How much have we learned through the first 10 days of the 2022 WNBA season? It’s a tricky question to answer as so many teams are still in a state of flux and not at full strength. Whether it’s wrapping up overseas commitments, health and safety protocols, suspension, or injury, most teams have opened the season without fully complementing players.
However, the games keep coming – and so do the power rankings. With a condensed 36-game schedule, every win and every loss is significant, so the teams that can best navigate this time of roster instability will be in a strong position moving forward.
(Power Rankings are based on each team’s play through 5/16.)
1. Washington Mystics (3-1)
- Previous Ranking: 2
- Last Week’s Results: (1-1) W vs. LVA 89-76; L vs. DAL 94-86
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at DAL; Sunday vs. CHI
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 106.0 (2); DefRtg: 96.2 (6); NetRtg: 9.7 (4); eFG%: 51.8 (4); Pace/40: 79.50 (9)
Washington improved to 3-0 to open the season with an 89-76 win over Las Vegas on Tuesday as Elena Delle Donne led five Mystics in double figures with 19 points. The Mystics are one of the teams dealing with an incomplete roster – Natasha Cloud has missed the last two games in health and safety protocols, Alysha Clark just returned in Washington’s loss to Dallas on Friday, and Elizabeth Williams has yet to play this season. Those absences not only make this 3-1 start impressive but point toward the Mystics being even better when fully healthy.
2. Las Vegas Aces (3-1)
- Previous Ranking: 1
- Last Week’s Results: (1-1) L at WAS 89-76; W at ATL 96-73
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. PHX; Thursday vs. MIN; Saturday vs. PHX
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 108.0 (1); DefRtg: 97.0 (7); NetRtg: 11.0 (2); eFG%: 55.4 (1); Pace/40: 83.75 (1)
Remember how the Las Vegas Aces never shot 3-pointers over the past five seasons? Those days are long gone as the Aces are launching – and splashing – 3-pointers on a nightly basis through their first four games of the season. On Friday, the Aces made a franchise-record 16 3-pointers in a road win over the Dream; it was just the 14th time in WNBA history that a team has made at least 16 3s in a game. Considering the Aces are shooting a league-best 44% from beyond the arc so far this season, they should keep letting them fly.
3. Chicago Sky (2-1)
- Previous Ranking: 5
- Last Week’s Results: (2-0) W vs. NYL 83-50; W at MIN 82-78
- This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday at SEA; Sunday at WAS
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.3 (3); DefRtg: 93.8 (4); NetRtg: 11.6 (1); eFG%: 51.9 (3); Pace/40: 77.44 (11)
After an overtime loss to the Sparks on the opening night of the 2022 season, the defending champion Sky bounced back with a pair of wins over New York and Minnesota this week. Chicago should have its entire squad back on the court soon; Allie Quigley made her season debut on Saturday after missing the first two games of the season, finishing with seven points and four assists in 21 minutes. And WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper just wrapped up her overseas season in dominant fashion as she added EuroLeague MVP, Spanish league champion, and Finals MVP honors to her resume.
4. Connecticut Sun (1-1)
- Previous Ranking: 7
- Last Week’s Results: (1-0) W vs. LAS 77-60
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at NYL; Friday vs. IND; Sunday at IND
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.0 (5); DefRtg: 92.2 (1); NetRtg: 9.8 (3); eFG%: 44.4 (11); Pace/40: 76.50 (12)
The Sun have had the lightest schedule of any team through the first 10 days of the season – with only two games played thus far. After falling to the Liberty in their season opener, the Sun looked much more like themselves in a 77-60 win over the Sparks as Alyssa Thomas (23 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) and Jonquel Jones (16 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals) each recorded double-doubles. With Courtney Williams eligible to play following her two-game suspension to start the season, and DeWanna Bonner returning from overseas play, the Sun will add more playmaking, scoring, defense and swag to their squad as their schedule starts to get busy.
5. Phoenix Mercury (2-1)
- Previous Ranking: 8
- Last Week’s Results: (2-0) W vs. SEA 97-77; W at SEA 69-64
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at LVA; Thursday vs. DAL; Saturday at LVA
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 104.5 (4); DefRtg: 100.4 (10); NetRtg: 4.1 (6); eFG%: 53.7 (2); Pace/40: 81.50 (T-5)
The Mercury swept a home-and-home set against a depleted Storm team this past week – Breanna Stewart and Epiphanny Prince in health and safety protocols, Mercedes Russell out due to injury – to improve to 2-1 after opening the season with a loss to Las Vegas. Tina Charles led the way in the first win over Seattle with her first 20-10 game with the Mercury – Tina is the all-time leader with 95 such games in her career. Diana Taurasi took the baton in the second win, scoring 24 points and making six 3-pointers. In their season-opening loss to the Aces, the Mercury were without Brianna Turner and Diamond DeShields (who have both since returned) as well as Kia Nurse (who remains out). The Mercury visit the Aces twice this week to close out their season series just 15 days into the season and will be closer to full strength in the matchup.
6. Atlanta Dream (3-1)
- Previous Ranking: 9
- Last Week’s Results: (2-1) W vs. LAS 77-75; L vs. LVA 96-73; W at IND 85-79
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at IND; Friday vs. WAS
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 90.9 (11); DefRtg: 93.6 (3); NetRtg: -2.7 (8); eFG%: 46.1 (7); Pace/40: 82.62 (3)
In just her fourth WNBA game, No. 1 overall pick Rhyne Howard exploded for 33 points in Atlanta’s win over Indiana on Sunday to help the Dream improve to 3-1 to open the season. She is only the 14th rookie in WNBA history to score at least 33 points in a game. Here’s the complete list: A’ja Wilson (3x), Arike Ogunbowale (2x), Candace Parker (2x), Sue Bird, Cappie Pondexter, Angel McCoughtry, Danielle Robinson, Odyssey Sims, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Sykes, Kia Nurse, Sabrina Ionescu, Chennedy Carter, Rhyne Howard. With 32 more games to play, can Howard join Wilson, Ogumbowale, and Parker with multiple 33-point efforts in her rookie season?
7. Dallas Wings (2-1)
- Previous Ranking: 11
- Last Week’s Results: (2-0) W at WAS 94-86; W at NYL 81-71
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. WAS; Thursday at PHX; Saturday vs. MIN
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.5 (6); DefRtg: 93.3 (2); NetRtg: 4.2 (5); eFG%: 44.9 (10); Pace/40: 79.83 (8)
After scoring just 59 points in their season-opening loss to the Dream, the Wings bounced back in a big way by handing the Mystics their first (and so far only) loss of the season and followed it up with a 10-point win over the Liberty – with both wins coming on the road. After being held to seven points in the season-opener, Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 against the Mystics and 21 against the Liberty to pace the Wings’ offense. The Wings should also get Satou Sabally back soon as she just wrapped up her play in the Turkish league – winning the title and MVP honors – to bolster their roster as well.
8. Los Angeles Sparks (2-2)
- Previous Ranking: 3
- Last Week’s Results: (0-2) L at ATL 77-75; L at CON 77-60
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. MIN; Friday at SEA
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 94.7 (8); DefRtg: 95.5 (5); NetRtg: -0.9 (7); eFG%: 45.2 (9); Pace/40: 81.82 (4)
The Sparks opened the season with a four-game road trip and after winning the first two games (including an overtime win over the defending champs on opening night), they suffered a pair of setbacks in Atlanta and Connecticut this week to even their record at 2-2 headed into Tuesday’s home opener against the Lynx. With so many new players on the roster this season – Liz Cambage, Jordin Canada, Chennedy Carter, Lexie Brown, as well as their rookies – we expected that L.A. would need some time to build chemistry and find its optimal lineups and rotations. One player that is still a ways away from returning is Kristi Toliver, who is an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks and just advanced to the NBA’s Western Conference Finals, meaning she’s at least two weeks away (and potentially more if the Mavs advance) from making her season debut.
9. Seattle Storm (1-3)
- Previous Ranking: 4
- Last Week’s Results: (0-2) L at PHX 97-77; L vs. PHX 69-64
- This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday vs. CHI; Friday vs. LAS
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.4 (7); DefRtg: 100.0 (9); NetRtg: -4.6 (10); eFG%: 46.2 (6); Pace/40: 81.50 (T-5)
This Storm team is tough to judge through the season’s first four games. They had an impressive win on opening night against the Lynx (who are now the only winless team in the league) and fell to the Aces on the road in a competitive and entertaining matchup. They then dropped a pair of games to the Mercury as they were missing two key players (Breanna Stewart and Epiphanny Prince) due to health and safety protocols. This is where we go back to the fact that there are only 36 games in the season, the schedule is compacted to finish ahead of the World Championships, and every game counts regardless of who is and is not available. At full strength, the Storm are not ranked ninth in the league; but a key to this ranking is looking at a team at the moment.
10. Indiana Fever (2-3)
- Previous Ranking: 12
- Last Week’s Results: (2-1) W vs. MIN 82-76; W at NYL 92-86; L vs. ATL 85-79
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. ATL; Friday at CON; Sunday vs. CON
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 93.7 (9); DefRtg: 97.4 (8); NetRtg: -3.8 (9); eFG%: 46.1 (8); Pace/40: 83.51 (2)
Last season, the Fever did not pick up their second win of the season until their 18th game. This season, they did it in just four games. After opening the season 0-2, the Fever defeated Minnesota at home, New York on the road, and saw their fourth-quarter rally against Atlanta come up just short on Sunday. The rookie frontline of NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo has been impressive through Indiana’s first five games. Smith leads all rookies in rebounding (Egbo and another Fever rookie Emily Engstler round out the top three) and ranks third overall at 10 boards per game. Egbo leads all rookies and ranks fourth overall in blocks at 1.4 per game.
11. New York Liberty (1-3)
- Previous Ranking: 6
- Last Week’s Results: (0-3) L at CHI 83-50; L vs. IND 92-86; L vs. DAL 81-71
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. CON
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 89.2 (12); DefRtg: 103.7 (11); NetRtg: -14.6 (12); eFG%: 46.5 (5); Pace/40: 78.30 (10)
The high of New York’s season-opening win over Connecticut came crashing down this week with a trio of losses – a 33-point blowout at the defending champion Sky, an overtime loss to the Fever at home, and a 10-point loss to the Wings at home in a game the Liberty never led after midway through the second quarter. The Liberty allow the second-highest points per game (83.8 ppg) and the most free throw attempts (22.8 per game) of any team through the first two weeks. The Liberty are still awaiting the return of DiDi Richards from injury but did get Betnijah Laney back this week after she missed the season opener.
12. Minnesota Lynx (0-4)
- Previous Ranking: 10
- Last Week’s Results: (0-2) L at IND 82-76; L vs. CHI 82-78
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at LAS; Thursday at LVA; Saturday at DAL
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 92.5 (10); DefRtg: 105.3 (12); NetRtg: -12.8 (11); eFG%: 44.3 (12); Pace/40: 80.00 (7)
When we talk about teams in flux, no team has seen more roster movement than the Minnesota Lynx as head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve has had to remake her roster on the fly while the season is underway. Veterans Angel McCoughtry and Odyssey Sims are out. New guards Moriah Jefferson and rookie Evina Westbrook are in. There have been hardship signings to cover for players out of the lineup – Napheesa Collier (pregnant), Damiras Dantas (foot), Natalie Achonwa (hamstring), and Kayla McBride (overseas). A few signs of hope for the Lynx are that McBride is set to return soon, which is not uncharted territory for Reeve and the Lynx. Minnesota also opened last season 0-4 before bouncing back to finish at 22-10. While there isn’t time to waste in a 36-game season, the Lynx proved last season that an 0-4 start does not equal doom for the rest of the year.
Longtime WNBA reporter Brian Martin writes articles on WNBA.com throughout the season. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.