2022 WNBA Power Rankings: Week 8

What a week for the defending champs!

Tuesday: Pull off the largest comeback win in WNBA history as the Sky rallied from 28 points down to defeat the Las Vegas – the team with the best record in the league.

Thursday: Candace Parker sets the WNBA record for career triple-doubles as she racks up 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in three quarters against her former team in Los Angeles.

Sunday: Courtney Vandersloot hits her second buzzer-beating game-winner of the season as the Sky knock off the Lynx 88-85.

Monday: Ascend to the top of the power rankings, leapfrogging the aforementioned Aces as well as the Connecticut Sun, whom they will face at home on Wednesday. The Sky won the first meeting with the Sun back on June 10 in Connecticut

1. Chicago Sky (13-5)

  • Previous Rank: 3
  • Last Week’s Results: W at LVA 104-95; W at LAS 82-59; W vs. MIN 88-85
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday vs. CON; Saturday vs. PHX
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 104.5 (3); DefRtg: 98.4 (5); NetRtg: 6.1 (3); eFG%: 52.5 (1); Pace/40: 80.41 (7)

In addition to their marquee matchup with the Sun on Wednesday, the Sky will also host the Mercury on Saturday. Candace Parker has already earned her seventh All-Star appearance as she was voted in as an All-Star starter; we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see which other Sky players will get the nod for the host city.

2. Las Vegas Aces (13-4)

  • Previous Rank: 1
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. CHI 105-95; L vs. WAS 87-86
  • This Week’s Schedule: Monday vs. LAS; Wednesday at SEA; Friday at MIN; Sunday at MIN
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 108.1 (1); DefRtg: 98.5 (6); NetRtg: 9.6 (2); eFG%: 52.2 (2); Pace/40: 83.80 (1)

The Aces did something this week that they had yet to do so far this season: lose consecutive games. After falling to Chicago in historic fashion on Tuesday, the Aces were knocked off by a single point against Washington on Saturday. The Aces four losses on the season have come to Washington (twice), Chicago and Connecticut — three teams with a combined 38-20 (.655) record. Las Vegas will look to get back on track on Monday as they host the Sparks to tip off a four-game week. Meanwhile, the Aces led all teams in All-Star starter selections with A’ja Wilson, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum all headed to Chicago in less than two weeks.

3. Connecticut Sun (13-6)

  • Previous Rank: 2
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. NYL 81-77; W at ATL 72-61
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday at CHI; Sunday vs. WAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.9 (2); DefRtg: 95.9 (2); NetRtg: 9.9 (1); eFG%: 50.8 (3); Pace/40: 80.42 (6)

The Sun opened the week with their second loss of the season to the New York Liberty, but bounced back against Atlanta on Sunday to avoid a three-game losing streak. Courtney Williams, who played the past two seasons with the Dream, shined against her former team with her first double-double of the season (17 points and 10 rebounds). Connecticut got the win despite a rare off night from reigning MVP and All-Star starter Jonquel Jones, who finished with eight points and a season-low two rebounds in 26 minutes. The Sun have a pair of tough opponents ahead of them this week as they visit Chicago on Wednesday before hosting Washington on Sunday. 

4. Seattle Storm (11-7)

  • Previous Rank: 5
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. WAS 85-71; L vs. LAS 85-77
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday vs. LVA; Friday vs. IND; Sunday at ATL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.3 (9); DefRtg: 96.0 (3); NetRtg: 2.2 (5); eFG%: 48.9 (8); Pace/40: 79.56 (10)

While the Aces led all teams with three All-Star starters, the Storm were the only other team with multiple selections as Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird will both be in the starters pool. However, they will face one another in Chicago while serving as co-captains of the respective teams. Stewart will join Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles to captain one team, while Bird will join Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson to captain the other. Outside of All-Star news, the Storm split their two games this past week, with a win over Washington followed by a loss to Los Angeles. Seattle opens this week’s play on Wednesday as they host the Aces. 

5. Washington Mystics (12-9)

  • Previous Rank: 4
  • Last Week’s Results: L at LAS 84-82; L at SEA 85-71; W vs. LVA 87-86
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. ATL; Sunday at CON
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.5 (8); DefRtg: 96.1 (4); NetRtg: 3.4 (4); eFG%: 49.0 (7); Pace/40: 78.42 (12)

After opening the week with consecutive losses to the Sparks and Storm to give them three losses in four games, the Mystics bounced back with an overtime win over Las Vegas on Saturday as Alysha Clark led four Mystics with 15 points or more with a season-best 20 points. Washington is the only team to beat Las Vegas multiple times this season as they improved to 9-4 with Elena Delle Donne in the lineup compared to 3-5 when she’s out.

6. New York Liberty (8-10)

  • Previous Rank: 9
  • Last Week’s Results: W at CON 81-77; W at ATL 89-77
  • This Week’s Schedule: Thursday vs. ATL; Sunday at LAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.3 (11); DefRtg: 100.5 (7); NetRtg: -4.2 (8); eFG%: 49.8 (6); Pace/40: 79.10 (11)

The Liberty picked up a pair of road wins this week in Connecticut and Atlanta to keep their momentum rolling in the right direction. After enduring a seven-game losing streak following the season-opening win, the Liberty have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games and already have two wins against both the Sun and Mystics. During this 10-game run, Sabrina Ionescu has averaged 19.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists to help the Liberty get their season back on track and earn her first WNBA All-Star nod.

7. Los Angeles Sparks (7-10)

  • Previous Rank: 10
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. WAS 84-82; L vs CHI 82-59; W at SEA 85-77
  • This Week’s Schedule: Monday vs. LVA; Friday at DAL; Sunday vs. NYL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.6 (7); DefRtg: 105.7 (10); NetRtg: -6.1 (11); eFG%: 49.9 (5); Pace/40: 81.28 (4)

There are five WNBA teams currently over .500 and Los Angeles played three of them this week, earning wins over Washington and Seattle, but taking a loss to Chicago. No team has played fewer home games so far this season than the Sparks, who have hosted just six games (3-3) while being on the road for 11 (4-7). That’s about to change as Los Angeles will play eight of its next nine games at Crypto.com Arena – four of their final five games before the All-Star break and the first four games coming out of the break. The Sparks find themselves in a crowded field in the standings as the Nos. 5-10 teams are currently separated by only two games. Can this extended homestand help them emerge from the pack?

8. Dallas Wings (9-10)

  • Previous Rank: 6
  • Last Week’s Results: L at ATL 80-75; W vs. IND 94-68; L vs. PHX 83-72
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at MIN: Friday vs. LAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.7 (4); DefRtg: 101.7 (8); NetRtg: 1.0 (6); eFG%: 48.6 (10); Pace/40: 79.71 (9)

After wins over Phoenix and Los Angeles to bounce back from a skid of four straight losses and six losses in seven games, the Wings went just 1-2 this week with losses to Atlanta and Phoenix and a win over Indiana, a team currently tied for the worst record in the league. The Wings have two games on the schedule this week, beginning with a visit to Minnesota (the other team tied for the worst record in the league, although they did just get Sylvia Fowles back) on Tuesday, followed by a home game against the Sparks on Friday.

9. Atlanta Dream (8-10)

  • Previous Rank: 7
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs DAL 80-75; L vs. NYL 89-77; L vs. CON 72-61
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at WAS; Thursday at NYL; Sunday vs. SEA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 93.5 (12); DefRtg: 95.3 (1); NetRtg: -1.8 (7); eFG%: 47.2 (11); Pace/40: 81.88 (3)

Atlanta’s 85-80 win over Dallas last Tuesday snapped a four-game losing streak, but was followed by losses to New York and Connecticut to bring the Dream’s slide to six losses in their past seven games. Atlanta still holds the league’s top-ranked defense, but so far, the Dream’s offense has not been able to climb out of the cellar as they rank 12th in points per 100 possessions. Things don’t get easier this week as the Dream face Washington, New York and Seattle.

10. Phoenix Mercury (7-12)

  • Previous Rank: 8
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. MIN 84-71; L at MIN 100-88; W at DAL 83-72
  • This Week’s Schedule: Monday vs. IND; Wednesday vs. IND; Saturday at CHI
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.5 (6); DefRtg: 105.3 (9); NetRtg: -4.8 (9); eFG%: 50.4 (4); Pace/40: 81.10 (5)

The Mercury began the week by dropping both games in a home-and-home set with the Minnesota Lynx (a team that entered the series at just 3-13 on the season). Then, came news on Saturday morning that the Mercury and Tina Charles had mutually agreed to a contract divorce. Charles, the former MVP and last season’s scoring champion, played just 16 games with the Mercury, and left the team with only eight players available for a road games against Dallas just hours after the announcement. The shorthanded — and just short as Phoenix currently has only two players over 6-foot-1 on its roster – Mercury showed their resilience as they earned an 83-72 win to snap a three-game skid. Skylar Diggins-Smith scored a game-high 26 points and hit the Wings with the Night Night late in the fourth quarter.

11. Minnesota Lynx (5-14)

  • Previous Rank: 12
  • Last Week’s Results: W at PHX 84-71; W vs. PHX 100-88; L at CHI 88-85
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. DAL; Friday vs. LVA; Sunday vs. LVA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.7 (5); DefRtg: 105.8 (11); NetRtg: -5.1 (10); eFG%: 48.8 (9); Pace/40: 79.76 (8)

The Lynx – and the WNBA in general – got some good news with the return of All-Star starter and co-captain Sylvia Fowles following a two-week absence due to a knee injury. The Lynx went just 1-4 in the five games that Fowles missed. Minnesota beat Phoenix in Fowles’ first game back as she posted a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) in just 22 minutes. The Lynx weren’t able to complete a 3-0 week as Courtney Vandersloot’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer was the difference against the defending champs on Sunday. This week, the Lynx begin a six-game home stand that spans the All-Star break when they host the Wings on Tuesday before a two-game set with the Aces.

12. Indiana Fever (5-14)

  • Previous Rank: 11
  • Last Week’s Results: L at DAL 94-68
  • This Week’s Schedule: Monday at PHX; Wednesday at PHX, Friday at SEA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 96.7 (10); DefRtg: 106.9 (12); NetRtg: -10.2 (12); eFG%: 45.6 (12); Pace/40: 82.12 (2)

The Fever had just one game this week and they suffered their biggest loss of the season with a  26-poin loss at Dallas on Thursday in the first of a four-game road trip that includes a stop in Phoenix for a two-game set on Monday and Wednesday, followed by a visit to Seattle on Friday. Indiana is the owner of the league’s lowest effective field goal percentage (45.6%) and the highest effective field goal percentage allowed (52.4%). That disparity of 6.8 percentage points is four points higher than any other team in the league (Minnesota is next at 2.8).