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2020 WNBA.com Power Rankings: Week 3

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.

Entering Tuesday’s games, the 2020 WNBA season is already more than a third complete as 45 of the 132 games (34.1%) have already been played. With just over a month remaining in the regular season – which concludes on Sept. 12 – this sprint is not letting up and will test teams’ depth and adaptability the rest of the way.

We have already witnessed a rash of injuries that have seen some prominent veterans like Sue Bird (knee), Diana Taurasi (hip) and Sylvia Fowles (calf) miss time as well as promising rookies like Sabrina Ionescu (ankle) and Chennedy Carter (ankle). Plus, there are still players like Briann January and Erica Wheeler that have yet to make their season debuts as they recover from COVID-19. And that doesn’t even cover the players that are out for the season due to personal or health reasons amid the pandemic.

Which teams are best equipped to handle these challenges and still prevail in this unique season? Let’s start with the Seattle Storm, who are riding a league-high five-game win streak with Bird out of the lineup as she recovers from a bone bruise in her knee.

Jordin Canada has been outstanding in filling in for Bird, averaging 11.4 points, 6.2 assists and 2.2 steals in her five starts this season. Canada was thrust into the starting job last season – in her second year as a pro – with Bird missing the entire season due to injury. The experience that she gained during last season (she averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 assists in 30 games) has prepared her for this moment.

Taurasi went down during Phoenix’s loss to Seattle on Saturday with an injury to her lower back and hip. While there is good news that an MRI showed no structural damage, the team has not announced how long the league’s all-time leading scorer will be out.

The Mercury earned a win over Dallas on Monday without Taurasi as Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 26 points and double-doubles from Brittney Griner and Brianna Turner helped Phoenix improve to 5-3 on the season. Bria Hartley, who missed two games due to a lingering foot injury, returned against Dallas and continued her breakout season – the seventh-year pro is averaging a career-best 16.7 points per game.

It is a similar story in Minnesota as players have stepped up in the absence of Sylvia Fowles, who has missed two of the past three games for the Lynx. Young players like Bridget Carleton (25 points vs. NYL), Lexie Brown (26 points vs. IND) and rookie Crystal Dangerfield (29 points vs. LAS) have all made their mark over the past three games as the Lynx sit at 5-2 heading into Tuesday’s game against Washington.

Now onto this week’s Power Rankings, which see a big jump for the Las Vegas Aces as A’ja Wilson leads the WNBA in scoring (22.3 PPG) and ranks fourth in rebounding (8.9 RPG), and Angel McCoughtry (14.6 PPG) has looked good through seven games after going nearly two full calendar years without playing in the WNBA due to injury. The defending champion Mystics make the biggest drop after their promising start was followed by a four-game losing streak.

1. Seattle Storm (7-1)

Previous Rank: 2
Last Week: (4-0) W vs. CON 87-74; W vs. ATL 93-92; W vs. PHX 74-68; W vs. CHI 89-71
This Week: 8/12 vs. ATL; 8/14 vs. DAL; 8/16 vs. CON
Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.4 (4); DefRtg: 92.8 (1); NetRtg: 10.6 (1); eFG%: 52.1 (3); Pace: 97.73 (9)

2. Las Vegas Aces (5-2)

Previous Rank: 7
Last Week: (3-0) W vs. WAS 83-77; W vs. LAS 86-82; W vs. NYL 78-76
This Week: 8/11 vs. IND; 8/13 vs. MIN; 8/15 vs. WAS
Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.7 (5); DefRtg: 95.9 (2); NetRtg: 6.8 (2); eFG%: 50.4 (T-5); Pace: 101.14 (2)

3. Phoenix Mercury (5-3)

Previous Rank: 5
Last Week: (3-1 W vs. ATL 81-74; W vs. CHI 96-86; L vs, SEA 74-68; W vs. DAL 91-79
This Week: 8/12 vs. CHI; 8/14 vs. ATL; 8/16 vs. DAL
Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.3 (1); DefRtg: 100.3 (6); NetRtg: 5.0 (3); eFG%: 52.0 (4); Pace: 101.40 (1)

4. Chicago Sky (5-3)

Previous Rank: 3
Last Week: (2-2) W vs. DAL 82-79; L vs. PHX 96-86; W vs. CON 100-93; L vs. SEA 89-71
This Week: 8/12 vs. PHX; 8/14 vs. CON; 8/16 vs. ATL
Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.7 (6); DefRtg: 103.3 (8); NetRtg: -0.6 (7); eFG%: 54.8 (1); Pace: 100.65 (3)

5. Los Angeles Sparks (4-3)

Previous Rank: 6
Last Week: (2-1) W vs. IND 86-75; L vs. LVA 86-82; W vs. MIN 97-81
This Week: 8/11 vs. NYL; 8/13 vs. WAS; 8/15 vs. IND
Team Stats: OffRtg: 101.7 (7); DefRtg: 97.6 (3); NetRtg: 4.1 (4); eFG%: 53.1 (2); Pace: 100.54 (4)

6. Minnesota Lynx (5-2)

Previous Rank: 4
Last Week: (2-1) W vs. NYL 92-66; W vs. IND 87-80; L vs. LAS 97-81
This Week: 8/11 vs. WAS; 8/13 vs. LVA; 8/15 vs. NYL
Team Stats: OffRtg: 101.3 (8); DefRtg: 98.4 (4); NetRtg: 2.9 (6); eFG%: 49.2 (9); Pace: 95.83 (12)

7. Indiana Fever (3-4)

Previous Rank: 9
Last Week: (1-2) L vs. LAS 86-75; L vs. MIN 87-80; W vs. WAS 91-84
This Week: 8/11 vs. LVA; 8/13 vs. NYL; 8/15 vs. LAS
Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.3 (2); DefRtg: 108.3 (12); NetRtg: -3.0 (9); eFG%: 50.4 (T-5); Pace: 96.69 (11)

8. Washington Mystics (3-4)

Previous Rank: 1
Last Week: (0-3) L vs. LVA 83-77; L vs, NYL 74-66; L vs. IND 91-84
This Week: 8/11 vs. MIN; 8/13 vs. LAS; 8/15 vs. LVA
Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.5 (3); DefRtg: 99.5 (5); NetRtg: 4.0 (5); eFG%: 49.8 (7); Pace: 98.74 (7)

9. Connecticut Sun (2-6)

Previous Rank: 11
Last Week: (2-2) L vs. SEA 87-74; W vs. DAL 91-68; L vs. CHI 100-93; W vs. ATL 93-82
This Week: 8/12 vs. DAL; 8/14 vs. CHI; 8/16 vs. SEA
Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.1 (11); DefRtg: 100.8 (7); NetRtg: -1.7 (8); eFG%: 48.4 (10); Pace: 99.15 (6)

10. Dallas Wings (3-5)

Previous Rank: 8
Last Week: (1-3) L vs. CHI 82-79; L vs. CON 91-68; W vs. ATL 85-75; L vs. PHX 91-79
This Week: 8/12 vs. CON; 8/14 vs. SEA; 8/16 vs. PHX
Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.0 (9); DefRtg: 104.3 (10); NetRtg: -4.3 (10); eFG%: 46.6 (11); Pace: 96.98 (10)

11. New York Liberty (1-6)

Previous Rank: 12
Last Week: (1-2) L vs. MIN 92-66; W vs. WAS 74-66; L vs. LVA 78-76
This Week: 8/11 vs. LAS; 8/13 vs. IND; 8/15 vs. MIN
Team Stats: OffRtg: 89.0 (12); DefRtg: 103.8 (9); NetRtg: -14.8 (12); eFG%: 43.5 (12); Pace: 98.49 (8)

12. Atlanta Dream (2-6)

Previous Rank: 10
Last Week: (0-4) L vs. PHX 81-74; L vs. SEA 93-92; L vs. DAL 85-75; L vs. CON 93-82
This Week: 8/12 vs. SEA; 8/14 vs. PHX; 8/16 vs. CHI
Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.1 (10); DefRtg: 108.3 (11); NetRtg: -9.2 (11); eFG%: 49.4 (8); Pace: 99.60 (5)