The WNBA is back, especially the Minnesota Lynx

In this week’s WNBA Power Rankings, the league is back from their month-long Olympic break and the Minnesota Lynx are still rolling.

The Olympics were fun, but now that they’re over, we can get back to the important things in life, like the 2021 WNBA season.

And get back we did, with all 12 teams in action on Sunday.

Even though we only have one game per team of new data since our last power rankings, it’s been a month since we’ve had a power rankings post, so why not have one now!

Where does each team rank in this week’s WNBA Power Rankings?

12

Atlanta Dream 6-14

Last rank: 12

The Dream have two more wins than the Fever, but the Dream also are still dealing with this weird Chennedy Carter suspension issue. Did you think that a month off would fix whatever was happening there? Nope, it didn’t. The team also underwent another coaching change over the break, further throwing the team into disarray. They did add veteran forward Candice Dupree, if you’re looking for a positive. And Aari McDonald is starting to show why she was a lottery pick.

11

Indiana Fever 4-17

Last rank: 10

Indiana finally got out of the 12th spot in our last power rankings, but they’re falling back towards that spot after a 75-70 loss to the Mercury. Kysre Gondrezick is away from the team for personal reasons right now, Betti Hatar is injured, and there’s just not a lot of reasons to watch this team right now, outside of Teaira McCowan, who played just 19 minutes against Phoenix. It would be nice to see some more consistency when it comes to this rotation in the second half!

10

Los Angeles Sparks 7-13

Last rank: 11

Nnenka Ogwumike is back! Chiney Ogwumike will be back soon! The Sparks were a mess before the Olympic break, but this team has the personnel to still make a playoff run. Maybe this isn’t the kind of Sparks team that fans are used to — you know, the ones with Candace Parker that could make deep postseason runs — but I’d wager that this is the last time we see this team this far in the power rankings.

9

Dallas Wings 9-13

Last rank: 9

With four losses in a row, I was tempted to drop the Wings to 10th, but I still want to see just a bit more out of the Sparks before I make that inevitable change. Dallas made some interesting lineup changes on Sunday, starting Bella Alarie, Isabelle Harrison, Allisha Gray, Arike Ogunbowale, and Ty Harris. Getting Harris into the starting five will pay off eventually, but this team also played rookies Charli Collier and Awak Kuier a combined six minutes. What’s Dallas doing here?

8

New York Liberty 10-12

Last rank: 7

The bad news for New York? They lost to the Lynx, extending the losing streak to three games. The good news? They’re still the seventh seed in the playoff hunt, and they got Natasha Howard back. The prize acquisition of the offseason for this team, Howard had played just two games so far, which is why her returning and scoring 30 points in her first game back is a really good sign for a team that was in desperate need of help up front.

7

Washington Mystics 8-11

Last rank: 8

The Olympic break is over and the Mystics are still in the same “will she or won’t she play in 2021” scenario with star forward Elena Delle Donne. But the Mystics did get Myisha Hines-Allen back on Sunday, allowing them to start her at the 4 instead of Theresa Plaisance. Washington could easily make a run if they get EDD and Emma Meesseman back, but we have to rank them as they’re constructed right now, making them a fringe playoff team.

6

Phoenix Mercury 10-10

Last rank: 6

A nice win for Phoenix on Sunday over Atlanta got the team back to .500. On paper, this should be a better team than the one we’re seeing, as they have Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Skyar Diggins-Smith, as well as Kia Nurse and Brianna Turner. But bench depth has been a concern all year. Sophie Cunningham scored 17 on Sunday but isn’t super consistent, and this remains the WNBA team that’s most reliant on its starting five. Maybe they’ll get Bria Hartley back at some point? That would help.

5

Chicago Sky 11-10

Last rank: 5

It took overtime for Chicago to beat a short-handed Storm team, and at some point during that game, I realized something: this isn’t a title contender, no matter how much I’ve wanted them to be all season long. Just 2-3 in their past five games, the SKy have the offensive personnel to win, but the defense keeps faltering. This is one of the most fun teams in the league and they could definitely upset someone in the single-elimination second round, but I don’t know how they win a five-game series.

4

Connecticut Sun 15-6

Last rank: 4

Now, there was a WNBA game before Sunday, as the Sun and the Storm faced off in the Commissioner’s Cup. And while that game doesn’t count for the WNBA standings, it’s hard to ignore that the Sun just got demolished in that game, with Seattle winning 79-57. Sure, you can blame the rust if you want, but that game showed the limitations of this team when they face top competition. Sure, they have a three-game regular-season win streak, but despite still having two more wins than the next team on our list, I can’t move the Sun up.

3

Minnesota Lynx 13-7

Last rank: 3

Eight games. That’s how many victories in a row the Minnesota Lynx have. On Sunday, they defeated the Liberty by 10, with Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier combining for 38 points and both getting double-doubles. There are still some concerns about that second forward spot and you’d like to see Crystal Dangerfield get some consistency back, but the Lynx have Natalie Achonwa back, bolstering their frontcourt.

2

Las Vegas Aces 16-6

Last rank: 2

The gap between the Aces and the Storm essentially doesn’t exist, but with both teams boasting the same record, I went with the Commisioner’s Cup winner in first. Vegas struggled some against the Mystics, eventually winning by one after outscoring them 29-14 in the fourth quarter. Having A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage in that frontcourt means that the Aces can win any game, but they do still have one big issue, which is that their eighth-best player is Kiah Stokes and there’s just no depth beyond the star bench duo of Dearica Hamby and Kelsey Plum.

1

Seattle Storm 16-6

Last rank: 2

Seattle lost their first game of the WNBA’s second half, but it’s hard to hold that against them. After playing in the Olympics and leading the team to a dominant win in the final of the Commisioner’s Cup, Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird sat out Sunday’s game against Chicago. And yet, it took overtime for the Chicago Sky to emerge with the victory. Seattle looks like the best team in the league right now, but the Aces are right there behind them if they slip up.

Source: FanSided

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