Power Rankings: Can New York end Connecticut's perfect start?


The Connecticut Sun aren’t even a quarter of the way through their 2024 WNBA schedule, but they appear already on track for a great season. At 8-0 and as the league’s only unbeaten team, they remain No. 1 in ESPN’s WNBA Power Rankings.

Connecticut is the seventh WNBA team to win its first eight games of a season; the other six all advanced to the WNBA Finals. Three of those teams were from the Minnesota Lynx and three from the Los Angeles Sparks. Of those teams, the 2017 Lynx, 2016 Sparks and 2001 Sparks went on to win the WNBA title.

So while the calendar just turned to June, the Sun already look good for a playoff spot. But Alyssa Thomas, in her 11th season with Connecticut, is staying pragmatic.

“I think we don’t care about the record,” Thomas said. “It’s a 40-game season, a lot of basketball to be played. It’s huge for this franchise. I’ve been here a long time; to have a start like this is great. But the job’s not done.”

Last week, the Sun had two double-digit wins — vs. the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday and Atlanta Dream on Sunday — and a two-point victory over the Dallas Wings on Friday. DeWanna Bonner totaled 49 points for the week, leading the Sun in scoring against the Mercury and the Dream. Brionna Jones had 22 to top Connecticut in scoring against the Wings.

And Thomas again gobbled up stats: She was one basket vs. Atlanta and one rebound vs. Dallas from triple-doubles in both those games. Sunday, she had her 14th career game with 10 rebounds and 10 assists — 10 more than any other WNBA player in history.

Thomas is the only WNBA player ever with 25 assists and 20 rebounds in a two-game span.

Bonner, the Sun’s top scorer at 19.0 PPG, keeps piling up points: She now has 7,033 in her career, fifth in WNBA history. Thomas keeps being the WNBA’s biggest unicorn with her success as a playmaking forward (13.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 9.0 APG). And Jones’ comeback from an Achilles injury that cut short last season has been just what Connecticut hoped (13.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 62.2 FG%).

Fellow starters DiJonai Carrington (12.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG) and Tyasha Harris (10.3 PPG, 3.3 APG) are also having the best seasons of their WNBA careers.

Defense has been a Connecticut staple for a long time — which has a lot to do with Thomas’ decade-plus with the Sun — and again the Sun lead the league in scoring defense (70.6 PPG) and are best in the WNBA in defensive rating (89.1) and net rating (13.3).

In a season in which rookies are one of the WNBA’s biggest storylines, the Sun don’t have any. Instead, they have a lot of experience and cohesion.

“This is a veteran group that is incredibly competitive,” Sun coach Stephanie White said. “We’ve been able to win some close games, but we’re nowhere near where we need to be in terms of how we’re playing. This is a very in-the-present, task-motivated group.”

Previous rankings: Preseason | May 20 | May 27

conn

Previous ranking: 1sw ye 40

This week: vs. WAS (June 4), vs. NY (June 8)

Commissioner’s Cup play opened Saturday and will continue through June 13. The Sun are trying to make the final in the WNBA’s in-season competition for the second time. They lost to Seattle in the Cup’s 2021 championship game. With their win at Atlanta on Sunday, they are 1-0 in Cup play. Saturday’s showdown vs. the Liberty — the team that beat the Sun in the WNBA semifinals last season — is on ABC and should be a blockbuster.


min

Previous ranking: 2sw ye 40

This week: @ LA (June 5), @ PHO (June 6), vs. SEA (June 9)

Coach Cheryl Reeve said this might be the first time the Lynx are well positioned to advance to the Commissioner’s Cup final. This season, the format has changed to five games instead of 10, and they’re all played within a two-week span. It won’t be easy with three of the Lynx’s Cup games on the road, including at Las Vegas. But Minnesota is off to a strong start. Last week the Lynx fell at home to the Aces, but then won by double digits over Phoenix and Dallas. Napheesa Collier (21.4 PPG, 11.3 RPG) is high in the MVP race, and the Lynx lead the league in field goal percentage (45.9%), 3-point percentage (38.6%) and assists (24.0 per game).


ny

Previous ranking: 6gn arrow

This week: @ CHI (June 4), @ ATL (June 6), @ CON (June 8), vs. WAS (June 9)

It was a strong bounce-back week as the Liberty went 3-0, with victories over Phoenix, Washington and Indiana. Sabrina Ionescu led New York in scoring twice and Betnijah Laney-Hamilton once. In Sunday’s 104-68 blowout of the Fever, the Liberty shot 57.6% from the field with 10 players scoring, five in double figures. The upcoming week will be busy, with three of four games on the road.


sea

Previous ranking: 7gn arrow

This week: vs. PHO (June 4), @ LV (June 7), @ MIN (June 9)

After losing three of their first four games, the Storm have won four in a row. Last week, those victories were on the road at Chicago and Indiana. Skylar Diggins-Smith had a combined 39 points and 12 assists while shooting 15 of 26 (57.7%). Ezi Magbegor had a combined nine blocked shots and is leading the WNBA with 3.0 blocks per game.


lv

Previous: 3rd arrow

This week: @ DAL (June 5), vs. SEA (June 7), @ LA (June 9)

The Aces lost just six games all last season, but already have two defeats in 2024. One came this past week at Atlanta, 78-74, a game in which the normally stoic Jackie Young got a rare technical foul after an exchange with Atlanta’s Aerial Powers, who also was T’ed up. It was that kind of odd night for the Aces, who gave up a 9-2 fourth-quarter run to Atlanta. Still, Las Vegas also got a double-digit win at Minnesota last week. And A’ja Wilson remains on a tear for the Aces: She had a combined 57 points, 24 rebounds, 8 blocks and 6 assists in the two games.


atl

Previous ranking: 9rd arrow

This week: vs. NY (June 6), @ CHI (June 8)

The Dream went 2-1, which included holding Las Vegas to a season-low 36.2% shooting from the field. Allisha Gray had a career-high six 3-pointers in the victory. Atlanta also beat Washington last week, but fell to Connecticut 69-50, by far the Dream’s lowest point total of the season. Tina Charles was the bright spot vs. the Sun, with her fourth double-double of the season (12 points, 12 rebounds). Despite Sunday’s loss to Connecticut, it was a good week overall for the Dream.


dal

Previous ranking: 4rd arrow

This week: vs. LV (June 5), @ LA (June 7), vs. PHO (June 9)

It was a frustrating week for the Wings, losing by two at Connecticut and by 11 at Minnesota, but there are some positives. The Sun and Lynx are the top two teams in the Power Rankings, so those weren’t bad losses. And they were the last two of five consecutive road games for Dallas. The Wings play four of their next five at home. Arike Ogunbowale had 42 points and 13 assists in the two losses, and still leads the league in scoring (26.6 PPG).


Previous ranking: 5rd arrow

This week: @ SEA (June 4), vs. MIN (June 7), @ DAL (June 9)

The Mercury had three road losses but ended with a win at home Sunday. Phoenix started the week with a dreadful 70-47 loss at Connecticut in which the Mercury were a WNBA-historically bad 1 of 27 from 3-point range and also shot a franchise-worst 23.8% overall. That was followed by a tight 81-78 loss at New York, but then a 95-71 blowout at Minnesota. However, then Phoenix got its own blowout win vs. Los Angeles, 87-68, in which Diana Taurasi had a season-high 31 points. It was the third game of 30 or more points for Taurasi since turning 40; she will be 42 on June 11.


chi

Previous ranking: 8rd arrow

This week: vs. NY (June 4), vs. WAS (June 6), vs. ATL (June 8)

The Sky lost to Seattle and defeated Los Angeles to start last week. Then came a 71-70 loss Saturday at Indiana, after which Angel Reese was fined $1,000 and the Sky $5,000 for violating the league’s media policy, and Chennedy Carter’s shoulder-check of Caitlin Clark before an inbounds pass was upgraded to a flagrant foul 1. Carter didn’t answer questions about the incident after the game, then stirred the pot on social media. All that aside, Carter is off to a good start in her first season with Chicago, averaging 12.0 PPG. And the best news of the week for the Sky was the return of No. 3 draft pick Kamilla Cardoso, who was injured in the preseason; she had 11 points and 6 rebounds against the Fever.


la

Previous ranking: 11rd arrow

This week: vs. MIN (June 5), vs. DAL (June 7), vs. LV (June 9)

The Sparks got a big boost from their guard play in a victory at Indiana on Tuesday, but the guards struggled shooting in subsequent losses at Chicago and Phoenix. Forward Dearica Hamby, who had 64 points and 27 rebounds in the three games, has been Los Angeles’ most consistent performer. The Sparks are back at home for three games this week, but after that they have seven in a row on the road.


ind

Previous ranking: 10rd arrow

This week: @ WAS (June 7)

Last week, the Fever lost home games to Los Angeles and Seattle, then beat Chicago at home before being run out of the building by the Liberty at New York on Sunday. All told, Indiana has played 11 games, the most of any WNBA team, in 20 days — which has taken a toll. With just one game this week, the Fever should get a little rest and some practice time. Indiana is missing leadership and energy from forward Temi Fagbenle, who suffered a foot injury Tuesday vs. the Sparks and is expected to be out two to three weeks.


wsh

Previous ranking: 12sw ye 40

This week: @ CON (June 4), vs. CHI (June 6), vs. IND (June 7), @ NY (June 9)

On the positive side, the Mystics have been completely out of just one game — a 32-point loss at Seattle on May 25. This past week, Washington lost by six to Atlanta and by 11 to New York — and the Liberty led by just 3 with under 3 minutes left before pulling away. Nonetheless, the Mystics are still winless. Games against the Sky and Fever at home this week perhaps could get Washington in the win column.





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