April 19, 2024

WNBA power rankings: Atlanta Dream, Dallas Wings climb as All-Star break looms

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The Las Vegas Aces suffered their second loss, responded with the highest points of the season, secured their place in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals and look forward to hosting the WNBA All-Star Weekend.

Despite the fall Dallas Wings With a score of 80-78 on Friday, the Aces remain where they are since preseason: No. 1 in ESPN’s weekly WNBA Power Rankings. The Aces are averaging a league-high 93.6 PPG, so scoring under 80 points was downright bizarre. But unsurprisingly, they beat that Minnesota Lynx 113-89 on Sunday. This is how the aces roll.

However, it’s worth noting that the Aces weren’t the winning team this week. That was the Atlanta dreamwho took a 3-0 lead and is back in the top half of the Power Rankings.

In the four games since being named All-Star Reserves on July 1, Atlanta has Rhine Howard has an average of 26.8 PPG, including a career high of 43 points on July 2nd. Howard was an All-Star last season when she was also Rookie of the Year after picking No. 1. Howard wasn’t picked this year, but she’s playing like an all-star.

Your dream teammates Alisha Gray And Cheyenne Parker are headed to Saturday’s All-Star Game (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app). But earlier that day, in Knoxville, Tennessee, a woman dear to Gray and many in the basketball world was being eulogized.

Nikki McCray-Penson – the former Tennessee Lady Vols star, who won two Olympic gold medals and played in the WNBA and ABL before becoming a college coach – died Friday at the age of 51. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer nearly ten years ago.

McCray-Penson was a three-time WNBA All-Star. She was part of the 1996 US Olympic team that helped dramatically change the sport by paving the way for the introduction of the WNBA in 1997.

“She has always protected me; she made my job really difficult,” she recalls New York freedom Coach Sandy Brondello, who played with Australia at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics against McCray-Penson and Team USA. “It’s tragic, so sad. she was so young I also coached them in San Antonio. That’s how I really got to know her.”

“Just working with her, how competitive she was, how much she wanted to win. She was a great defensive player, a great slasher. This is a great loss for our community.”

McCray-Penson coached several current WNBA players – like Atlanta’s Gray, Las Vegas’ Aye WilsonMinnesota Tiffany Mitchell and Connecticut Tyasha Harris — as assistant to Dawn Staley as they expanded the South Carolina Gamecocks into a national championship program.

That 2017 NCAA title meant a lot to Staley and McCray-Penson, both of whom played in the Women’s Final Four but didn’t win a national championship in college. They were best friends who shared many memories together. McCray-Penson’s death prompted great emotion from everyone who had the opportunity to interact with her over the years, including on 1996’s “Dream Team.”

The All-Star Game will be a celebration of the WNBA, but McCray-Penson was instrumental in making the league what it is today.

1. Las Vegas Aces
Record: 17-2
Previous ranking: 1
This week: vs. Phoenix (Tuesday), in Los Angeles (Wednesday)

After beating Dallas at home, the Aces fell victim to the Wings away. But while that was legitimately a big deal for Dallas, it seemed more of a hiccup for Las Vegas. The Aces have responded well to their two losses this season and clinched double-digit wins in the next game. Kelsey Plum joined the WNBA’s ever-growing 40-point club in Sunday’s win against Minnesota and did so with extreme efficiency, making 14 of 18 field shots and all six free throws.


2. New York freedom
Record: 13-4
Previous ranking: 2
This week: in Indiana (Wednesday)

The Liberty struggled harder than expected to edge out the bottom two in the standings but still picked up four-point wins at home over Phoenix and Seattle. Breanna Stewart had 43 points, 12 rebounds and six assists against the Mercury and 25, eight and three against the Storm. And the Liberty needed all of that. Now, can she take the lead for Team Stewart this week – along with her Liberty teammates? Courtney Vandersloot And Sabrina Ionescu – at the All Star Game?


3. Connecticut Sun
Record: 14-5
Previous ranking: 3
This week: in Chicago (Wednesday)

After a difficult previous week with defeats against New York and Las Vegas, everything normalized again with a 2-0 week for the Sun. They outperformed Seattle and Washington at home DeWanna Bonner a total of 44 points. Bonner has 42 three-pointers in 19 games in her 14th WNBA season. If she keeps up this pace, she will break her career high of 3 points in a season: 55 in 34 games played in 2018.


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The Wings give the Aces only their second loss

Watch the two-legged game as the Wings hand the Aces only their second loss of the season.

4. Dallas Wings
Record: 10-9
Previous ranking: 6
This week: in Minnesota (Wednesday)

The Wings have won four of their last five games, making it into the top four in the Power rankings for the first time this season. On Friday, they defeated the Aces in front of a sold-out crowd at College Park Center. Natasha Howard’s two free throws with less than a second to go gave her the winning edge after being fouled by A’ja Wilson. The Wings’ win Sunday in Indiana was also big. Yes, the Fever are struggling, but it was only Dallas’ third away win of the season.


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2:05

Rhyne Howard scores 32 points and Dream takes fifth place in a row

Rhyne Howard scores best 32 points and catapults the Dream across the sky.

5. Atlanta dream
Record: 10-8
Previous ranking: 7
This week: vs. Seattle (Wednesday)

The Dream have the longest active winning streak in the league with five straight wins and have beaten the Sparks once and Sky twice in the past week. Along with strong play from Howard, Gray and Parker, an experienced guard Danielle Robinson did a good job as a playmaker during this period, averaging 5.0 assists over the five games.


6. Minnesota Lynx
Record: 9-10
Previous ranking: 5
This week: vs. Dallas (Wednesday)

The Lynx did nothing wrong and fell back one place. They were just surpassed by big weeks for Dallas and Atlanta. Minnesota defeated Indiana and Phoenix last week, but then lost to an angry Las Vegas team. Aside from that 24-point loss, the Lynx have won eight of their last 11 games.


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0:59

Elena Delle Donne hobbles off after an apparent ankle injury

Mystics star Elena Delle Donne hobbles off after rolling her left ankle into the Sun.

7. Washington mystic
Record: 10-8
Previous ranking: 4
This week: vs. Seattle (Tuesday)

Injuries led to the downfall of the mystics; they have lost four of their last six. All Star Reserve Elena Delle Donne Apparently, she injured her left ankle again in Sunday’s loss in Connecticut. She returned after missing two games with a sprained ankle; She only played 13 minutes and didn’t score against the Sun. Natasha Cloud, Shakira Austin And Kristi Toliver are currently injured. The Mystics added another young center, trading Amanda Zahui B. to Indiana Queen Egbowho scored eight points and seven rebounds for Washington on Sunday.


8th. Chicago sky
Record: 8-11
Previous ranking: 8th
This week: vs. Connecticut (Wednesday)

After a 3-0 loss in a week losing Coach James Wade to the NBA’s Raptors, the Sky faced a hot Atlanta side last week, losing twice to visiting Dream. All Star Reserve Kahleah Copper scored a total of 44 points in those games while Sky stayed in the power rankings.


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Brittney Griner throws in a 1-hand slam

Brittney Griner rises to throw a one-handed dunk for the Mercury vs. Sparks.

9. Phoenix Mercury
Record: 4-14
Previous ranking: 12
This week: in Las Vegas (Tuesday)

Even though the bottom four teams are struggling in the power rankings, it doesn’t take much to climb up. The Mercury were the only ones of the quartet to win last week, beating Los Angeles after losses to New York and Minnesota. All Star Starter Brittney Griner got a dunk against the Sparks, along with 29 points and 11 rebounds.


10 Los Angeles Sparks
Record: 7-12
Previous ranking: 10
This week: vs Las Vegas (Wednesday)

The Sparks have lost five straight games, including to Atlanta and Phoenix last week. All Star Starter Nneka Ogwumike another great season. But with five players injured or recovering from illness, the Sparks struggle with their depth and energy. They’re second to bottom in offense (96.4), a particularly bad feeling when you’re up against Las Vegas.


11. Seattle Storm
Record: 4-14
Previous ranking: 11
This week: in Washington (Tuesday), in Atlanta (Wednesday)

Like the Sparks, the Storm have suffered five straight losses and are All-Star starters Jewel Loyd had to come out of Saturday’s 80-76 defeat in New York with a sprained ankle. In this loss, however, the Storm showed great courage and pushed the Liberty to the end. This was not expected to be a successful season for Seattle. But the younger players they have, including first-time All-Star players, show promise Ezi Magbegor.


12. Indiana fever
Record: 5-14
Previous ranking: 9
This week: vs. New York (Wednesday)

After another 0-3 week, the Fever have suffered seven straight defeats. After losses in Minnesota and Washington, it looked like Indiana could get back on track at home to Dallas on Sunday. But the Wings prevailed 77-76, and now the Fever must figure out how to emerge from a crisis that feels all too much like last season.

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