The Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream made huge leaps in this week’s WNBA Power Rankings. But while Chicago gained six places after five straight wins, Atlanta fell five places after losing five of their last six games.
The Sky moved up to 4th, Atlanta dropped to 10th, and Phoenix – which had lost four in a row before breaking out on Friday – dropped three places to 9th.
The teams in the middle and at the bottom of the table all have similar profiles, hovering around .500 each. It’s hard to decipher which teams are ahead in the playoff chase and can change things in time for the postseason.
But one thing is certain: the top of the league is really the big league. The Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces – which will play on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2 / ESPN app) – look unstoppable. And the only thing holding the Connecticut Sun back is the absence of MVP candidate Jonquel Jones.
While we’re looking down with the Olympic break in about three weeks at the end of June, here’s how things develop in the week 6 power rankings.
1. Seattle storm
Previous ranking: 1st
The Storm have won five games in a row, 1½ games ahead of runner-up Las Vegas and 3½ games ahead of Connecticut. During that final winning streak, they looked synchronized and rounded.
Seattle ranks second in the WNBA with 88.2 PPG and first with 23.1 APG. Since their last defeat (June 6), the Storms have kept every opponent at 75 points or less.
The statistics paint a perfect picture of how well the Storm are playing. Breanna Stewart (21.1 PPG, 10.1 APG) averages a double-double as she continues to solidify her MVP résumé. Sue Bird averages 11.4 PPG and 6.0 APG, and Jewell Loyd averages a career high of 18.9 points at the top 46.5% of career.
Her schedule was grueling with the last five games on the road. Seattle gets a game at home before a tough Saturday game against Las Vegas on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2 / ESPN app). The Storm is 7-0 away this season.
In this week: WHAT, @LV
2. Las Vegas aces
Previous ranking: 2nd
Like the storm, the Aces cement themselves as one of the best teams in the WNBA. Even with a winning streak of five games, they have only lost two of their last 10 games. The aces offensive is massive: they lead the league in terms of goalscorers (91.2 PPG) and shooting (48.1%). They rank second in rebounds (37.5), assists (21.0) and blocks per game (5.6).
Liz Cambage (15.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG) leads the way and shoots an incredible 60.5% off the ground. A’ja Wilson averages a team high of 18.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 3.2 APG.
After pointing out last week that the Aces’ previous two wins were in single digits, they responded with two blowout wins against New York, hitting the mark of the century in both competitions. Their schedule for the coming week isn’t the easiest – the Minnesota Lynx played well and the Storm are the best team in the WNBA. To get two wins would be huge.
In this week: @MIN, SEA
3. Connecticut sun
Previous ranking: 3rd
Well, these is different: The Sun, who lost just two games in their first 10 competitions of the season, are on a three-game skid that includes one loss to Storm and one consecutive loss to Chicago. Connecticut is missing its # 1 player and host as Jonquel Jones continues to play for Bosnia-Herzegovina in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket Tournament. Jones was the only player with an average double-double (21.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG) when she left (she has since been endorsed by Phoenix’s Brittney Griner and Seattle’s Stewart).
Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner have stepped up in Jones’ absence, but without their star, the Sun commit turnovers and fight with assists.
Connecticut continues to shoot well – their field goal percentage of 43.7 is the third best in the WNBA. But overall, the Sun Offensive is struggling to score big and it was tough playing the strong storm and billowing sky.
The Sun’s next two games are at home, and they have a chance to win Chicago back to at least one of their losses.
In this week: DAL, CHI
4th Chicago Sky
Previous ranking: 10
Don’t look now, but the Sky are in a five-game winning streak after playing seven games that ruined their season. Back-to-back wins against the sun are something to brag about for a team that is finally healthy.
Courtney Vandersloot continues to draw up an MVP caliber résumé and most recently dropped a double-double. She has an average of 12.1 PPG and a league best of 8.5 APG and is a big reason why Sky ranks fourth in the WNBA with an average of 19.9 assists. With Vandersloot’s support, her teammates are playing well too, including Candace Parker (11.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG) and Allie Quigley (12.0 PPG). Kahleah Copper (team high 14.1 PPG), Diamond DeShields (12.6 PPG) and Astou Ndour-Fall (10.1 PPG) give Chicago six average double-digit players; Las Vegas is the only other team with six points in double digits.
The Sky is fifth overall, but five games behind Seattle. On the way to New York, 2-2 in their last four games (both defeats in Las Vegas), this week could turn to their advantage as they begin to look like the team they were all meant to start with Season.
In this week: @NY, @NY, @CON
5. New York freedom
Previous ranking: 4th
The Liberty are happy to be back in the victory column after several defeats against the aces, even if Sabrina Ionescu has returned from ankle problems. Ionescu had nine points in Sunday’s road win in Los Angeles and has averaged 12.4 PPG, 6.3 APG and 6.1 RPG in 11 games so far this season.
Betnijah Laney continues to star for Liberty. The most improved player last season averaged a career high of 19.9 PPG and 5.3 APG.
The Liberty have made 142 3-point points in the league, but their defense takes work. In their two defeats – again on the streets in Las Vegas – they allowed 100 and 103 points.
New York’s 3-2 home record will be tested when Chicago comes to town.
In this week: CHI, CHI, @ATL
6th Washington mystic
Previous ranking: 8
Slowly but surely, the Mystics are turning their season around – even without any indication of when the two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne will return. Currently, the Mystics have a two-game winning streak and have won four of their last five games, placing Chicago in fifth place. Once stalled, the Mystics offense is now fifth in the WNBA with 82.8 PPG.
Much of the team’s turnaround is thanks to Tina Charles, who is pushing for the league MVP. She has a career high on average – and a leading league – 24.5 PPG, in addition to 9.0 RPG. Ariel Atkins made 33 3-pointers, one from the top of the table. Atkins will have to continue their stellar game as the Mystics could do without guard Natasha Cloud in the future due to an ankle injury.
It could also be more difficult for Washington, who are in the next three games. The Mystics are away 1-3 this season.
In this week: @SEA, @LA, @DAL
7th Dallas Wings
Previous ranking: 7th
Dallas is still struggling to find consistency and is right in the middle of the league. The wings are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Nevertheless, the young Wings show a sense of achievement. Leading contender for Most Improved Player, Marina Mabrey averages 16.5 PPG and 5.2 RPG, and lost a career high of 28 points, including shooting 5 out of 8 from the 3 point distance. Arike Ogunbowale – who tweeted that Mabrey is a castle for the MIP this season after the game on Saturday – fourth place in the league with 20.5 PPG. Ogunbowale has hit double digits in 50 consecutive games.
Dallas scores 85.3 points per game, ranking third in the league, and its 38.8 RPG leads the WNBA.
But after winning a game, the Wings lose a game – they have only won twice in a row this season. Dallas has to have some consistency if it wants to reach the playoffs. The Wings are on the road this week and a win against a battered Sun team would propel them in the right direction.
In this week: @CON, @IND, WHAT
8th. Los Angeles sparks
Previous ranking: 9th
Moving the Sparks up the leaderboard may seem confusing after going 1-2 last week, but they’re like the Wings.
Before Los Angeles lost to New York on Sunday, the Sparks shared games with the Mercury, scoring 85 points in one night, only to be held at 66 points two days later against the same team. The Sparks have the worst 74.3 PPG in the league on average, and their 14.9 APG also rank last.
The Sparks could really use Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, both of whom are injured.
Next up: A week that could prove difficult: Both Washington and Phoenix are experiencing flare-ups that could cause the Sparks to slide further.
In this week: WASHING, @PHX
9. Phoenix Mercury
Previous ranking: 6
The Mercury took a much-needed win on Saturday after a tough four-game losing streak dragged them down the overall standings. If the season ended today, Phoenix would be one of the last teams to get a postseason spot. During the losing streak, they averaged just 75.8 PPG – they averaged 78.8 points per game for the season, making it the third worst in the league.
The Phoenix offense gained momentum in its win over Los Angeles on Friday thanks to 21 points from Skylar Diggins-Smith. Brittney Griner has also played Lights-Out, averaging a double-double (19.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG).
The Mercury, who won’t play again until Sunday, are playing their next three games at home and have a chance to improve their 1-5 record on their court.
In this week: LA
10. Atlanta Dream
Previous ranking: 5th
On paper, the Dream’s numbers are impressive. They occupy fourth place in the league with 84.3 PPG and lead the WNBA with an average of 9.9 steals.
But Atlanta – like so many teams in the lower half of the table – is struggling to achieve consistency. Although the schedule wasn’t exactly right, the Dream are 1-5 in their last six games.
Courtney Williams (16.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG) continues to lead the Dream, who are playing their next three games at home, trying to improve a 2-4 record on their seat.
In this week: MINN, NY
11. Minnesota Lynx
Previous ranking: 11
Much like last week, the Lynx are still stuck in the lower half of the league and haven’t won any consecutive games since the first week of June. Since Minnesota has won three in a row, it has lost three of its last five games, including 95-77 against Dallas on Saturday.
The Lynx have five double-digit goalscorers – led by Napheesa Collier (17.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG) and Sylvia Fowles (15.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG) – but Aerial Powers (10.0 PPG) and Natalie Ahonwa are injured indefinitely. Now the question arises whether the Lynx can build on their offensive – sixth in the league with 81.4 PPG and fifth in APG with 19.5 – and overcome the injuries.
In this week: @ATL, LV
12th Indiana fever
Previous ranking: 12th
Despite playing closely against Washington on Saturday, the Fever are still looking for their second win of the season and have lost 10 games in a row. They have the second worst offense in the league with an average of 74.5 PPG.
Teaira McCowan still plays good basketball with an average career high of 11.1 PPG that comes with a team-high 8.9 RPG.
The next four games of the Fever are at home, but they only have one game this week. Two home games against Connecticut are the focus of next week’s schedule.
In this week: DAL