WNBAINSIDR POWER RANKINGS: Week 6

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: 10-3)

Sparks number 1.jpg

Their season trend of when they're hot, they're really hot and when they're cold, they're really cold continued for another week. A 29-point loss to the Wings on Friday was followed up by a 26-point victory against the Liberty. How they respond on Tuesday, when they rematch Dallas, will tell us a lot about whether the first game was a fluke, or a sign that overpowering bigs like Liz Cambage present the Sparks with a question they cannot answer. -- Brady Klopfer

2. Seattle Storm (Last week: 3 | record: 10-4)

Catch them with the shooters. Seattle went 2-1 over the week, losing to the Las Vegas Aces but bouncing back with wins over the Indiana Fever and Dallas Wings. This is definitely a team who benefits from having Sue Bird at the helms. Two of their four losses have come when Bird sat out. Head coach Dan Hughes knows where their strength is and continues to maximize it by running plays to set up shooters. In Seattle's two wins, they shot 42 percent from three. Conversely, they went 4 of 26 from the perimeter in their loss. With a Tuesday evening road matchup against a surging Minnesota team, it will be a true test of agility. -- Jameelah Johnson

3. Phoenix Mercury (Last week: 1 | record: 10-5)

After an eight-game winning streak in which they emerged as the hottest team in the league, the Mercury dropped two straight games this week to fall back down to planet earth. First, the Mercury were dominated on their home floor by the defending champion Minnesota Lynx by a score of 83-72 on Friday night. Then, Phoenix suffered a bad road loss against the Chicago Sky on Sunday by a score of 97-88. That’s two straight off games for Phoenix’s defense, which has been impressive so far this year. While the Mercury may have lost two straight, this team is going to be just fine. -- Pat Ralph 

4. Minnesota Lynx (Last week: 8 | record: 7-6)

Minnesota appears to be headed in the right direction and playing with the confidence we always knew they had. They are currently responding to their slow start to the season with a four-game win streak. This past week they defeated the Dallas Wings, 91-83, the Phoenix Mercury, 83-72 and the Las Vegas Aces, 88-73. Maya Moore led all scorers in Sunday's matchup against the Aces with 23 points and six rebounds. Sylvia Fowles finished with a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Lynx look to continue their winning ways with a pair of home games as they host the  second-place Seattle Storm on Tuesday and the Atlanta Dream on Friday. -- Rachel Galligan

 

5. Connecticut Sun (Last week: 4 | record: 8-5)

The Sun hit harder times these last couple of weeks battling a tough road swing and a four-game skid. The Sun fell to the Atlanta Dream this past Friday for the second time this season, 75-70. Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen was previously on the Connecticut staff prior to her move to Atlanta. Connecticut was able to stop the losing streak on Sunday when they defeated the Indiana Fever, 87-78. Rachel Banham finished with a career night with 20 points on a perfect 5 of 5 from the 3-pt line. The Sun face another tough week as they travel to D.C. to take on the Mystics on Tuesday, host the Fever on Wednesday and travel to Seattle to take on the Storm on Sunday. -- Rachel Galligan

6. Washington Mystics (Last week: 7 | record: 8-5)

The Mystics defeated the Sky in a home and home to get back on the winning track. The Mystics are top five in almost every category except one. The talent is there for this team, they just need to lock up more on defense and control the paint. The rookies are starting to slow down and not be as dominant as the first few games. This team is up and down so they’ll definitely need to lock in and dominate like the team they are built to be.  -- Jasmine Brown 

7. Dallas Wings (Last week: 5 | record: 6-6)

Thirty-six hours after a balanced team performance pulled out a 101-72 win against the league-leading Los Angeles Sparks, the Dallas Wings fell flat in their second matchup this season with the Seattle Storm, losing 97-76 and falling back to .500. This talented team must find a way to string together back-to-back wins for only the second time this season and stay above .500 consistently if they expect to see any real success in the postseason. -- Dorothy Gentry

8. Atlanta Dream (Last week: 6 | record: 7-6)

The injury bug hit Atlanta, causing them to lose their wealthy depth at the four. With both Tiffany Hayes and Brittney Sykes sidelined, Head coach Nicki Collen was forced to get creative with her rotations. Atlanta split the week, losing one against the New York Liberty but returning to Atlanta with a healthy Sykes and a win over the Connecticut Sun. While Angel McCoughtry scored a career-high 39 points in New York, the Liberty's defense held Atlanta to just under 30 percent from the field. In their win over Connecticut, Atlanta shot 37.7 percent from the field. Atlanta's advantage lies in their aggressiveness and willingness to attack the lane. They're third in the league in free-throw attempts. Atlanta travels to Chicago to face the Sky on Wednesday. -- Jameelah Johnson

9. Las Vegas Aces (Last week: 10 | record: 5-10)

After an expected but rough start for the Aces, the young team is slowly but surely starting to come together. A’ja Wilson as expected is putting on a phenomenal show every single night and with the help of Kelsey Plum playing much better, this team can definitely be a much tougher team by next season. -- Jasmine Brown 

10. New York Liberty (Last week: 9 | record: 4-8)

The Liberty started off the week with a 79-72 win at home over the injury-riddled Atlanta Dream behind 29 points from the team’s leading scorer, Tina Charles, and a strong defensive performance. However, New York returned to its losing ways on its two-game West Coast swing in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The Liberty dropped to 0-2 against the Aces and former head coach Bill Laimbeer this year on Friday before getting blown off the court 80-54 by the Sparks on Sunday afternoon. -- Pat Ralph 

11. Chicago Sky (Last week: 11 | record: 4-9)

Simply put, Chicago is a dramatically different team when Stefanie Dolson is healthy. Sunday’s victory against Phoenix was the best win of Chicago’s season, and the strongest they’ve looked thus far. Dolson not only gives them much-needed star talent, but is integral to the team clicking and playing with cohesion. -- Brady Klopfer

12. Indiana Fever (Last week: 12 | record: 1-13)

Since their one and only win of the season on June 16 (96-64 rout of the Dream), the Fever have yet to win again, losing their latest game to the Connecticut Sun on Sunday afternoon 87-78. All five Fever starters reached double figures in the scoring column for the first time this season. Indiana’s starting five outscored Connecticut’s 68-41 but it wasn't enough. With a record of 1-13, it's safe to say the Fever should start looking toward the off-season and figuring out what has gone wrong this season. -- Dorothy Gentry