Winsidr Power Rankings: Volume 2

Welcome to the second regular season edition of the Winsidr Power Rankings! The current standings fall into three categories: at the top, teams are starting to separate; in the middle, a bunch linger around .500; and, at the bottom, five teams scramble for one playoff spot. If you want to compare where teams were last time, head over to Volume 1 after this!

If this is your first time reading our rankings, welcome; if it’s not, welcome back! As a refresher for how this works, we do this somewhat differently from other sites. While the words are mine, the rankings themselves are aggregated by our entire staff. You’re not just reading my takes, but the averages of where the entire Winsidr staff believes the teams shake out. Throughout the season, we will periodically poll our staff to compare each team’s standing with how they’ve performed since our most recent check-in.

For this edition, a special shoutout to Dani Bar-Lavi, who came in the clutch and helped with several of these writeups! Okay, let’s get after it.


12. Seattle Storm (1-6, No. 11 last rankings)

Jewell Loyd is working hard for the Storm, leading the W with 26.0 points per game (PPG) despite seeing more attention than just about anyone else in the league. The Storm forced a split with the Los Angeles Sparks (a theme you’ll notice throughout this edition), overcoming an early 21-point deficit to steal the win. They nearly did the same to the Washington Mystics, battling back to within three after falling behind by 28 early. Rookie Jordan Horston has flashed her potential, and Ezi Magbegor continues to grow. What’s holding this team back, though, is finding a consistent second option for Loyd. Just 1-4 since our last rankings, they drop to the final spot.


11. Minnesota Lynx (2-7, No. 12 last rankings)

The Lynx have been playing much better ball lately, winning two of three: finishing Sunday’s game with a 19-3 run to complete an impressive comeback over the Sparks, and beating the Mystics earlier in the week. Their three losses over this stretch came by just 12 total points. Look for them to climb if they keep playing like this. Their main catalyst, of course: it’s looking like a career year for Napheesa Collier. Her 20.2 PPG are good for seventh in the W, her 1.8 steals per game (SPG) crack the top five, and her 7.1 rebounds per game (RPG) are the highest since her sophomore campaign. It’s great to see her back to 100 percent, and good things are coming with her playing this well.


10. Phoenix Mercury (2-5, No. 9 last rankings)

I’m sure it’ll continue to be the case, but it’s still hard to fathom just how well Brittney Griner is playing this season. And you know what—we should appreciate every effort, every BG box score, especially after everything she’s been through. So, yeah, I’m hereby giving myself permission to remain in awe of Griner’s game. As a team, though, the Merc have struggled out of the gate. Despite finishing the week out with a nice comeback win over the Fever, depth beyond BG is an issue. Every other rotation player is a net-negative in +/- (which makes Griner’s +1.0 even more impressive); they’ll need to find ways to help her if Phoenix is to climb in the rankings.


9. Indiana Fever (2-6, No. 10 last rankings)

The Fever are rising! Revitalized by the youth movement fully on display, Indiana has grown to be a tough out any given night. If not for three narrow losses to the Las Vegas Aces (Indy had them on the ropes, up double digits in the fourth), Chicago Sky (lost in overtime after non-stop action in the fourth led to a game-tying bucket from Alanna Smith), and Mercury (fumbled away an eight-point lead after three), they would have shot up even higher. They did eke out a two-point win over the Lynx, meaning they went 1-3 in a four-game stretch separated by just 14 total points. Aliyah Boston has somehow been better than advertised. It’s not like she’s no longer seeing double- and triple-teams—she still is, even as a pro—but despite it all, she’s putting up one of the most efficient starts to a career we’ve ever seen. And she’s a big reason why the Fever’s average attendance has climbed more than 300 percent from last season.


8. Atlanta Dream (2-5, No. 8 last rankings)

The Dream are dripping with potential. They’re such a FUN team to watch, as correctly noted by Owen Pence. Right now, though, the injury bug is biting them hard. They’ve lost so much depth at the 1 with both Danielle Robinson and Aari McDonald on the shelf, and it happened as they hit the gauntlet of games against the Aces, New York Liberty, and Connecticut Sun. Still, there are positives to be found! No sophomore slump for Rhyne Howard, Cheyenne Parker’s playing her best ball since arriving in Atlanta, and Allisha Gray continues to play downhill. This team plays hard, this team plays fast…hopefully, this is rock bottom, and they’re climbing soon.


7. Los Angeles Sparks (4-4, No. 7 last rankings)

The Sparks might be the most confounding team in the W right now. It’s hard to know what you’re getting night to night: they could beat anyone, or they could lose to anyone. It makes sense, then, that they’re sitting at 4-4. Just as they were finally getting healthy—Azurá Stevens and Jasmine Thomas are back!—Layshia Clarendon suffered a gruesome looking foot injury that will sideline them for 4-6 weeks. For some positives, Lexie Brown continues to play really well, Nneka Ogwumike is still looking like an MVP (fifth in both PPG and RPG), and Dearica Hamby is getting more and more comfortable with each passing game. Fingers crossed that sustained success is on the horizon!


6. Chicago Sky (5-5, No. 5 last rankings)

For these next three write-ups, I turned to Dani Bar-Lavi: “The Chicago Sky have gone 2-3 thus far in the month of June, though two of those three losses came against the Liberty and Aces, two of our three top-ranked teams. Notably, the Sky were able to steal a road win against the Liberty during a home-and-home, led by 27 points from Kahleah Copper. Copper seems to be rounding into superstar form for the Sky, with three straight outings of 20 or more points to open the month of June. Marina Mabrey has also shown flashes of the star production some thought she may boast with an expanded role on the Sky, scoring a season-high 28 points in an overtime win against the Fever. With Kah and Mabrey stepping up, Smith continuing to make a strong case for most improved player (three outings with 18+ points in June), and Courtney Williams continuing to make strides as a playmaker (five assists per game [APG] in June), you begin to see how this Sky team can sustain success over the season and into the playoffs.”


5. Dallas Wings (5-4, No. 6 last rankings)

More from Dani! “The Dallas Wings have gone 3-3 since our last power rankings, with a win against the Lynx, and two against the Mercury. These wins are all well and good, but I’m almost more impressed by some of their losses during this period. The Wings brought the Mystics down to the wire, losing by one point and hanging around all game, almost taking the whole thing after a massive 27-19 third that demonstrated this teams’ ability to make adjustments and come out swinging out of the half. The Wings also lost to the Sun by six points back on June 4, not quite as slim a margin as they had with Washington but still notable because star guard Arike Ogunbowale had one of the worst shooting nights of her career—3-of-16 from the floor and missing all six from deep to score just eight points. Give Arike just slightly better shooting variance, and this game is an upset for the Wings against one of the better teams in the WNBA. In previous seasons, Arike shooting this poorly would spell a 20-point blowout against a team like the Sun. Latricia Trammell is the first Wings head coach of this era to find ways to stay competitive in games where Arike cannot find her shot. A huge part of this comes from Trammel continuing to empower Satou Sabally’s fourth season superstar breakout. Sabally has emerged as option 1b for the Wings next to Ogunbowale, averaging 21.2 PPG and 11.2 RPG, both career-highs by a shocking margin.”


See Also

4. Washington Mystics (5-3, No. 4 last rankings)

Even more from Dani! “The Mystics have only played four games since we released our last power rankings, going 3-1 thus far during the month of June. Despite this, the Mystics continue to fall short of the expectations many had for them, which is reflected well in their record against betting spreads this month: 1-3. In the past two weeks, the Mystics narrowly avoided losing to the Wings in a one-point victory, lost outright to the Lynx, and failed to beat a Storm team missing Jewell Loyd by a significant margin. Universally touted in preseason as the only serious contender to Las Vegas and New York, the Mystics have fallen well short of that mark so far, only showing flashes of being that team in their season-opening win over the Liberty. It’s hard for me to not point out that the Mystics, with one possession victories over Dallas and Chicago, are just two missed shots away from having a losing record. The Mystics have a lot to work on both ends of the floor to re-enter the conversation as a true contender. Consider the gauntlet thrown down.”


3. New York Liberty (6-2, No. 2 last rankings)

The New York Liberty are still jelling, chemistry-wise, and have yet to put together a 40-minute effort. When you’ve got a starting five of former All-Stars, though, most nights you can afford to swallow some mistakes. Not always, though, as evidenced by the stunning loss to the Sky, who overcame a 19-point halftime deficit to hand New York its first loss at Barclays this season. Still, with about one-fifth of the season gone, individual performances have already made an impression. We talked in the last edition about Stewie’s franchise-setting 45-point outing; on Friday night, Sabrina Ionescu went to Atlanta and put on a 37-point show (breaking the team record with eight triples). Courtney Vandersloot is well clear of the rest of the league in APG (her 9.3 is two ahead of second-place Alyssa Thomas’ 7.3). Jonquel Jones is still working her way up, but looks more comfortable each game, even as she still hovers around the 20-minute mark, and Betnijah Laney continues to play All-W defense. It’s a work-in-progress, but early returns have been solid. Even as they figure it all out, they’re still second in the W in net rating.


2. Connecticut Sun (8-2, No. 3 last rankings)

The Connecticut Sun rise to two here, continuing their impressive start to the season. Their only two losses have come to Vegas and New York, but it’s their decisive win against the defending champs that sees them climb to the second spot. In that win, DeWanna Bonner was spectacular, putting up a career-high (and franchise record) 41 points. Alyssa Thomas threatens a triple-double every time she steps on the court, and Bri Jones holds down the paint (though she’s also found success stepping out with her jumper this year). Last year’s runners-up somehow look to be a more complete unit, with key additions like Tip Hayes, Bec Allen, and Ty Harris all bringing positive minutes.


1. Las Vegas Aces (8-1, No. 1 last rankings)

Although the Aces finally stumbled—losing the second half of a back-to-back against the Sun, and the last game of a long East Coast road trip—they retain the top spot in our Power Rankings. Both A’ja Wilson and Jackie Young, electric on both ends of the floor, continue to be early-season MVP candidates, and Alysha Clark has been a really solid addition off the bench (even if Becky Hammon still hasn’t extended past a seven-player rotation). Candace Parker has taken a little longer to acclimate than we’d anticipated, and Kelsey Plum is working through an early-season shooting slump, but the team’s still rolling.


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