last Week: (2-0) W at IND 74-71 W at WAS 85-81
    • Games Before All-Star: Fri. 7/19 at SEA; Sun. 7/21 vs. MIN; Tue. 7/23 vs. SEA
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.0 (5); DefRtg: 90.9 (1); NetRtg: 7.1 (2); eFG%: 47.2 (4); Pace: 100.50 (1)

2. Connecticut Sun (11-6)

    • Previous Rank: 3
    • Last Week: (2-1) L at ATL 78-75; W vs PHX 79-64; W at IND 76-63
    • Games Before All-Star: Fri. 7/19 vs. ATL; Wed. 7/24 vs. NYL
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.2 (4); DefRtg: 95.1 (4); NetRtg: 3.1 (4); eFG%: 46.1 (8); Pace: 94.91 (6)

3. Washington Mystics (9-6)

    • Previous Rank: 1
    • Last Week: (0-2) L vs. PHX 91-68; L at LVA 85-81
    • Games Before All-Star: Fri. 7/19 at IND; Sun. 7/21 vs. ATL; Wed. 7/24 at MIN
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 107.2 (1); DefRtg: 97.1 (5); NetRtg: 10.0 (1); eFG%: 50.7 (1); Pace: 94.92 (5)

4. Minnesota Lynx (10-7)

    • Previous Rank: 4
    • Last Week: (2-1) W at CHI 73-72; L at ATL 60-53; W VS. PHX 75-62
    • Games Before All-Star: Wed. 7/17 vs. SEA; Sun. 7/21 at LVA; Wed. 7/24 vs. WAS
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.7 (6); DefRtg: 93.3 (2); NetRtg: 3.4 (3); eFG%: 47.7 (3); Pace: 94.20 (7)

5. Los Angeles Sparks (9-7)

    • Previous Rank: 5
    • Last Week: (2-1) L at DAL 74-62; W at IND 90-84; W at ATL 76-71
    • Games Before All-Star: Thur. 7/18 vs. DAL; Sat. 7/20 at NYL; Tue. 7/23 at ATL
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.4 (8); DefRtg: 97.1 (6); NetRtg: -0.7 (7); eFG%: 46.0 (9); Pace: 97.15 (4)

6. Seattle Storm (10-8)

    • Previous Rank: 6
    • Last Week: (2-0) W vs. DAL 95-81; W vs. NYL 78-69
    • Games Before All-Star: Wed. 7/17 at MIN; Fri. 7/19 vs. LVA; Tue. 7/23 at LVA
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.4 (9); DefRtg: 93.9 (3); NetRtg: 2.5 (5); eFG%: 46.9 (5); Pace: 93.53 (8)

7. Chicago Sky (9-8)

    • Previous Rank: 8
    • Last Week: (2-1) L vs. MIN 73-72; W vs. NYL 99-83; W at DAL 89-79
    • Games Before All-Star: Wed. 7/17 vs. ATL; Sun. 7/21 vs. IND
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.3 (3); DefRtg: 98.5 (9); NetRtg: -0.3 (6); eFG%: 49.8 (2); Pace: 97.51 (3)

8. Phoenix Mercury (7-8)

    • Previous Rank: 7
    • Last Week: (1-2) W at WAS 91-68; L at CON 79-64; L at MIN 75-62
    • Games Before All-Star: Wed. 7/17 vs. DAL; Sat. 7/20 at DAL; Tue. 7/23 vs. IND
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.6 (7); DefRtg: 97.6 (7); NetRtg: -1.0 (8); eFG%: 46.8 (6); Pace: 91.32 (12)

9. New York Liberty (7-10)

    • Previous Rank: 9
    • Last Week: (0-2) L at CHI 99-83; L at SEA 78-69
    • Games Before All-Star: Sat. 7/20 vs. LAS; Wed. 7/24 at CON
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.3 (10); DefRtg: 101.8 (12); NetRtg: -6.5 (10); eFG%: 45.2 (10); Pace: 98.22 (2)

10. Atlanta Dream (5-11)

    • Previous Rank: 12
    • Last Week: (2-1) W vs. CON 78-75; W vs. MIN 60-53; L vs. LAS 76-71
    • Games Before All-Star: Wed. 7/17 at CHI; Fri. 7/19 at CON; Sun. 7/21 at WAS; Tue. 7/23 vs. LAS
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 89.4 (12); DefRtg: 98.2 (8); NetRtg: -8.8 (12); eFG%: 41.3 (12); Pace: 92.91 (9)

11. Indiana Fever (6-12)

    • Previous Rank: 10
    • Last Week: (0-3) L vs. LVA 74-71; L vs. LAS 90-84; L vs. CON 76-63
    • Games Before All-Star: Fri. 7/19 vs. WAS; Sun. 7/21 at CHI; Tue. 7/23 at PHX
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.9 (2); DefRtg: 101.1 (11); NetRtg: -2.2 (9); eFG%: 46.5 (7); Pace: 92.82 (10)

12. Dallas Wings (5-11)

    • Previous Rank: 11
    • Last Week: (1-2) W vs. LAS 74-62; L at SEA 95-81; L vs. CHI 89-79
    • Games Before All-Star: Wed. 7/17 at PHX; Thur. 7/18 at LAS; Sat. 7/20 vs. PHX
    • Team Stats: OffRtg: 92.7 (11); DefRtg: 99.4 (10); NetRtg: -6.7 (11); eFG%: 43.0 (11) 91.65 (11)