Lynx Check in at No. 1
Posted July 29, 2011 4:45 PM
The Power Rankings return from a one-week hiatus due to the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game. And there are some changes to report, most notably the Minnesota Lynx and the Atlanta Dream, teams currently riding the league's longest winning streaks of four and five games, respectively. Let's see how it all shakes out this week.
|2011 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 7/29|
|TEAM (last week)||W / L||NOTES|
Best record in the league? Check. The most well represented team at the All-Star Game? Check. A healthy Seimone Augustus? Check. Biggest point differential of any team in league? Check (+8.06, the next closest team is +4.81). Between that checklist and the current four-game win streak that they are riding, the Minnesota Lynx take over the top spot in the Power Rankings.
Upcoming Games:7/29 vs Seattle, 7/31 @ San Antonio, 8/2 vs Phoenix
Things looked a little shaky for the Fever as they lost three straight games prior to the All-Star break. They have responded with a pair of wins over Connecticut and Chicago and sit atop the Eastern Conference standings once again. With games against Washington, Los Angeles and Tulsa on the horizon - and their combined 10-39 record - the Fever can build a cushion on their one-game lead over the Sun.
Upcoming Games: 7/29 @ Washington, 7/31vs Los Angeles, 8/5 @ Tulsa
San Antonio (5)
The All-Star hosts opened the second half with a pair of wins, including a shootout against the Mercury that saw them score a season-high 102 points. The Silver Stars have won four of their last five games but face a tough week with Minnesota (twice) and Seattle on the calendar.
Upcoming Games: 7/31 vs Minnesota, 8/2 @ Seattle, 8/4 @ Minnesota
Prior to Thursday's loss to the East-leading Fever, the Sun had won four straight games against conference foes New York (twice), Indiana and Chicago. Tina Charles continues to be the most dominant big in the league - averaging 18.1 points (fifth in the league) and 10.4 rebounds (second in the league).
Upcoming Games: 7/31 vs Atlanta, 8/3 @ Los Angeles, 8/5 @ Seattle
Went back and forth between the Storm and Mercury here until I remembered that the Storm have beat the Mercury nine straight times, including twice this season, and once without Lauren Jackson. The defending champs continue to boast the league's best defense - giving up just 70.43 points per game to their opponents.
Upcoming Games: 7/29 @ Minnesota, 7/30 @ Tulsa, 8/2 vs San Antonio
The Mercury take a tumble in this week's rankings due to their current three-game losing streak to the top teams in the West - Minnesota, San Antonio and Seattle. The Mercury are never going to be known for their defense, but they can't continue to give up over 100 points - which they did twice in the past three games.
Upcoming Games: 7/30 @ New York, 8/2 @ Minnesota, 8/7 vs Connecticut
New York (3)
If the Liberty had an answer for Connecticut, they would be undefeated in July as their only two losses in eight games have come at the hand of the Sun. After going through some growing pains earlier in the season, including a four-game losing streak, the Liberty are becoming more and more comfortable with the defensive philosophy of head coach John Whisenant.
Upcoming Games: 7/30 vs Phoenix, 8/2 @ Atlanta, 8/4 vs Chicago
The Dream are the hottest team in the league at the moment - riding a five-game win streak - but still remain outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture. That's how big of a hole they dug for themselves early in the season. However, the play of Angel McCoughtry over the past two weeks has been outstanding, she is averaging 26.2 points per game during the win streak and resurrecting thoughts of defending the Eastern Conference crown in Atlanta.
Upcoming Games: 7/31 @ Connecticut, 8/2 vs New York, 8/7 vs Seattle
The Sky have been a picture of inconsistency, wavering between brilliant and head-scratching play from game to game, which is strange for a team that produced three All-Stars. Sylvia Fowles continues to be the driving force, scoring 19.9 points a game to go with 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, but has not found enough consistent help to help the Sky rise.
Upcoming Games: 7/30 vs Los Angeles, 8/4 @ New York, 8/7 vs Indiana
Los Angeles (9)
Since opening the Joe Bryant era with a pair of wins on the road, the Sparks have lost four straight as they fall further and further out of contention in the West. They are currently three games back of Seattle, but can they stay within striking distance until they get Candace Parker back on the floor in August?
Upcoming Games: 7/30 @ Chicago, 7/31 @ Indiana, 8/3 vs Connecticut
After spending much of July on the road (six of their nine games were away from home), the Mystics open a four-game homestand on Friday night against Indiana. Alana Beard continues to be listed as day-to-day but has yet to see any game action this season. Can she make it back during the homestand?
Upcoming Games: 7/29 vs Indiana, 8/06 vs New York, 8/09 vs Atlanta
The losses continue to mount for the Shock, but their level of competitiveness is rising as well with three of their past four games decided by single digits. While victories may be few and far between for the Shock this season, they will gain valuable experience for rookie Liz Cambage (who had a nice showing at All-Star) and rookie coach Teresa Edwards.
Upcoming Games: 7/30 vs Seattle, 8/5 vs Indiana, 8/6 @ San Antonio