WNBAinsidr Power Rankings: Preseason edition


Every Monday during the regular season, Maurice Brooks and Aryeh Schwartz will rank the WNBA teams from 1 to 12. Also, Insidr beat writers will provide interesting tidbits on each team that they cover.

1. Minnesota Lynx

 Minnesota Lynx, 2017                                  Photo: Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press

Minnesota Lynx, 2017                                  Photo: Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press

Upon Maya Moore's return to the states, Minnesota routed the Chicago Sky 87-58 in their final preseason tune up. Sylvia Fowles led the way with 17 points. Moore finished with 15 points in 24 minutes as the Lynx led the entire game. The Lynx begin their quest for their fifth WNBA title when they host the Sparks at 5 p.m.ET on Sunday, May 20th. -- Rachel Galligan

 2. Los Angeles Sparks

Los Angeles finished a game behind Minnesota in the standings, and then finished a game behind Minnesota in the WNBA Finals. Their place among the WNBA's elite is not in question. What is in question is what they can do this year to get over the hump that is the Lynx. Will they make schematic adjustments after being bested by Minnesota? Or will they bank on their veteran talent being able to make subtle improvements that bring a trophy back to L.A.? -- Brady Klopfer

3. Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury open the season Friday at home against Dallas before traveling to Seattle on Sunday night. Phoenix enters the season as a favorite to earn a top four seed in the playoffs. A healthy Brittney Griner is expected to be in the MVP conversation this year, and Diana Taurasi is still one of the best scorers in the league. With a revamped supporting cast around its two stars, Phoenix should be in the conference semifinals again. -- Pat Ralph 

4. Connecticut Sun

The Sun placed ninth in the league in 2016 and fourth in 2017. Curt Miller and Co. are now ready to be title contenders. Chiney Ogwumike and Morgan Tuck return to the squad along with Jasmine Thomas, Courtney Williams and WNBA All-Star Jonquel Jones. After going 3-0 in the preseason, the Sun open up at home on Sunday, May 20th as they host the Las Vegas Aces at 1 p.m. ET. -- Rachel Galligan 

5. Atlanta Dream

Angel McCoughtry returns to the lineup so it will be interesting to see how new head coach Nicki Collen pairs her with Tiffany Hayes, who saw her role increase tremendously due to McCoughtry’s absence. Brittney Sykes is coming off a big growth rookie season. While Sancho Lyttle's presence will be missed in the paint, hopefully this gives more light to the other bigs. The addition of veteran Renee Montgomery will only improve those around her as she comes with the vast knowledge of a championship team. This season will include adjustments to see how all of the pieces fit together. -- Jameelah Johnson

6. Washington Mystics

If there was an off-season chemistry award, the Washington Mystics would definitely take home the trophy. The Mystics went from a team who barely knew each other to a group that meshed well enough to advance to the semis against the Lynx. This year's roster is very deep. However, the biggest missing piece they will have to play without is center Emma Meesseman. Look for Elena Delle Donne and Krystal Thomas to step up to fill in that role. -- Jasmine Brown 

 7. Dallas Wings

Rookie Azura Stevens has shown flashes of brilliance in the preseason. She led the team to victory over the Liberty in her Wings debut, grabbing nine rebounds and finishing with 19 points. “The biggest takeaway from Stevens was her overall basketball IQ was great,” head coach Fred Williams said. “She’s still learning our system. She’s been a great asset to our team, and we look forward to seeing what she can do for us." During Wings Media Day, Stevens said: "I will use my size on defense, rebounding, shooting, setting screens, just a little bit of everything. I am here to help the team in any way that I can." Judging from her preseason play, she's well on her way to stunning the league and maybe, just maybe, handing Dallas its second ROY. -- Dorothy Gentry 

8. Seattle Storm

Dan Hughes is the new head coach for Breanna Stewart and Co. This is not to ignore the impact of 15-year veteran Sue Bird, who still can move as though she is in her second year, but her influence on rookie Jordin Canada will only make the young guard better. Canada's defense and explosiveness make for a fast-paced game that the opposition must be ready for. Jewell Loyd can score with what seems like ease. The Storm added Natasha Howard who brings with her the experience of being on a championship team.  -- Jameelah Johnson

9. New York Liberty

With Katie Smith making her head coaching debut, the Liberty begin the 2018 season at Chicago on Sunday night. New York has been one of the best regular season teams in the WNBA over the last three seasons, winning at least 21 games. However, the Liberty will be looking to get over the postseason hump in 2018: New York has lost in the single elimination second round on its home floor the last two seasons.  -- Pat Ralph 

 10. Las Vegas Aces

In Kelsey Plum and A’ja Wilson the Aces have a pair of former No. 1 picks and coupled with Jaime Nared and Moriah Jefferson give the Las Vegas squad a solid nucleus to build around. With Tamera Young, Jisu Park and Wilson, the biggest advantage for Bill Laimbeer’s squad is height. -- Jasmine Brown 

 11. Chicago Sky

If nothing else, Chicago figures to make rebuilding look fun. After drafting Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams, the Sky find a young, exciting, and rather compelling roster on their hands. Sure, they're unlikely to make too much noise, but they're building the foundation of a team that can climb back to the top soon.  -- Brady Klopfer

12. Indiana Fever

If you're at a Fever game this season and happen to look out into the stands and see someone who resembles Kelsey Mitchell enjoying the game; don't be alarmed. It's not her. It's her twin sister Chelsea. Kelsey, a 5-11 guard out of Ohio State who was the No. 2 pick in this year's draft, is a twin. Her mother had two sets of twins -- Kevin and Cameron (both 26), and Kelsey and Chelsea (both 22). Kelsey is the first four-time women’s All-American in school history and ranks as the NCAA’s second-leading scorer of all time (3,402 points) and the career leader in three-pointers made (497).  -- Dorothy Gentry