WNBA

2021 WNBA Power Rankings: Defending champions Seattle Storm are back at the top

The 25th season of the WNBA continues to move forward.

It's been five full weeks since the season tipped-off and only a month remains until the Olympic break, by when every team would have played one-third of their regular season schedule.

The Seattle Storm are at the top of the standings with their 12-2 record and hold a good lead over the rest of the league. The Las Vegas Aces are right behind them at 10-3 and the Connecticut Sun, who were once at the top, are now third at 8-5 with the departure of Jonquel Jones to Europe.

Three other teams have a record of .500 or better in the Washington Mystics, Chicago Sky and the New York Liberty while only one team, the Indiana Fever, has won fewer than 40 percent of their games. This season has been really competitive and at the moment, there is little difference between directly qualifying to the Second Round and being left out of the playoffs.

MORE: Roster for U.S Women's Basketball Team for Tokyo

Below, find the third edition of our WNBA Power Rankings, which we will carry out every two weeks.

12. Indiana Fever (1-14)

At the moment, the Fever are having the worst season in WNBA history. They are still 10 games away from the Tulsa Shock's record for most consecutive losses, a team that failed to win 10 percent of its games, but Indiana's .067 win percentage up to this point is worse.

They came close to winning on Saturday in Washington but lost 82-77 after going into the fourth quarter tied.

Indiana has three home games over the next two weeks: one against Dallas and two against Connecticut.

11. Atlanta Dream (5-7)

Atlanta has won just one of its previous six games, losing close ones in Minnesota and Washington, and that's why they are 11th in the Power Rankings but it's not very different from the teams right above.

To top it off, their first-half schedule has been difficult and despite what Courtney Williams and Tiffany Hayes are doing, they team lacks an inside presence.

In the next 14 days, Atlanta will face New York twice and will also play against Seattle, Las Vegas and New York.

10. Los Angeles Sparks (5-7)

Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike have yet to return to the court and Los Angeles needs its star duo, as it has lost four of its last five, scoring just 71.8 points per game while giving up 76. Yes, they beat Phoenix behind a double-double by Erica Wheeler, but two days later, they committed 12 turnovers and shot 23-of-60 from the field in a loss to the same Mercury team by 14 points.

Los Angeles is not a confidence-inspiring team at the moment but they'll need confidence for what's coming next, otherwise, they might remain last in the West.

Over the next two weeks, Los Angeles will play against Seattle twice and face Las Vegas, Washington and Phoenix once.

9. Dallas Wings (6-7)

The revelation of the WNBA's 2021 season so far has been Marina Mabrey. Averaging 15.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals alongside Arike Ogunbowale in a backcourt that also worked well at Notre Dame.

Ogunbowale, last year's scoring champion, is in the top 5 this season with her average of 20.5 points per game. The duo has proved to be dangerous and among the best combos in the league, but Dallas needs more on defence to prov that it's a playoff contender.

In the next two weeks, Dallas will play Chicago twice as well as Connecticut, Indiana and Washington.

8. Minnesota Lynx (5-7)

Inconsistency has hurt the Lynx. They have not been reliable defensively, evidenced by their giving up 105 points to Chicago and 95 points to Dallas after having limited Los Angeles to 64.

Layshia Clarendon has stepped up temporarily and everything indicates that they will remain as a replacement for other injured players, such as Aerial Powers, but the trio of Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride and Sylvia Fowles can provide more than they have shown so far.

Minnesota's schedule pits them against Phoenix twice, Las Vegas and Atlanta over the next two weeks.

7. Phoenix Mercury (6-7)

Although the play of Skylar Diggins-Smith (19.2 points, 5.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds on average) has merited her call for Team USA and inclusion in the MVP talk, the season for the Mercury has been slightly disappointing.

They are playing without Diana Taurasi, who is still injured, but the team must find some rhythm on both ends of the floor. They recently lost four straight, a streak they snapped in a win at Los Angeles (80-66).

Phoenix will play twice against Minnesota and will also face Los Angeles over the next two weeks.

6. Washington Mystics (6-6)

Natasha Cloud is injured, which is bad news for the Mystics, who still don't know if and when Elena Delle Donne will play again. Having said that, Washington continues marching along with Tina Charles and Ariel Atkins, two players that will go to the Olympic Games.

While Charles is averaging 24.5 points and 9.0 rebounds, Atkins is putting up 19 points on 45.2 percent 3-point shooting efficiency. They have recently recorded important victories against Minnesota and Los Angeles.

In the next two weeks, Washington will play against Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, Connecticut and New York.

5. Chicago Sky (7-7)

Great news from the previous stretch? The recovery of Candace Parker. Her return seems to have raised the spirit and level of Sky's play. They have won half of their games this season, including five straight - all since the return of Parker, who's entered the rotation for Astou N'Dour, who is with the Spanish National Team.

Courtney Vandersloot has been a sensation in their five most recent victories, averaging 12.8 points and 9.6 assists

Over the next two weeks, Chicago will face New York and Dallas twice and will also visit Connecticut. They only have one home game left before the break: July 10 against Washington.

4. New York Liberty (7-6)

Sabrina Ionescu missed two games with ankle soreness, but in her absence, Betnijah Laney came close to a triple-double against the Phoenix Mercury to lead the Liberty.

Last Sunday, with Ionescus coming off the bench, Aussie Rebecca Allen was the X-factor with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks in a close victory in Los Angeles. New York needs to continue adjusting defensively and could expect Natasha Howard to be the solution when she is available again.

New York will play twice against Chicago and Atlanta and will also host the Washington Mystics over the next two weeks.

3. Connecticut Sun (8-5)

In the last edition of the Power Rankings, we wondered what would happen to the Sun with Jonquel Jones leaving for Europe to don the colors of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurobasket. Jones is receiving some MVP love as the Balkan country is doing well with the team having already surpassed Turkey, Belgium and Croatia to advance to the semifinal.

The same can't be said for Connecticut, though as they fell to Seattle 89-66 and then twice to Chicago. Coached by Curt Miller, the Sun depend on the production of DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones, who have yet to a step forward.

Luckily for Connecticut, it should continue having a winning record until Jones returns.

In the next two weeks, Connecticut will face Indiana Fever twice and Chicago, Dallas and Washington.

2. Las Vegas Aces (10-3)

Las Vegas has won five in a row, defeating New York Liberty twice, Dallas Wings and the Washington Mystics. The aces have averaged 85.0 points per game in these recent wins and so far, have only lost to Seattle and Connecticut.

Despite attempting plenty of triples, the Aces lead the league in field goal efficiency (48.2 percent). They are among the best at moving and take care of the ball, and Liz Cambage seems to be getting better at protecting the rim.

Keep your eye on Kelsey Plum, who seems to have made a statement since her return from national 3x3 duties, scoring 32 points on June 15 against the Liberty.

Las Vegas' schedule over the next two weeks includes a meeting with Los Angeles twice and it will also take on Minnesota, Seattle and Atlanta.

1. Seattle Storm (12-2)

Courtesy of their recent five-game win streak - all on the road - the Storm rise to the top, despite the fact that none of their recent opponents provided any tough contests. Seattle's defensive numbers rose with these wins but its real test comes next Sunday when it faces Las Vegas, the team with which it split games at the beginning of the 2021 season.

Breanna Stewart continues to put out stellar numbers, averaging 21.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists on the season. Jewell Lloyd has earned her Team USA call-up with season averages of 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 37.5 percent from deep.

Youngsters like Jordin Canada and Katie Lou Samuelson have the potential to give more, and Mercedes Russell will be tested against the Aces.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.

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