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2022 WNBA Power Rankings: Week 3

With each team ranking below, we provide some key stats to show how the teams stack up against one another in terms of offensive and defensive efficiency, shooting accuracy, and pace of play. It was tough to glean much from those team stats in the first couple of weeks of the season since the sample size was so small, where one great or poor performance could skew them dramatically.

Now that we’ve played 37 of the 216 games (17.1%) on the regular-season schedule – and each team has played at least five games – we have a decent sample size. We can couple the numbers with the eye test when evaluating teams and putting together this week’s power rankings.

1. Las Vegas Aces (6-1)

  • Previous Ranking: 2
  • Last Week’s Results: (3-0) W vs. PHX 86-74, W vs. MIN 93-87, W vs. PHX 100-80
  • This Week’s Schedule: Monday vs. LAS, Saturday at CHI
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 110.3 (1); DefRtg: 97.6 (5); NetRtg: 12.7 (2); eFG%: 54.7 (1); Pace/40: 82.93 (1)

The Aces move up to the No. 1 spot after posting a perfect 3-0 week to improve to a league-best 6-1 on the season. Las Vegas owns the WNBA’s top offense (110.3 points per 100 possessions) and are the top shooting team in the league (54.7 effective field goal percentage), all while playing at the league’s fastest pace. (82.93 possessions per 40 minutes). The backcourt duo of Jackie Young (19.3 ppg) and Kelsey Plum (18.3 ppg) rank third and fifth in the league in scoring, respectively. At the same time, A’ja Wilson ties the league lead with four double-doubles.

2. Connecticut Sun (4-1)

  • Previous Ranking: 4
  • Last Week’s Results: (3-0) W at NYL 92-65, W vs. IND 94-85, W at IND 92-70
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. DAL, Thursday vs. DAL, Saturday vs. WAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 108.5 (2); DefRtg: 90.5 (1); NetRtg: 18.0 (1); eFG%: 50.0 (5); Pace/40: 79.90 (8)

After dropping their season opener to New York, the Sun have won four straight games and have been tremendous on both sides of the ball. They are ranked first in defensive efficiency (90.5 points allowed per 100 possessions) and second in offensive efficiency (108.5), resulting in the top net rating in the league (outscoring opponents by 18 points per 100 possessions). There is a caveat to their recent success; the win streak comes against four teams below .500 – Los Angeles (2-4), New York (1-4), and Indiana (2-6) twice – with a combined record of 5-14 on the season. This week, the Sun host the 4-2 Wings twice and the 5-2 Mystics on Saturday.

3. Chicago Sky (3-2)

  • Previous Ranking: 3
  • Last Week’s Results: (1-1) L at SEA 74-71, W at WAS 82-73
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. IND, Saturday vs. LVA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.3 (5); DefRtg: 94.0 (2); NetRtg: 8.3 (3); eFG%: 52.8 (2); Pace/40: 77.76 (12)

The defending champions earned a road win over the Mystics on Sunday behind 12 points from 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper in her season debut, 11 points from 2019 Finals MVP Emma Meesseman in her first game against her former team, and a triple-double from the 2016 Finals MVP Candace Parker. Parker not only became the oldest player in WNBA history to record a triple-double, but she is also the first two multiple regular-season triple-doubles and the only player to post one with two different teams. She did so while playing the fewest minutes of any triple-double in league history.

WNBA all-time triple-doubles

PLAYER DATE MATCHUP MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK
Candace Parker 5/22/22 CHI @ WAS 30 16 13 10 0 0
Courtney Vandersloot* 9/28/21 CHI @ CON 44 12 10 18 4 2
Sabrina Ionescu 5/18/21 NYL vs. MIN 37 26 10 12 0 1
Chelsea Gray 7/7/19 LAS vs. WAS 34 13 10 13 0 0
Courtney Vandersloot 7/20/18 CHI vs. DAL 37 13 10 15 1 1
Candace Parker 7/28/17 LAS @ SAN 34 11 17 11 0 4
Temeka Johnson 7/24/14 SEA vs. NYL 33 13 10 11 1 0
Sheryl Swoopes* 9/3/05 HOU @ SEA 36 14 10 10 2 0
Deanna Nolan 5/21/05 DET vs. CON 37 11 10 11 1 0
Lisa Leslie 9/9/04 LAS vs. DET 38 29 15 3 2 10
Margo Dydek 6/7/01 UTA vs. ORL 34 12 11 3 3 10
Sheryl Swoopes 7/27/99 HOU vs. DET 32 14 15 10 3 2
*Playoff game

 

4. Washington Mystics (5-2)

  • Previous Ranking: 1
  • Last Week’s Results: (2-1) W at DAL 85-68, W at ATL 78-73, L vs. CHI 82-73
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. ATL, Saturday at CON
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.6 (3); DefRtg: 95.8 (4); NetRtg: 7.8 (4); eFG%: 51.0 (3); Pace/40: 78.86 (11)

Despite the loss to the Sky on Sunday, the Mystics have gotten off to a great start this season; it is Washington’s best start through seven games since the 2018 season. The Mystics join the Sun as the only two teams ranked in the top third (top four) in offensive and defensive efficiency this season. Those two teams meet for the first time this season on Saturday in Connecticut. Still, the Mystics will have to contend with rookie sensation Rhyne Howard and the Dream first when they come to DC on Tuesday.

5. Atlanta Dream (4-2)

  • Previous Ranking: 6
  • Last Week’s Results: (1-1) W at IND 101-79, L vs. WAS 78-73
  • This Week’s Schedule: Sunday vs. PHX
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.3 (10); DefRtg: 94.9 (3); NetRtg: 1.4 (6); eFG%: 48.8 (6); Pace/40: 82.00 (3)

Trivia Question: Which player holds the WNBA record for the highest scoring average in her rookie season?

The answer is Seimone Augustus at 21.9 points per game back in 2006. In recent years, the record was challenged by A’ja Wilson, averaging 20.7 points in 2018, and Arike Ogunbowale averaging 19.1 in 2019. Now a new challenger has emerged in No. 1 overall pick Rhyne Howard, who leads all rookies and all players in scoring so far this season at 20.5 points per game. Howard has carried Atlanta’s 10th-ranked offense through the first few weeks; Cheyenne Parker is the Dream’s only other double-digit scorer at 11.5 ppg. The Dream have balanced their lack of scoring with a stout defense that has allowed the third-fewest points per 100 possessions.

6. Dallas Wings (4-2)

  • Previous Ranking: 7
  • Last Week’s Results: (2-1) L vs. WAS 84-68, W at PHX 94-84, W vs. MIN 94-78
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at CON, Thursday at CON
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.4 (4); DefRtg: 98.7 (6); NetRtg: 4.6 (5); eFG%: 48.4 (7); Pace/40: 79.08 (10)

After opening the week with a loss to the Mystics at home, the Wings hit the road. They picked up wins at Phoenix and Minnesota – scoring 94 points in both games – to remain unbeaten on the road this season. Can they keep that momentum up when they head to Connecticut to take on the Sun in a two-game set on Tuesday and Thursday? They will need a strong performance from Arike Ogunbowale against a stout Sun defense. Ogunbowale has been held to single-digit points in each of Dallas’ two losses this season (7 points vs. ATL, 6, points vs. WAS) but has averaged 26.3 points in Dallas’ four wins.

7. Seattle Storm (3-3)

  • Previous Ranking: 9
  • Last Week’s Results: (2-0) W vs. CHI 74-71, W vs. LAS 83-80
  • This Week’s Schedule: Friday vs. NYL, Sunday vs. NYL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.9 (9); DefRtg: 98.8 (7); NetRtg: -1.9 (7); eFG%: 46.6 (11); Pace/40: 80.50 (6)

After a rough Week 2 as Seattle battled opponents and health and safety protocols, the Storm bounced back with a pair of three-point wins over Chicago and Los Angeles. Both wins happened at home, as the Storm are three games into a season-low eight-game homestand at the newly opened Climate Pledge Arena. The Storm are 3-1 in their new building and have to take advantage of this three-and-a-half week stretch of home games (May 14 – June 7) as their schedule will eventually balance out. After nine of their first 11 games at home, the Storm will close the season with 16 of their final 25 games on the road.

8. Phoenix Mercury (2-4)

  • Previous Ranking: 5
  • Last Week’s Results: (0-3) L at LVA 86-74, L vs. DAL 94-84, L at LVA 100-80
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday at LAS, Sunday at ATL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 101.4 (6); DefRtg: 107.8 (11); NetRtg: -6.3 (9); eFG%: 50.2 (4); Pace/40: 81.17 (4)

Phoenix had a tough week with three straight losses – two at Las Vegas and one at home against Dallas – to fall to 2-4 to open the season. Phoenix’s only two wins came in Week 2 against a depleted Storm team. Two key shooting stats to watch for Phoenix: 1) in their two wins, the Mercury have shot 45.3% from 3-point range (2nd in the league); in their two losses, the Mercury have shot just 27.5% (11th in the league); 2) Phoenix has allowed the second-highest effective field goal percentage to its opponents (51.5%), which directly correlates to their 11th-ranked defensive efficiency rating. On a positive note, Phoenix has one of the most balanced offenses in the league. With four players averaging at least 14 points per game, Las Vegas is the only other team to match that balance.

9. Los Angeles Sparks (2-4)

  • Previous Ranking: 8
  • Last Week’s Results: (0-2) L vs. MIN 87-84, L at SEA 83-80
  • This Week’s Schedule: Monday at LVA, Wednesday vs. PHX, Friday at IND, Sunday at MIN
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.6 (8); DefRtg: 99.6 (8); NetRtg: -2.0 (8); eFG%: 48.2 (8); Pace/40: 80.82 (5)

This past week, the Sparks suffered a pair of three-point losses – to Minnesota at home and at Seattle – to extend their losing streak to four in a row. The Sparks are now 0-3 in games decided by three points or less. That is the most close-game losses of any team this season, and it also matches LA’s total from all of last season, as they finished 3-3 in games decided by three points or less. The Sparks have a busy week ahead with a league-high four games on the schedule, beginning Monday night in Las Vegas against the league-leading Aces.

10. Indiana Fever (2-6)

  • Previous Ranking: 10
  • Last Week’s Results: (0-3) L vs. ATL 101-79, L at CON 94-85, L vs. CON 92-70
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at CHI, Friday vs. LAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 94.8 (11); DefRtg: 104.9 (10); NetRtg: -10.1 (10); eFG%: 45.8 (12); Pace/40: 82.52 (2)

This past week, the Fever suffered one loss to Atlanta and two to Connecticut to extend their losing streak to four in a row. Indiana ranks in the bottom three in the league in each shooting category – 11th in field goal percentage (40.9%), 10th in 3-point percentage (32.6%), and 11th in free throw percentage (74.3%). True shooting percentage accounts for all three shot types, and the Fever are last in the league at 49.7% — the only team below 50% so far this season. Indiana plays at the second-fastest pace, so their 79.3 points per game rank eighth in the league, but they allow a league-high 88.1 at the same time.

11. Minnesota Lynx (1-6)

  • Previous Ranking: 12
  • Last Week’s Results: (1-2) W at LAS 87-84, L at LVA 93-87, L at DAL 94-78
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. NYL, Sunday vs. LAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.0 (7); DefRtg: 108.7 (12); NetRtg: -10.7 (11); eFG%: 47.2 (9); Pace/40: 79.86 (9)

Tuesday, the Lynx earned their first win of the 2022 season with a three-point victory over the Sparks on the road behind a 24-point night from Kayla McBride in her season debut. However, the Lynx could not build on that win as they fell to Las Vegas and Dallas on the road to close out the week. As discussed last week, the Lynx roster has been in a massive flux to open the season. Hopefully, they can find some continuity moving forward as they look to get their season back on track. This week, the Lynx host the Liberty – with both teams looking for their second win of the year – followed by a rematch with the Sparks.

12. New York Liberty (1-4)

  • Previous Ranking: 11
  • Last Week’s Results: (0-1) L vs. CON 92-65
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at MIN, Friday at SEA, Sunday at SEA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 86.1 (12); DefRtg: 103.9 (9); NetRtg: -17.8 (12); eFG%: 46.9 (10); Pace/40: 80.10 (7)

Over two weeks ago, the Liberty rallied past the Sun to earn an 81-79 win to open the 2022 season. That win feels like two months ago rather than two weeks ago, as the Liberty have struggled ever since. The team has dropped four straight games, including the two most lopsided defeats of the season thus far (-33 to Chicago on May 11 and -27 to Connecticut on May 17). Up next for New York is a matchup with Minnesota – the only other team in the league with just a single win this season – before a two-game series with the Storm in Seattle.

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.