WNBAINSIDR POWER RANKINGS: Week 12

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. Seattle Storm (Last week: 1 | record: 24-8)

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The Seattle Storm hit the road this past week to go 3-1. They clinched at least the No. 2 seed for the playoffs. Their sole loss came against the Washington Mystics where Breanna Stewart scored just 10 points and Seattle shot 9 of 26 from three. When Stewart isn't on, this is a very different team. She has to be involved, even if it isn't scoring, it must be facilitating or even rebounding. The Storm bounced right back with a powerful showing against the Minnesota Lynx, with Stewart finishing with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Seattle clinches the No. 1 seed with one more win or an Atlanta loss. They face the New York Liberty on Friday. -- Jameelah Johnson

2. Atlanta Dream (Last week: 2 | record: 22-10)

What a whirlwind week for the Atlanta Dream. They continued their winning streak, picking up five wins in a seven-day stretch - bringing their consecutive wins to six. Tuesday's contest against the Las Vegas Aces resulted in a win but sadly, the news of Angel McCoughtry's season-ending injury. Coach Nicki Collen, who has taken pride in keeping her players' minutes to under 30 minutes on average, had to make some tough decisions to play them longer. The Dream want to secure their top-two spot in the playoffs, explaining the extra push to win. The depth of this team behind Collen's rotations have teams unprepared for the offensive sets. The Dream can clinch a top-two seed with one win or a Washington loss. There are two games remaining in the season for the Dream, the first one in Phoenix on Friday. -- Jameelah Johnson

3. Washington Mystics (Last week: 4 | record: 19-11)

The Mystics are ending the season the way they started: on a strong winning streak. Washington has now extended their win streak to 6, following a 93-80 win over the Dallas Wings. After defeating the Seattle Storm on Thursday, the Mystics have a strong chance to beat anyone heading into the playoffs.  -- Jasmine Brown

4. Los Angeles Sparks (Last week: 3 | record: 18-13)

Los Angeles may be healthy at long last, but the Sparks are back to their old tricks. After strong wins against the Lynx and Mercury after the All-Star break, Los Angeles proceeded to fall to the lowly Liberty, and get severely outplayed by Phoenix.  The Sparks fluctuate between mediocrity and eliteness, and, as their likely headed for a single-elimination game or two, that could either get them in trouble, or carry them towards a title.  -- Brady Klopfer

5. Connecticut Sun (Last week: 6 | record: 18-13)

This team has hit its stride at just the right time. They are a ring contender! Question marks still linger about if they can win when it matters most - during the playoffs. The play of Jonquel Jones has been a direct correlation so if you need a sign of how this team is doing check in on her play.  -- Aryeh Schwartz

6. Phoenix Mercury (Last week: 5 | record: 18-14)

This week, the Mercury secured their sixth consecutive playoff appearance. But this past Wednesday night, Phoenix lost its fifth straight home game in a 103-98 defeat against the Washington Mystics. Despite getting 84 combined points from their All-Star trio, the Mercury’s defense struggled throughout the entire game. However, Phoenix snapped its home skid and ran away from the Indiana Fever this past Friday night in a game that it had to have by winning 94-74. The Mercury’s dominance on both ends of the floor was reminiscent of their play in the first half of the season. To close out the week on Sunday night, the Mercury got 71 combined points from DeWanna Bonner, Brittney Griner, and Diana Taurasi to power Phoenix to a huge 86-78 home win over the LA Sparks. With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Mercury hold the six seed in the WNBA playoffs and could be in position to host a first-round game. -- Pat Ralph 

7. Minnesota Lynx (Last week: 7 | record: 17-14)

It’s been a season of statement wins and embarrassing losses for the defending champs. It was just announced that Lindsay Whalen will retire at the end of the season and for the Lynx this could be the motivation that pushes them to a strong playoff push. Whalen will leave the league as the winningest player ever and with one of the greatest story’s this league has seen. -- Aryeh Schwartz

8. Dallas Wings (Last week: 8 | record: 14-17)

The Wings have not won a game since July 19, dropped their eighth consecutive game on Sunday, fired coach Fred Williams shortly after, have been without MVP candidate Liz Cambage the past two games and are struggling to maintain the final spot in the playoffs. Not a great ending for a team that only a month ago was No. 3 in the standings and riding a 5-game win streak. With three games left and a new coach at the helm, (assistant coach Taj McWilliams-Franklin steps in) let's see how it all ends. -- Dorothy Gentry

9. Las Vegas Aces (Last week: 9 | record: 13-17)

The Aces have a real legitimate shot to make the playoffs due to the Wings’ recent late skid. They play the Liberty, a team eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday. If they win, they can possibly sneak into the playoffs and make a crazy run. But they have had a losing streak of their own. -- Jasmine Brown 

10. Chicago Sky (Last week: 10 | record: 11-20)

Chicago has lost nearly twice as many games as they've won, but when healthy, they've played well. Given the state of the eighth seed, it's not unreasonable to assume that the Sky would be playoff-bound if they had carried a full, healthy roster all season long. This team can - and likely will - make a lot of noise next season. -- Brady Klopfer

11. New York Liberty (Last week: 11 | record: 7-23)

The Liberty wrapped up their 2018 season at home with three straight losses this week to extend their current losing streak to nine straight games. In possibly its final game as a franchise at Madison Square Garden, New York lost to the WNBA-leading Seattle Storm 96-80 this past Monday afternoon. The Liberty had 20 turnovers as Seattle had 16 steals in the contest. Then, after outplaying the Los Angeles Sparks at home for three quarters this past Wednesday night, the Liberty were unable to get enough defensive stops in the fourth quarter as New York fell 82-81 to LA. In possibly their final game in White Plains at the Westchester County Center on Sunday afternoon, the East-leading Atlanta Dream held the Liberty to 2-of-17 shooting from three and forced New York into 16 turnovers in a 86-77 win. The Liberty will close out the season this week with four road games on the west coast. -- Pat Ralph 

12. Indiana Fever (Last week: 12 | record: 5-26)

After winning 2 games in a row - AFTER being eliminated from playoff contention - the Indiana Fever have dropped three consecutive and with three games to go, should begin looking to the offseason and what they can do to learn from this season. With young players  like Kelsey Mitchell, Victoria Vivians and Natalie Achonwa, the future looks bright for this team. But they'll have to wait until next year.  -- Dorothy Gentry