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2022 WNBA Power Rankings: Week 6

The Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun met on Friday night in Uncasville in a rematch of last year’s WNBA semifinals, when the sixth-seeded upset the top-ranked Sun in four games to advance to the WNBA Finals and eventually capture their first championship.

Eight months later, the result was the same: Candace Parker knocked down four clutch free throws in the final 30 seconds to give Chicago the 83-79 win. All three of Chicago’s games came down to clutch time this week. After being on the short end of an 84-82 loss at Washington, the defending champs picked up a four-point win in Connecticut and a two-point win in Brooklyn thanks to a Courtney Vandersloot three with 1.6 seconds to play.

The Sky have now won five of their last six games, and that head-to-head win over the Sun pushes Chicago to the No. 2 spot in this week’s power rankings.

1. Las Vegas Aces (11-2)

  • Previous Ranking: 1
  • Last Week’s Results: W at LAS 89-72
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday at DAL, Sunday vs. MIN
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 108.5 (1); DefRtg: 96.0 (3); NetRtg: 12.5 (1); eFG%: 52.9 (1); Pace/40: 83.69 (1)

The Aces had a light week of work with only one game on the schedule, but they took care of business with an 89-72 win over the Sparks in Los Angeles behind a monster game from A’ja Wilson: 35 points, 11 boards, four blocks, and two steals in 33 minutes. Las Vegas remains at the top of the standings with 11 wins and will face Dallas and Minnesota this week.

2. Chicago Sky (9-4)

  • Previous Ranking: 3
  • Last Week’s Results: L at WAS 84-82; W at CON 83-79; W at NYL 88-86
  • This Week’s Schedule: Friday vs. ATL; Sunday at IND
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.4 (T-3); DefRtg: 97.2 (6); NetRtg: 5.2 (3); eFG%: 50.8 (4); Pace/40: 79.47 (T-8)

As mentioned above, the Sky won two of three close games this week. Chicago is 6-4 in games that feature clutch time – scoring within five points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime. In 42 clutch minutes, the Sky have outscored their opponents by 27 points as Courtney Vandersloot leads all players in clutch scoring with 35 points on 52% shooting. This week, the Sky host the Dream before heading to Indiana to face the Fever – looking for their second win against each team.

3. Connecticut Sun (10-4)

  • Previous Ranking: 2
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. IND 88-69; L vs. CHI 83-79
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday vs. ATL; Friday vs. SEA; Sunday at WAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 108.3 (2); DefRtg: 96.7 (5); NetRtg: 11.5 (2); eFG%: 51.1 (3); Pace/40: 80.46 (6)

The Sun drop slightly to No. 3 after the head-to-head loss against the Sky on Friday night. This week showed the two ends of the Sun spectrum – a blowout win and a close loss. So far this season, five of the Sun’s 10 wins have come by 16 points or more – a mark matched only by Las Vegas. On the other hand, all four of Connecticut’s losses have come by eight points or fewer. The Sun have a three-game week ahead of them as they host the Dream and Storm before heading to DC for a matchup with the Mystics.

4. Washington Mystics (9-6)

  • Previous Ranking: 5
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. CHI 84-82; W at MIN 76-59; L vs. PHX 99-90
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. PHX; Thursday at NYL; Sunday vs. CON
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 101.5 (5); DefRtg: 96.5 (4); NetRtg: 5.0 (4); eFG%: 49.5 (6); Pace/40: 78.12 (12)

Washington had a 2-1 week, with their only loss coming in overtime to Phoenix in a game the Mystics played without Elena Delle Donne. Through 15 games this season, the Mystics are 7-2 (.778) when Delle Donne plays and 2-4 (.333) when she does not play. With her availability directly tied to the team’s success, it can be tough to judge them weekly. The Mystics have a three-game week with one day off between each game. It begins Tuesday with a rematch with Phoenix, followed by a road trip to New York and then back home to face the Sun. Delle Donne did not play in the first Mystics-Sun matchup on May 28; will we get her on Sunday?

5. Seattle Storm (8-5)

  • Previous Ranking: 7
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. ATL 72-60; W at DAL 89-88; W at DAL 84-79
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at MIN; Friday at CON; Sunday at NYL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.0 (8); DefRtg: 95.5 (2); NetRtg: 2.5 (5); eFG%: 48.6 (8); Pace/40: 79.47 (T-8)

After dropping consecutive games to Dallas and Connecticut to open the month of June, the Storm bounced back with a 3-0 week as they took out the Dream at home by a dozen and swept a two-game set with the Wings in Dallas by six points combined. In three games against the Wings this season, Breanna Stewart has averaged 28 points on 51/33/90 shooting splits to go with 9.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks. The Wings have to be thankful not to face Stewart for another month.

6. Atlanta Dream (7-6)

  • Previous Ranking: 4
  • Last Week’s Results: L at SEA 72-60; L at PHX 90-88
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday at CON; Friday at CHI
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 91.9 (12); DefRtg: 91.1 (1); NetRtg: 0.8 (6); eFG%: 47.1 (10); Pace/40: 81.73 (3)

The Dream opened a four-game road trip last week with consecutive losses to Seattle and Phoenix. Things don’t get any easier this week as the road trip continues with stops in Connecticut and Chicago. The Dream bring the league’s top-ranked defense to the table, allowing only 91.1 points per 100 possessions, which is on pace to be the lowest mark of any team in the WNBA since the 2007 Fever (89.6). However, Atlanta also brings the league’s worst-ranked offense, scoring just 91.9 points per 100 possessions. For the Dream to ascend toward the league’s top tier, their offense must climb at least toward league average.

7. Phoenix Mercury (5-8)

  • Previous Ranking: 10
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. ATL 90-88; W at WAS 99-90
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at WAS; Wednesday at IND; Friday at DAL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.4 (7); DefRtg: 105.2 (9); NetRtg: -4.9 (8); eFG%: 50.1 (5); Pace/40: 81.22 (4)

After enduring a seven-game losing streak – their longest string of losses in a decade – the Mercury have bounced back with three straight wins. A few trends stand out when comparing the seven-game slide with the three-game rebound. First, Skylar Diggins-Smith went from averaging 15.8 points on 42% shooting and 5.4 assists during the losing streak to a team-best 24.7 points on 51% shooting and 3.3 assists during the win streak. The drop-off in Diggins-Smith’s assists has been picked up by Diana Taurasi, who has seen a similar turnaround. After averaging 14.7 points on 36% shooting on 3.6 assists during the losing streak, Diana is up to 20.7 points on 41% shooting and a team-best 6.7 assists.

8. Dallas Wings (6-7)

  • Previous Ranking: 6
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. SEA 89-88; L vs. SEA 84-79
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday vs. LVA; Friday vs. PHX; Sunday vs. LAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.4 (T-3); DefRtg: 102.3 (8); NetRtg: 0.1 (7); eFG%: 47.5 (9); Pace/40: 78.62 (11)

The Wings lost five of their previous six games after dropping a two-game set at home with the Storm last week. And things don’t get any easier as Dallas hosts the league-leading Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday and a streaking Mercury team on Friday before the Sparks come to Dallas on Sunday. The Wings play all three games at home this week; however, Dallas is just 1-4 at home this season compared to 5-3 on the road.

9. New York Liberty (5-9)

  • Previous Ranking: 11
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. MIN 88-69; W at IND 97-83; L vs. CHI 88-86
  • This Week’s Schedule: Thursday vs. WAS; Sunday vs. SEA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.1 (11); DefRtg: 102.0 (7); NetRtg: -6.9 (10); eFG%: 49.1 (7); Pace/40: 79.09 (10)

The Liberty had a near-perfect week, spoiled by Courtney Vandersloot’s game-winning 3-pointer on Sunday in a game that saw Sabrina Ionescu make a bit of history. Not only did she become the youngest player in WNBA history with multiple triple-doubles, but she also became the first player ever to record a triple-double in just three quarters. She finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists in 38 minutes. The Liberty face a pair of tough tests at home this week as they welcome Washington on Thursday and Seattle on Sunday.

10. Los Angeles Sparks (5-8)

  • Previous Ranking: 8
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. LVA 89-72
  • This Week’s Schedule: Sunday at DAL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 101.1 (6); DefRtg: 107.0 (12); NetRtg: M-5.8 (9); eFG%: 51.2 (2); Pace/40: 81.07 (5)

The Sparks had a light week on the game schedule – with only one game over the past seven days – but things were busy behind the scenes as Los Angeles made the second coaching change of the 2022 WNBA season, letting go of head coach and general manager Derek Fisher after three-plus seasons at the helm. Longtime WNBA coach Fred Williams is serving as interim coach, and his first outing was a loss to the league-leading Aces. The Sparks have the benefit of another light week on the game schedule as they do not play until Sunday in Dallas, which will give Williams and the players time to come together as the Sparks look to revive their season.

11. Indiana Fever (4-12)

  • Previous Ranking: 12
  • Last Week’s Results: L at CON 88-69; L vs. NYL 97-83; W at MIN 84-80
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday vs. PHX; Sunday vs. CHI
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.0 (10); DefRtg: 106.3 (11); NetRtg: -10.3 (12); eFG%: 45.0 (12); Pace/40: 82.41 (2)

Victoria Vivians knocked down her third 3-pointer of the game with 1:29 to play to put the Fever ahead of the Lynx for good on Sunday night. Indiana earned an 84-80 win to snap a five-game losing streak and pick up their fourth win of the season. The young Fever can’t celebrate the victory as they face the two teams that met in last year’s WNBA Finals this week – Phoenix on Wednesday and Chicago on Sunday.

12. Minnesota Lynx (3-11)

  • Previous Ranking: 9
  • Last Week’s Results: L at NYL 88-69; L vs. WAS 76-59; L vs. IND 84-80
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. SEA; Sunday at LVA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.8 (9); DefRtg: 105.8 (10); NetRtg: -9.0 (11); eFG%: 45.8 (11); Pace/40: 79.69 (7)

In addition to enduring an 0-3 week, the Lynx were also dealt a crushing blow with the announcement that Sylvia Fowles is out indefinitely with a cartilage injury in her right knee. In a Minnesota season that has already seen a flurry of roster moves, Fowles was the constant for the Lynx, the anchor in the middle that delivered on both ends every night. Her loss goes beyond her 16 points, 10 rebounds and 64% shooting and at 3-11, the Lynx don’t have time on their side to try to fill that void.

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.