WNBA Power Rankings: Rookie records, more A'ja milestones and a new No. 1


Rookies Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark rewrote record books. MVP front-runner A’ja Wilson hit another milestone. Upsets landed left and right. And the week also produced a change at No. 1 as the Connecticut Sun moved back to the top spot of ESPN’s WNBA Power Rankings for the first time since early June.

Every WNBA team won at least one game last week except the struggling Atlanta Dream. The WNBA race feels as wide open as ever. The two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces seem back on track, but they have plenty of competition — including the Sun and the New York Liberty, both of whom are chasing their franchise’s first WNBA title, and the Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm, programs that are both seeking their fifth title.

As Storm forward Nneka Ogwumike said, “I’ve played in many seasons, and there’s been seasons like this, where anybody can beat anybody. It’s not particularly surprising for me, but it definitely makes for the best seasons. And I think it’s a reason why everyone should be watching.”

On the rookie front, the Chicago Sky’s Reese set the WNBA record for consecutive double-doubles (13) on Sunday and also had her season high in scoring (27 points) Friday. On Saturday, the Indiana Fever’s Clark became the first rookie in league history to get a triple-double as the Fever upset the first-place Liberty.

It wasn’t the only eyebrow-raising result: Chicago won one of its two games at Seattle and the Los Angeles Sparks beat Las Vegas. Like Ogwumike said: There are outcomes that surprise us, but nothing that shocks us. There is just far too much talent leaguewide for any team to be counted out game-to-game.

That said, one player continues to dominate MVP talk: Las Vegas’ Wilson, who became the franchise’s all-time scoring leader (with 4,301 points) Sunday. The Aces are in their seventh season in Las Vegas. Before that, the franchise was in San Antonio for 15 seasons and Utah for six. It was one of the original WNBA franchises in 1997 in Salt Lake City.

Thanks to owner Mark Davis and his management team, the Aces have done as well as any franchise in any professional sport in connecting its separate histories. Players from the Utah Starzz and San Antonio (Silver) Stars are invited to Las Vegas for alumni days. Sophia Young-Malcolm (San Antonio, 2006-15), the player Wilson passed for the scoring mark, was at Michelob Ultra Arena on Sunday along with several other franchise alums.

They were on hand for another standout Wilson performance: 28 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks in a 104-85 win over the Dallas Wings. While some things have been unpredictable in the WNBA this season, Wilson has been money every game. She is averaging 27.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 blocks.

“This city welcomed me in 2018,” Wilson said. “I’m grateful to be here. I have to always give it to the ones that laid down the foundation before me. Thanks for passing that torch. We’re going to keep passing it.”

Previous rankings: Preseason | May 20 | May 27 | June 3 | June 10 | June 17 | June 24 | July 1

conn

Previous ranking: 5gn arrow

This week: vs. NY (July 10), vs. PHO (July 14)

A 3-0 week did the trick for the Sun to jump back to No. 1. They won at Phoenix and at Minnesota, then beat Atlanta at home. DeWanna Bonner, in her 15th WNBA season, had a career-high seven 3-pointers Sunday. Almost every team has at least one “odd” defeat this season, and for the Sun it’s a 78-74 loss to the Dream on June 28. But that’s their only unexpected slip.


ny

Previous ranking: 2sw ye 40

This week: @ CON (July 10), vs. CHI (July 11), @ CHI (July 13)

The Liberty were poised to move back to the Power Rankings’ top spot after beating Minnesota on Tuesday. But then they lost a fourth-quarter lead and the game at Indiana on Saturday. The Liberty were 10-of-42 from 3-point range and were outrebounded by 10 — which indicates they weren’t working the ball inside enough to Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones.


lv

Previous: 3sw ye 40

This week: @ SEA (July 10), @ATL (July 12), @WAS (July 14)

The Aces beat Indiana, Washington and Dallas in Las Vegas, but they fell at Los Angeles. On paper, that’s not a good loss considering the Sparks are 5-16 and in 10th place in the standings. But it was the second game of a back-to-back, and on the road. It also went to overtime, so the Aces get a little bit of leeway. It’s their only loss in the past eight games, and they bounced back to score a season-high 104 points Sunday vs. the Wings.


min

Previous ranking: 1rd arrow

This week: @ LA (July 9), @SEA (July 12), vs. IND (July 14)

The Lynx went 1-2 last week, but the losses weren’t their biggest concern. After falling at New York on Tuesday, star forward Napheesa Collier limped off the court in a loss to Connecticut on Thursday. She is dealing with plantar fasciitis, and Minnesota will have to weigh playing her in the next four games vs. resting her for the Olympics and the remainder of the season. Without Collier, the Lynx beat the Mystics on Saturday.


sea

Previous ranking: 4rd arrow

This week: vs. LV (July 10), vs. MIN (July 12), vs. ATL (July 14)

Seattle drops a spot after five weeks at No. 4, but the Storm are solidly in the top five — a quintet that has separated itself from the other seven teams. Seattle went 2-1 last week, beating Dallas and splitting with Chicago. This week ends a nine-game homestand, and it has been a good stretch for the Storm, who have started to jell as expected.


ind

Previous ranking: 6sw ye 40

This week: vs. WAS (July 10), vs. PHO (July 12) @MIN (July 14)

The Fever hung with the Aces until the fourth quarter Tuesday, then fell 88-69 before 20,000-plus at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Back home Saturday before a sellout crowd at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the Fever got their most impressive win so far, 83-78 over a Liberty team that had already beaten them three times this season. Clark’s triple-double: 19 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds. This week brings Indiana’s first 2024 matchup with the Lynx, the team closest to Clark’s hometown of West Des Moines, Iowa.


Previous ranking: 7sw ye 40

This week: vs. DAL (July 10), @ IND (July 12), @ CON (July 14)

Phoenix lost at home to Connecticut, then won on the road at Dallas and Los Angeles to stay put in the Power Rankings. With Diana Taurasi missing two games — resting last Monday and with a leg injury Sunday — Kahleah Copper (combined 80 points, 17 rebounds for the three games) and Natasha Cloud (60 points, 15 rebounds, 25 assists) carried the Mercury.


chi

Previous ranking: 9gn arrow

This week: vs. ATL (July 10), @NY (July 11), vs. NY (July 13)

It was a good week for the Sky, winning at Atlanta and splitting games at Seattle. As impressive as Reese’s 13-game double-double streak is, guard Chennedy Carter has been on a scoring tear. She had a combined 80 points in the three games last week and twice shot over 60%. The Sky’s home game Saturday vs. the Liberty should draw a big audience on ABC.


wsh

Previous ranking: 10gn arrow

This week: @ IND (July 10), vs. LV (July 14)

The Mystics went 1-2 on the road last week, winning at Los Angeles and losing at Las Vegas and Minnesota. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad week for a team that is 5-5 after starting 0-12. Guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led the Mystics in scoring off the bench in all three games, totaling 51 points.


dal

Previous ranking: 11gn arrow

This week: @ PHO (July 10), vs. LA (July 13)

It was another rough week for the Wings, but they got one victory — vs. Atlanta on Friday. But they also lost to Seattle, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Other players besides All-Star guard Arike Ogunbowale are stepping up for Dallas — forward Natasha Howard and guard Odyssey Sims, especially — but wins continue to be hard to come by this season.


atl

Previous ranking: 8rd arrow

This week: @ CHI (July 10), vs. LV (July 12), @ SEA (July 14)

The Dream are ahead of Washington and Dallas in the WNBA standings, but they are barely staying out of the cellar in the Power Rankings. Atlanta went 0-3 last week and has lost seven of its last eight. Rhyne Howard has been out since June 19 with an ankle injury. At this point, it’s unclear if her appearance in the Paris Olympics 3×3 tournament is in jeopardy. Fellow guard Jordin Canada missed the first 14 games of the season with a hand injury, came back for four games, and is out again with a broken finger.


la

Previous ranking: 12sw ye 40

This week: vs. MIN (July 9), @ DAL (July 13)

The Sparks got a big win — beating Las Vegas in overtime on Friday — and good news on the personnel front as forward Azurá Stevens (arm injury) made her first appearance of the season Sunday. She played 26 minutes and had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a loss to Phoenix. That’s all enough to have the Sparks breathing down Atlanta’s neck to move out of last place in the Power Rankings. We’ll see if they can do it before All-Star/Olympic break.



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