Two big streaks ended Sunday, and now we have a new No. 1 in the WNBA Power Rankings.
The Seattle Storm were looking unstoppable, especially on the road, where they were unbeaten this season. But then came Sunday's trip to Las Vegas, where the Aces held court in overtime to dethrone the Storm, who had held the top spot since Week 5. Seattle, which had won seven consecutive road games, remains atop the WNBA standings, a half-game ahead of Las Vegas, which is 8-2 in its past 10 games.
The Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun aren't far behind. The Sun are holding their own during Jonquel Jones' absence, beating Chicago on Sunday to snap the Sky's seven-game winning streak. Jones, who has been competing at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket, is expected to return to Connecticut ahead of its next game Tuesday.
While the Aces, Storm, Sun and Sky continue to dominate -- they're the top four teams in these rankings for the second consecutive week -- teams like the young Dallas Wings are making pushes. But the Minnesota Lynx are the big riser this week, climbing five spots to No. 6.
As we stare down the end of June with the Olympic break about two weeks away, here's how things shape up in the Week 7 Power Rankings. And note: The next rankings won't come out until July 6.
1. Las Vegas Aces
Previous ranking: 2
It took overtime, but in beating the Storm on Sunday, the Aces proved they are squarely in the conversation for being the best team in the WNBA and coming in strong for the championship this season.
Liz Cambage (14.8.2 PPG, 9.1 RPG) scored just nine points, but five Aces were in double digits, including 22 points and 11 rebounds from A'ja Wilson. Chelsea Gray added 21 points and seven assists; 15 of her points came in the fourth quarter or extra period, including the eventual game winner and a second clutch shot in overtime.
The Aces lead the league in scoring (91.3 PPG) and rank second in rebounds (37.9), assists (20.7) and blocks per game (5.2).
Sunday's victory -- which included 15 points off the bench for Kelsey Plum -- proved just how ready the Aces are to win a championship. When one or two players have a bad game offensively, they'll still find ways to contribute with rebounds or blocks. And then other players step up. Grinding out an overtime win against the Storm is a big deal.
Now the Aces -- who are a half-game behind the Storm in the standings -- go on the road against a struggling Los Angeles team with a chance to further put distance between themselves and the rest of the league.
This week: @LA, @LA, ATL
2. Seattle Storm
Previous ranking: 1
Against any other team, 35 points and 11 rebounds from Breanna Stewart (21.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG) is likely enough for a win. But even that standout performance wasn't enough Sunday. After Seattle's overtime loss at Las Vegas, the Storm have dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Still, despite sliding one spot in the rankings, they remain one of the league's top teams. Seattle leads the WNBA in assists per game (22.9), ranks second in points (88.1) and third in rebounds (37.0).
The Storm's only room for concern is closing out games. Despite leading throughout most of Sunday's contest, including a seven-point advantage to start the fourth quarter, they allowed the Aces to storm back and force overtime.
This week: ATL, @LA
3. Connecticut Sun
Previous ranking: 3
The Sun played the Sky three times in 10 days, losing to them the first two times. Connecticut then broke a three-game losing streak with a commanding win over Dallas last Tuesday before putting together another one to upend Chicago on Sunday.
The Sun remain just 1½ games behind the league-leading Storm, are in third place in the standings and are just one of four teams above .500 through Sunday.
However, Connecticut's offense has slipped to 10th in the league with just 79.3 PPG. The Sun are still missing Jonquel Jones (21.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG) and her consistent shooting and rebounding abilities, but DeWanna Bonner (17.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.5 APG) has stepped up in her absence. Bonner dropped 25 and 23 points in the Sun's past two wins. Brionna Jones also has been a difference-maker, scoring 26 and 21 points in that pair of victories.
The defense came up big Sunday, holding the Sky, who were on a seven-game winning streak, to just 58 points, Chicago's lowest scoring output this season.
The Sun have a favorable schedule this week, even with all three games on the road. It will give them a chance to get back to consistency on both offense and defense.
This week: @WASH, @IND @IND
Candace Parker does it all on this possession
Candace Parker swats Michaela Onyenwere's layup attempt, then goes the other way and banks one in.
4. Chicago Sky
Previous ranking: 4
All good things come to an end. Connecticut snapped Chicago's seven-game winning streak Sunday. The loss to the Sun illustrated just how important Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot are to the Sky. Chicago was held to a season low in the 74-58 loss, with Parker scoring six and Vandersloot seven. The Sky entered the game 8-0 this season with Parker on the court.
Sunday's loss also exposed another Chicago weakness: ballhandling. The Sky average 16.2 giveaways per game, second most in the league. They had 18 turnovers against the Sun, who can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court.
Chicago now hits the road for two games at surging Dallas. Can the Sky bounce back? These back-to-back matchups might be two of the best games this week.
This week: @DAL, @DAL
5. Dallas Wings
Previous ranking: 7
The Wings are on a two-game winning streak and have won three of their last four games, bolstered by an offense that is averaging 89.7 PPG in those three victories. Overall, Dallas ranks third in the WNBA in scoring (84.6 PPG).
Arike Ogunbowale is doing it all for the Wings, averaging 20.3 points, 3.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. Dallas continues to rise up the rankings because of the guard's ability to not just score from anywhere on the court but to create opportunities for her teammates to score as well.
Ogunbowale is getting help from Allisha Gray (10.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG), Satou Sabally (13.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG) and Marina Mabrey (14.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG), who are all averaging double figures and proving that despite its youth -- Gray, in her fifth season, is the veteran of the quartet -- Dallas is a good team that should be taken seriously.
Sabally, (6.1 per game), Kayla Thornton (6.0) and Isabelle Harrison (5.8) are the team's top rebounders and a big reason Dallas leads the league on the glass at 37.9 RPG.
But right as things are looking up for the Wings, now comes a big test: They host the Sky twice this week. Can the Wings prove they are a threat to one of the top teams in the league? They're just 3-3 at home this season.
This week: CHI, CHI, @NY
Sylvia Fowles steps up in OT in the Lynx's win
Sylvia Fowles adds two buckets to her 30-point, 14-rebound night in Minnesota's overtime victory.
6. Minnesota Lynx
Previous ranking: 11
This time a week ago, Minnesota had lost three of its past five games. But the Lynx won both games this past week, including a 90-89 overtime victory Friday against the Aces.
After dropping four straight games to open the season, Minnesota is 7-3 in its past 10 contests, and that turnaround can be traced to Napheesa Collier, one of the best young players in the league. She's averaging a career-high 17.6 PPG, as well as 6.5 RPG and 3.3 APG in 11 games (she missed the first three contests of the season due to overseas commitments, plus COVID-19 protocols upon her return). In the overtime win against the Aces, Collier had 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Veteran center Sylvia Fowles (17.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 63.5% from field), who also came up huge against Las Vegas (30 points, 14 rebounds), has been posting up players all season and making tough buckets. The Lynx average 36.1 points in the paint -- which ranks third in the league -- because of gritty play from Fowles and Collier.
But cutting down on turnovers needs work. Minnesota averages 15.9 giveaways per game, third most in the league. The Lynx can't keep giving teams like the Aces more opportunities to score.
Minnesota is just 2-4 on the road and faces a tough week with two games in Phoenix, which is on a similar path of struggling but getting better. Can the Lynx finally move above .500 this week?
This week: @PHX, @PHX
7. New York Liberty
Previous ranking: 5
Betnijah Laney (19.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG) is unstoppable, most recently dropping 28 points, six assists and three rebounds against Atlanta in Saturday's win, which snapped a two-game skid. Even after taking a hard hit during Saturday's game, she went on to have her second-highest scoring performance of the season.
Laney isn't just doing it on offense -- she has scored in double digits in all but one game -- but is also playing lockdown defense. Oh, and she's also dishing assists; her 5.1 APG are second only to Sabrina Ionescu's 6.2.
Sami Whitcomb has been on a tear and had a career-high 30 points in Saturday's 101-78 victory. She tied a Liberty franchise record with seven 3-pointers while also adding six rebounds, five assists and three steals. That's the type of play you want from your guard.
But the Liberty still have a lot of work to do after climbing back to .500. They're averaging just 80.7 PPG, fifth worst in the league. And they're turning over the ball a league-high 17.6 times per game.
Even with Laney playing absurdly good basketball and Ionescu's return to the starting lineup, the Liberty have to take care of the ball and pick it up offensively if they want to stay in the playoff picture.
This week: @ATL, WASH, DAL
Diana Taurasi first WNBA player to reach 9,000 points
Diana Taurasi reaches a milestone as the first WNBA player to hit 9,000 career points.
8. Phoenix Mercury
Previous ranking: 9
Diana Taurasi returned Sunday and instantly made history, becoming the first WNBA player to score 9,000 career points. In her first game in five weeks after suffering a fractured sternum in May, Taurasi scored 25 points on 6-for-11 shooting (4-for-8 on 3-pointers) and helped Phoenix win its second game in a row. Taurasi's big night, plus 22 points from Brittney Griner, moved the Mercury back to .500, where they sit along with three other teams at four games behind Seattle.
The Mercury are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and hopefully with Taurasi back they can get some consistency going with their Big Three that includes Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
This week's back-to-back home games with Minnesota are a big test if the Mercury want to improve their playoff position.
This week: MINN, MINN
9. Washington Mystics
Previous ranking: 6
Last week, the Mystics looked like they were turning around their season, even with no indication of when two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne might return. But injuries had other plans. Washington recently lost Natasha Cloud (ankle) and Myisha Hines-Allen (knee), who are out indefinitely. Erica McCall (knee) is not expected back before the Olympic break, either. And the Mystics are now on a two-game losing streak.
Even with Tina Charles (25.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG) playing lights-out night after night, the short-handed Mystics look tired from being stretched thin and are struggling to get their offense in sync. Further, last week they played three road games at three different opponents in five days, meaning more travel than normal.
That back-and-forth schedule continues this week. Washington hosts Connecticut on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App) before traveling to New York. Can Charles continue to rely on Leilani Mitchell? The veteran guard averages 7.6 PPG on the season but has scored 19, 26 and 14 points in the last three games.
This week: CONN, @NY
10. Los Angeles Sparks
Previous ranking: 8
The Sparks are still struggling along as they wait for Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike to return from injury. Averaging 75.7 PPG, Los Angeles' offense ranks second to last in the WNBA. The Sparks also average a league-low 14.9 APG.
Te'a Cooper (10.3 PPG) and Erica Wheeler (13.1 PPG, 4.4 APG) are the bright spots for a team that has lost five of its last seven games.
Things likely are not going to get better in the immediate future. Los Angeles plays its next three games at home, but faces the Aces and the Storm.
This week: LV, LV, SEA
11. Atlanta Dream
Previous ranking: 10
Even though they have the fourth-best scoring average in the WNBA (83.9 PPG), the Dream have the second-worst record in the league. Atlanta lost both of its games last week, a two-point defeat against Minnesota and a 23-point drubbing by New York.
But because many teams above them have similar records, the Dream remain 6½ games behind league-leader Seattle and can still turn it around and snag a playoff spot. That will start with rebounding (33.9 RPG, second to last in the league) and assists (17.8 APG, tied for fourth worst).
Courtney Williams, Atlanta's leading scorer, can lead the way. She's averaging a career-high 17.5 PPG, as well as 6.9 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.5 SPG. Williams is the offensive spark that keeps the Dream going, but she needs to continue to be a facilitator for her teammates.
Atlanta did get some good news. Having just gotten Chennedy Carter back (elbow injury) but having lost Tiffany Hayes (knee) for a month, both Odyssey Sims and Cheyenne Parker left Saturday's game with injuries. Afterward, coach Mike Petersen said both players are expected back for Tuesday's home game against New York.
"Odyssey got hit on her cheekbone, and her head really was throbbing and she just couldn't run. ... Our treatment staff doesn't think it will be anything ongoing," Petersen said. "Cheyenne just got kneed on that play, and it was pretty painful. But nothing that should be ongoing."
The first week of July brings back-to-back road games against the top two teams in the league. Snagging a win against Seattle or Las Vegas could jump-start a push in the right direction.
This week: NY, @SEA, @LV
12. Indiana Fever
Previous ranking: 12
Averaging a league-worst 73.9 PPG is why the Fever are still seeking their second win of the season. Indiana is also struggling to move the ball, averaging just 17.1 APG (second worst in the WNBA). They aren't rebounding the ball enough to give themselves a chance on offense, either; Indiana's 34.5 RPG ranks ninth in the league.
In addition to Teaira McCowan (10.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG) playing good basketball, Kelsey Mitchell (team-high 16.0 PPG) has also been a positive in a struggling season.
The Fever, who waived Lauren Cox, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 draft, on Sunday, they might have to continue to wait for that second win: They host the Connecticut Sun this week.
This week: CONN, CONN