WNBA

2021 WNBA Power Rankings: Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces battle at the top

It's been seven full weeks, so we're near the halfway point of the WNBA's historic 25th season.

With the Olympics Games fast approaching, now is a good time to take stock of every team's performance so far.

The top of the standings is shared between the Seattle Storm and the Las Vegas Aces, two teams in the Western Conference that both hold a record of 14-4. They have already played their three matchups for the season, with the Aces holding a 2-1 edge, including a thrilling 97-92 overtime win in their most recent game on Jun. 27.

At 12-6, the Connecticut Sun are the best team in the East and rank third overall. The Minnesota Lynx (9-7) and Chicago Sky (10-9) round up the league's top five.

MORE: Rosters for the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game

Without further ado, here's a quick look at the fourth edition of the 2021 WNBA Power Rankings, which we carry out every two weeks.

12. Indiana Fever (2-16)

Indiana's losing streak is over. A 73-67 win over the Suns put an end to their 12-game losing streak. The key players in the win were Danielle Robinson (19 points) and Teaira McCowan (12 points, 12 rebounds), bringing some much-needed offence for the franchise, who have failed to score upwards of 80 points since May 23.

Before the break, Indiana plays two more games - one against the New York Liberty while the other is against the Atlanta Dream.

11. Los Angeles Sparks (6-11)

With the Ogwumike sisters still sidelined with injury, the Sparks continue to fall in the WNBA standings and the Power Rankings.

Coached by Derek Fisher, the team has suffered defeats in six of their last seven games. Although they gave a tough fight to the Aces and Storm recently, they need to start winning to make more of this season.

In the absence of Chiney or Nneka, Erica Wheeler has taken responsibility for the team's offence, which currently ranks last in the league, but she is not being entirely efficient.

The Sparks face Seattle and Minnesota before the break.

10. Atlanta Dream (6-11)

Their win last week over the Liberty was just a blip on the radar. Feeling the loss of Tiffany Hayes and the regression of Chennedy Carter, the Dream have just won twice since the beginning of June.

With almost half the season remaining, the road to the playoffs is still open but they need to find a better balance between their offence and defence while also improving their effort on the boards, where they rank 11th out of 12 teams for total rebounds.

The Dream also have a couple more games before the break, facing Connecticut and Indiana.

9. Washington Mystics (7-10)

If there was a belief that this team was turning a corner after their win against the Storm two weeks ago, that was a wrong intuition. While Tina Charles has been fabulous, leading the league with her 25.8 points per game average, including six straight games of 25 or more, the Mystics have not fared so well - they have lost four consecutive and are currently outside the playoff spots.

Ariel Atkins is experiencing a slump since her inclusion in the USA's Olympic squad. Injuries have impacted the team as well, as they have not been able to depend on the likes of Elena Delle Donne, Alysha Clark, Myisha Hines-Allen and Natasha Cloud.

The Mystics have just one game before the break, on July 10 against the Chicago Sky.

8. Phoenix Mercury (7-9)

Diana Taurasi returned and did it in a big way, recording 25 points and three assists in a 88-79 win against the Sparks. However, she couldn't maintain the same level in the next game, as she scored 11 points in the Mercury's 99-68 loss to the Lynx.

Phoenix needs Taurasi to step up and Kia Nurse to improve her standard of play if they hope to make a run for the playoffs.

Before the break, the Mercury face the league's top two teams in Minnesota and Seattle.

7. New York Liberty (9-9)

Betnijah Laney continues to put out stellar numbers but the inconsistency of Sabrina Ionescu and Sami Whitcomb combined with the losses of Rebecca Allen and Natasha Howard have kept the Liberty's record near .500.

Few highlights for the team so far have been Whitcomb's 30-point game against the Dream and rookie Michaela Onyewere's average of 14.5 points in the last four games. The UCLA forward is positioning herself as a great candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.

The Liberty have three games before the break, with games against Dallas, Indiana and Connecticut.

6. Dallas Wings (9-9)

Its last victory against Chicago demonstrated what Dallas is capable of when its defence is strong and Marina Mabrey or Arike Ogunbowale gain confidence near the basket. In this case, it was Mabrey with eight points in just over a minute at the end of the game to seal it.

Additionally, Allisha Gray seems to be in some rhythm, averaging 20 points and five rebounds in the last four games, which earned her a spot in the starting lineup ahead of Charli Collier, the No. 1 pick of the 2021 WNBA Draft.

Prior to the break, Dallas will play New York, Minnesota and Las Vegas.

5. Chicago Sky (10-9)

The Sky have suffered a few defeats, falling to Connecticut in a horrible game from beyond the arc (5-24 3PT) and to Dallas because they couldn't contain Marina Mabrey and Allisha Gray in the fourth quarter, allowing the Texans 100 points.

Yet they remain a serious team, with Candace Parker's superstar flashes on offence and defence, Kahleah Copper and Allie Quigley's consistency and another All-Star season from Courtney Vandersloot.

The Sky have just one game before the break, and it's against the Mystics on July 10.

4. Minnesota Lynx (9-7)

Since our last Power Rankings, the Lynx have gone undefeated with wins against Atlanta, Las Vegas and two against Phoenix.

Napheesa Collier is playing at a tremendous level, prior to what will be her Olympic debut. Meanwhile, Layshia Clarendon, Kayla McBride, Collier, Sylvia Fowles and Damaris Dantas are establishing themselves as one of the best quintets in the league.

The Lynx have three games remaining before the break against Dallas, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

3. Connecticut Sun (12-6)

Jonquel Jones returned from Europe and had an immediate impact. She finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and four assists in a 90-71 win against Mystics, then she finished with 19 points and four assists to beat Fever, 86-80.

However, even the 27-year-old couldn't stop the Fever's stunning upset the second time around. In the first matchup against Indiana, Brionna Jones had herself a game with 34 points and seven rebounds.

Before the break, Connecticut faces Atlanta and New York.

2. Seattle Storm (14-4)

The losses against Washington but especially the one against Las Vegas cost Seattle the top spot. They rebounded from those losses with wins over the Dream and the Sparks, the second of which came without Jewell Loyd (ankle injury).

The inconsistency of Katie Lou Samuelson is at times a problem for Seattle, in addition to certain defensive flaws that Las Vegas does not present. Sue Bird scored 13 points against the Sparks and reached 6,464 for her career, beating Katie Smith to rank sixth in the WNBA's all-time scoring charts.

The Storm will face Phoenix twice and also play Los Angeles before the break.

1. Las Vegas Aces (14-4)

A huge moment for the Aces, who are looking more and more like the powerhouse that was expected on both ends of the floor. They've won nine of their last 10 with their lone loss coming just by the one point against the Lynx.

They have the league's best offensive (109.8) and defensive (95.9) rating. Just a few days prior, they also showed that they can win ugly by defeating the Sparks by a final score of 66-58.

Was that game an indicator of their problems on offence? No way. The next game they scored 118 points against Dream, setting a new franchise point record. Kelsey Plum scored 23 points off the bench, showing the Aces have a lot of potential with their second unit.

The Aces also have to play three more games against Phoenix, Minnesota and Dallas.

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