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2022 WNBA Power Rankings: Week 7

I have to begin this week’s power rankings with a shout-out to Sue Bird, who announced on Thursday that 2022 will indeed be her final WNBA season, ahead of Seattle’s final regular-season game in her hometown of New York City on Sunday.

Any power rankings of all-time WNBA greats will have Bird near the top of the list. As the league’s all-time leader in assists and games played, Bird ranks in the top 10 in points (7th), steals (4th), field goals made (8th), 3-pointers made (2nd) and 3-point percentage (10th). But her impact on the game goes far beyond the incredible numbers that she’s amassed since entering the WNBA as the top pick in the 2002 draft.

In addition to winning four WNBA championships with the Storm, five Olympic gold medals with Team USA, and being named to every WNBA anniversary team (10 years, 15 years, 20 years and the W25 last season), Bird has set the standard for point guard play on the court and her leadership and impact off the court is immeasurable. Thank you Sue for everything you’ve given the game and the WNBA.

Oh, and that final trip to New York went pretty well too. Playing in front of her family and hometown friends, Bird knocked down the dagger 3-pointer in the final minute – a shot that danced on the rim, off the backboard and finally through the net, all while Bird held her up her follow-through of her final WNBA shot in New York City (unless these two teams meet in the playoffs).

 

After being showered by a standing ovation from the Barclay Center crowd, Bird joined Holly Rowe to share her thoughts on a special day in her final season. If you haven’t checked out yet, enjoy it.

 

  1. Las Vegas Aces (13-2)
  • Previous Ranking: 1
  • Last Week’s Results: W at DAL 92-84; W vs. MIN 96-95
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. CHI; Saturday vs. WAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 109.0 (1); DefRtg: 97.5 (5); NetRtg: 11.5 (1); eFG%: 52.8 (1); Pace/40: 83.70 (1)

The Aces remain at the top of the rankings as they finished a 2-0 week to extend their win streak to four straight games. Las Vegas also clinched its spot in the Commissioner’s Cup championship game as the Western Conference representative. Oh, and there may not be a player in the league as hot as A’ja Wilson over her past three games: 28.3 points, 61.1 FG% / 57.1 3P% / 100 FT% shooting splits, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game

 

  1. Connecticut Sun (12-5)
  • Previous Ranking: 3
  • Last Week’s Results: ATL 105-92; W vs. SEA 82-71; L at WAS 71-63
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday vs. NYL; Sunday at ATL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 107.1 (2); DefRtg: 96.6 (4); NetRtg: 10.5 (2); eFG%: 51.6 (2); Pace/40: 80.62 (6)

 

After opening the week with home wins over Atlanta and Seattle, the Sun were unable to close out the perfect week as they fell to the Mystics in Washington on Sunday. Connecticut scored a season-low 63 points and shot a season-low 36.7% from the field and finished with more turnovers than assists. So far this season, Connecticut is just 7-5 against teams that are .500 or better and 5-0 against teams under .500.

 

  1. Chicago Sky (10-5)
  • Previous Ranking: 2
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. ATL 106-100; L at IND 89-87
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at LVA; Thursday at LAS; Sunday vs. MIN
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.4 (4); DefRtg: 98.6 (6); NetRtg: 4.8 (4); eFG%: 51.4 (3); Pace/40: 80.00 (7)

 

The Sky saw their three-game win streak come to a close on Sunday as they fell to Indiana 89-87 despite getting a career-high 28 points from Kahleah Copper and leading by as many as 15 points in the second half. Chicago was without Candace Parker for the second straight game as she nurses a knee injury. Even with the loss, the Sky were able to clinch their spot in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship on Sunday thanks to Washington knocking off Connecticut and ensuring Chicago finished atop the East cup standings. While the Commissioner’s Cup Championship is still a month away, the Sky have a three-game week ahead of them, beginning with a road game against the top-ranked Aces on Tuesday.

 

 

  1. Washington Mystics (11-7)
  • Previous Ranking: 4
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. PHX 83-65; L at NYL 77-65; W vs. CON 71-63
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at LAS; Thursday at SEA; Saturday at LVA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.9 (7); DefRtg: 94.9 (1); NetRtg: 5.0 (3); eFG%: 49.0 (T-6); Pace/40: 78.26 (12)

 

The Mystics went 2-1 this week and the wins and losses tracked with Elena Delle Donne’s availability. Delle Donne played Wednesday against Phoenix in DC, the Mystics won by 18 points; Delle Donne did not play at New York two days later, the Mystics lost by 12 points; Delle Donne played on Sunday against Connecticut in DC, the Mystics won by eight points. Washington is 8-3 with Delle Donne in the lineup and 3-4 when she’s out. Of the 11 games that Delle Donne has played, only two have come on the road. This week, the Mystics are on the road for three straight games on a West Coast swing visiting Los Angeles, Seattle and Las Vegas.

 

  1. Seattle Storm (10-6)
  • Previous Ranking: 5
  • Last Week’s Results: W at MIN 81-79; L at CON 82-71; W at NYL 81-72
  • This Week’s Schedule: Thursday vs. WAS; Saturday vs. LAS
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.9 (9); DefRtg: 95.8 (3); NetRtg: 2.1 (5); eFG%: 48.6 (8); Pace/40: 79.53 (9)

 

The Storm went 2-1 this week as they closed out a five-game road trip with stops in Minnesota (win), Connecticut (loss) and New York (win). Up next is a four-game homestand beginning Thursday against Washington as the Climate Pledge Arena crowd gets to cheer for Sue Bird and the Storm for the first time since Bird announced her retirement last week.

 

  1. Dallas Wings (8-8)
  • Previous Ranking: 8
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. LVA 92-84; W vs. PHX 93-88; W vs. LAS 92-82
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at ATL; Thursday vs. IND; Saturday vs. PHX
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.5 (3); DefRtg: 102.8 (8); NetRtg: 0.6 (6); eFG%: 48.5 (9); Pace/40: 79.50 (10)

 

After a promising 5-2 start to the season, the Dallas Wings had lost six of their next seven games as they entered Friday’s game against Phoenix at 6-8 and in desperate need of a win to get their season back on track. Behind Arike Ogunbowale’s 24 points and six 3-pointers and Teaira McCowan’s double-double off the bench, the Wings ended their skid with a 93-88 win. They followed it up two days later with a 10-point win over Los Angeles to get back to .500 on the season.

 

  1. Atlanta Dream (7-8)
  • Previous Ranking: 6
  • Last Week’s Results: L at CON 105-92; L at CHI 106-100
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. DAL; Friday vs. NYL; Sunday vs. CON
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 94.1 (12); DefRtg: 95.0 (2); NetRtg: -0.9 (7); eFG%: 47.8 (10); Pace/40: 82.08 (3)

 

The Dream posted an 0-2 week, suffering road losses to the top two teams in the Eastern Conference — Connecticut (12-5) and Chicago (10-5) – to extend their losing streak to four in a row. What made the losses to the Sun and Sky uncharacteristic for the Dream is that they allowed over 100 points in both games – after holding opponents to a league-low average of 74.4 points per game entering last week. After a promising 4-1 start, the Dream have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. They will look to get back on track this week with a three-game homestand against Dallas, New York and Connecticut.

 

  1. Phoenix Mercury (6-10)
  • Previous Ranking: 7
  • Last Week’s Results: L at WAS 83-65; W at IND 93-80; L at DAL 93-88
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. MIN; Thursday at MIN; Saturday at DAL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.6 (T-5); DefRtg: 105.2 (9); NetRtg: -4.6 (8); eFG%: 50.5 (5); Pace/40: 81.18 (5)

 

Phoenix’s three-game win streak was snapped on Tuesday in the second of a two-game set against the Washington Mystics. The Mercury bounced back with a 93-80 win over the Fever in Indiana on the second night of a back-to-back, but couldn’t keep the momentum going in Dallas they fell to the Wings 93-88. Phoenix opens the week with a home-and-home set with Minnesota beginning Tuesday in Phoenix. Can the Mercury get back on track against the 3-13 Lynx?

 

  1. New York Liberty (6-10)
  • Previous Ranking: 9
  • Last Week’s Results: W vs. WAS 77-65; L vs. SEA 81-72
  • This Week’s Schedule: Wednesday at CON; Friday at ATL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 94.9 (11); DefRtg: 100.6 (7); NetRtg: -5.7 (9); eFG%: 49.0 (T-6); Pace/40: 79.23 (11)

 

After enduring a seven-game losing streak, the Liberty have won five of their last eight games, including a win over Washington on Thursday behind a season-high 27 points from Natasha Howard. However, two days later, the Liberty fell to Seattle on what turned into Sue Bird day in Brooklyn. The Liberty got a career-best 23 points from Marine Johannes, while Sabrina Ionescu finished just two rebounds shy of her third career triple-double and second in a three-game span. The Liberty will play five of their next six games on the road, beginning Wednesday in Connecticut, where they look to knock off the Sun for the second time this season.

 

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (5-9)
  • Previous Ranking: 10
  • Last Week’s Results: L at DAL 92-82
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. WAS; Thursday vs. CHI; Saturday vs. SEA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.6 (T-5); DefRtg: 106.9 (12); NetRtg: -6.3 (10); eFG%: 50.7 (4); Pace/40: 81.49 (4)

 

The Sparks had just one game in each of the past two weeks and lost both – falling to Las Vegas 89-72 in their first game under interim head coach Fred Williams on June 11, and falling to Dallas 92-82 on Sunday – to fall to 5-9 on the season. After having just two games in a 14-day span, the Sparks schedule is about to pick up as they will play eight games over the next 17 days, beginning Tuesday when the Sparks host the Mystics.

 

  1. Indiana Fever (5-13)
  • Previous Ranking: 11
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. PHX 93-80; W vs. CHI 89-87
  • This Week’s Schedule: Thursday at DAL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.2 (10); DefRtg: 106.3 (10); NetRtg: -9.0 (12); eFG%: 45.7 (12); Pace/40: 82.26 (2)

 

For a young team looking to build a foundation and a culture, Sunday’s win over the defending champion Sky will be one to build upon. Trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, the Fever could have packed it in, but they kept fighting. Led by rookie NaLyssa Smith, who finished with a career-high 26 points, inducing the go-ahead three-point play to put Indiana up for good with 39 seconds to play, the Fever beat the Sky 89-87 to earn their fifth win of the season.

 

  1. Minnesota Lynx (3-13)
  • Previous Ranking: 12
  • Last Week’s Results: L vs. SEA 81-79; L at LVA 96-95
  • This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at PHX: Thursday vs. PHX; Sunday at CHI
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.6 (8); DefRtg: 106.4 (11); NetRtg: -7.8 (11); eFG%: 47.3 (11); Pace/40: 79.69 (8)

 

The Lynx saw their losing streak extend to five games after finishing 0-2 over the past week. Minnesota’s last three games have been decided by a total of seven points – a four-point loss to Indiana on June 12, a two-point loss to Seattle last Tuesday and a one-point road loss to Las Vegas on Sunday after leading by as many as 14 points in the second half. The Lynx appear on the verge of finally breaking through and adding some wins. Their first shot comes Tuesday in Phoenix in a opening game of a home-and-home set with the Mercury before the Lynx head to Chicago on Sunday.