WNBAINSIDR POWER RANKINGS: Week 1

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. Los Angeles Sparks (Last week: 2 | record: 1-0)

No team can feel as good about opening weekend as the Sparks. They entered Minnesota, the city where their championship dreams were stolen last year, and this time they were without Candace Parker (sidelined by an injury). Yet, they still emerged victorious. With two players still overseas, and Parker injured, LA is forced into small-ball action, and forcing 24 turnovers against the Lynx proved that they have the blueprint to successfully do so. -- Brady Klopfer

2. Minnesota Lynx (Last week: 1 | record: 0-1)

There wasn’t a more exciting game played in Sunday’s #WNBAAllDay slate of games than Minnesota vs. Los Angeles. It took an incredible buzzer-beater by LA’s Chelsea Gray to sink the defending champs, but Minnesota might have some cause for concern. The Sparks were without their best player in Candace Parker, who didn’t travel with the team due to a nagging back injury. The Lynx were paced by veterans Lindsay Whalen (17 points, 9 assists and 2 rebounds) and Sylvia Fowles (15 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks). Maya Moore struggled in the opener, shooting 4 of 14 from the floor and committing four turnovers in an uncharacteristically rough night. -- Nicholas LeTourneau
 

3. Connecticut Sun (Last week: 4 | record: 1-0)

The Sun had probably the most impressive season opener in the WNBA with a dominating win against the Aces. The Aces were short-handed with some key contributors still battling it out overseas, but the Sun beat them handily behind great coaching and even better execution from their players. Alex Bentley scored 18 points off the bench while shooting 75 percent from deep and Alyssa Thomas dominated in nearly every aspect of the game with an impressive statline of 13 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. -- Nicholas LeTourneau

4. Phoenix Mercury (Last week: 3 | record: 2-0)

The Mercury opened up the 2018 season with an 86-78 home victory over the Wings on Friday night, as Diana Taurasi finished with 26 points and became the first player in WNBA history to make 1,000 career three-pointers. Phoenix followed it up with an 87-82 road win over the Storm on Sunday, in which Brittney Griner led the way with 29 points and 10 boards. -- Pat Ralph 

5. Dallas Wings (Last week: 7 | record: 1-1)

The Wings begin a three-game road trip that starts with a matchup with the defending champion Lynx. One thing is clear - the road to postseason play goes through Skylar Diggins-Smith and Liz Cambage. They've combined for 82 points in two games and are giving the Wings the spark, shooting and energy they need both offensively and defensively. -- Dorothy Gentry 

 

6. Washington Mystics (Last week: 6 | record: 1-0)

The Mystics took down a scrappy Indiana Fever team 82-75 Sunday afternoon. Kristi Toliver led the way with 16 points, followed by Elena Delle Donne with 13. It was their first game playing without Emma Meesseman and it showed, but they got the job done.  -- Jasmine Brown 

7. Chicago Sky (Last week: 11 | record: 2-0)

Two games, two wins for the exciting young Sky, and they've done it by dominating inside. Chicago has secured 25 more rebounds than their opponents, while also shooting very efficiently; that's a recipe for success. Rookies Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams have looked comfortable against WNBA competition, and Allie Quiqley has been dynamic. But perhaps most importantly for Chicago is that their bench has been nothing short of dominant.   -- Brady Klopfer

8. Seattle Storm (Last week: 8 | record: 0-1)

The Storm did not go down in defeat with ease in their home season opener against the Mercury. They turned a once double-digit deficit into a one-point game with under four minutes left in the contest. Breanna Stewart finished with a double-double, 22 points and 15 rebounds. -- Jameelah Johnson

9. Atlanta Dream (Last week: 5 | record: 0-1)

In Angel McCoughtry's regular-season return to the court for Atlanta, she scored 13 points on 50 percent shooting, achieving 5,000 career points. The Dream have a chance to even their record when they face the 2-0 Sky on Wednesday. -- Jameelah Johnson

10. New York Liberty (Last week: 9 | record: 0-1)

The Liberty dropped their season opener on Sunday night to the Sky on the road 80-76. Tina Charles led the way for New York with 19 points in the game, while rookie Kia Nurse (17 points) and Amanda Zahui B. (15 points) each gave the Liberty solid performances off the bench. It was New York’s defense and rebounding struggles that ultimately cost it against the Sky. -- Pat Ralph 

11. Las Vegas Aces (Last week: 10 | record: 0-1)

The Sun were not a team the Aces wanted to face for their first game, but it was a learning experience for them to get ready for the top-heavy East. Tamera Young led with 23 points and A’ja Wilson had 14. The team is still young, so it will take some time for them to adjust. -- Jasmine Brown 

12. Indiana Fever (Last week: 12 | record: 0-2)

Despite a 21-point game from Natalie Achonwa, the Fever lost Sunday to the Mystics. The young Fever - with an average age of 25 - will be looking for their first win of the season when they return to Banker's Life Fieldhouse for two home games this week - Tuesday against the Sparks and Thursday against Washington. -- Dorothy Gentry