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The WNBA’s opening weekend delivered both preseason validations and early questions.
Before the games tipped off last week, we ranked every team from 12 to 1 based on 2020 results, offseason additions and training camp observations. Now, in our first installment of the weekly in-season power rankings, we explain why teams moved up, dropped down or stayed put after the openers.
12. Indiana Fever —
The Fever put up a fight against the Liberty in their weekend doubleheader, but they have to clean up their fouls (averaging 22.5 per game) and be more consistent from 3-point range (15.4 percent) if they’re going to beat better teams.
11. Atlanta Dream —
The Sun owned the Dream on the glass, 42-26, in their season opener. Atlanta, an offensive-minded team, will need to score more than 67 points a game to contend this season.
10. Washington Mystics ↓ 2
The Mystics’ ticket to winning more games until Elena Delle Donne returns, given how much coach Mike Thibault values the deep ball, is to shoot better from the 3-point line than the 13.3 percent they recorded against Chicago.
9. Los Angeles Sparks ↓ 2
Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike had remarkably efficient 2021 debuts, but the Sparks’ defense couldn’t do much of anything to contain the Wings, who dropped 94 points on 34 of 64 shooting.
8. New York Liberty ↑ 1
The Liberty (2-0) have already matched their wins record from last season, but they still left a lot to be desired in those games, turning the ball over 18.5 times on average.
7. Dallas Wings ↑ 3
The Wings are playing selfless basketball under first-year coach Vickie Johnson, with five players scoring in double digits against the Sparks. And Satou Sabally, their second-leading scorer last season, hasn’t even joined the team yet.
6. Phoenix Mercury —
The Mercury came up short in their second game against the Sun to drop to 1-1, but the Big 3 of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith are showing early signs of chemistry.
5. Minnesota Lynx ↓ 2
The Lynx were a Taurasi game-winning 3 away from being 1-0, so there’s not much to be worried about at this stage, especially since Napheesa Collier has yet to join the team after her season overseas.
4. Las Vegas Aces ↓ 2
The Aces meet the Storm again Tuesday, after their 14-point loss over the weekend, so we’ll see soon whether they can win more battles on the glass and be more efficient from the field — which is their recipe for success.
3. Chicago Sky ↑ 2
It’s been just one game, but the Sky already look way more dangerous with Candace Parker and Diamond DeShields. And once WNBA assists leader Courtney Vandersloot builds more chemistry with them, the Sky will be even harder to beat.
2. Connecticut Sun ↑ 2
This is why I had the Sun higher in my preseason power rankings than most: DeWanna Bonner and Jonquel Jones, who together are averaging 22 points and 8.3 rebounds through two games, are going to be very difficult for teams to stop.
1. Seattle Storm —
If Breanna Stewart continues to produce at an MVP-level and Jewell Loyd, Sue Bird and Candice Dupree do their thing alongside her, the Storm will remain the team to beat.
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