Category: Queens of the Court

QotC Recap


We’ve been off the radar for a while because we moved from NYC to Broomfield Colorado! While we are still getting settled in we have not forgotten about the Queens of the Court.  The season is over! The playoffs are upon us and we can’t wait to watch these matchups and see what happens.  The final standings for the season are as follows:

  1. Washington Mystics
  2. Connecticut Sun
  3. Los Angeles Sparks
  4. Las Vegas Aces
  5. Chicago Sky
  6. Seattle Storm
  7. Minnesota Lynx
  8. Phoenix Mercury
  9. Indiana Fever
  10. Dallas Wings
  11. New York Liberty
  12. Atlanta Dream

Big Matchups this week:

9/11 – 8pm EST – Phoenix Mercury @ Chicago Sky

9/11 – 10pm EST Minneosta Lynx @ Seattle Storm

9/15 – 3pm EST Winner Storm/Lynx @ Los Angeles Sparks

9/15 – 5pm EST Winner Mercury/Sky @ Las Vegas Aces

Make sure to tune in and listen to this week’s QotC episode for our analysis and picks through the first two rounds and make sure to check back next week for our Semi-finals preview show!

QotC Week 12 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power Rankings for Week 12 Monday, August 19th:

  1. Washinton Mystics (20 – 7) X – Washington was the first team to clinch a playoff spot and have held down the number spot in the standings and our power rankings as they extended their league leading active win streak to 6.  While they currently look like the favorites to win it all this year behind likely MVP Elena Delle Donne, they’re not invincible, particularly against a team with superior size.
  2. Connecticut Sun (19 – 8) X – Spots 2 and 3 in our rankings might as well be interchangeable.  Both Vegas and the Sun are deserving and are dangerous in different ways.  We’re giving the edge to the Sun who have scraped out some close wins this week and look as though they’ve put an emphasis on fourth quarter play this past week.  It’ll come down to the wire for the coveted top two spots but the Sun have it as of now.
  3. Las Vegas Aces (18 – 9) X – Vegas returned A’ja Wilson yesterday who came off the bench and led the team in scoring in her 25 1/2 minutes, securing a solid victory against the Sky.  With Liz Cambage also back and looking focused on a title, Vegas knows how dangerous they can be come playoff time.  While at times they have looked like this may not be the year they put it all together, heading into the playoffs, it is hard not to pick them to at least make the final.
  4. Las Angeles Sparks (15 – 10) – The Sparks had a rough week at a bad time losing two in a row while the other competitors for the top two playoff spots recorded victories.  Who isn’t on the court continues to be the story for the Sparks who even after returning Candace Parker have a number of key players sidelined.  They have all the weapons and then some to put together a deep playoff run, but will likely have to win at least 1 one game playoff to advance.
  5. Chicago Sky (15 – 11) – The Sky have been the most consistent slightly above average team this year.  They have rarely gone on long winning or losing streaks despite a roster full of talent and young players emerging as stars.  Despite sitting in 5th place, I don’t foresee a particularly long playoff run as the Sky have not fared well against the league’s elite teams this year going 3 – 7 against our teams ranked 1 – 4.
  6. Seattle Storm (15 – 13) – This fairy tale season for the Seattle Storm is likely to end without the fairy tale ending.  Despite some encouraging development from Natasha Howard and a young crop of players, Seattle likely won’t have enough weapons to make any significant noise in the playoffs.  However, we’ve bet against this team before and been wrong so I will reserve judgment until I see where they finish the season heading into the playoffs.
  7. Phoenix Mercury (13 – 13) – This season has been a battle for the Mercury both on and off the court between injuries, suspensions, and lackluster performances by 3 rookies from whom everyone expected more.  Still they are in the fight and barring some dramatic turn around, will lock down one of the final playoff spots come September.  And if there is one team you don’t want to face in a one game playoff, it is probably the Mercury.  Brittney Griner will be hungry when she returns to the court, and that is one beast you don’t want to wake up.
  8. Minnesota Lynx (13 – 14) – The Lynx close out the season with a stretch a tough games against better opponents and despite the 3.5 game lead over the Fever for the last playoff spot, Cheryl Reeve probably doesn’t feel real secure just yet.  It has never been more apparent how much they miss Maya Moore than this week when they lost two very tight games in the 4th quarter.  Closing out games is the biggest weakness for this super talented squad, but this organization has a lot to be proud of in what has been a transition year.
  9. Dallas Wings (9  – 18) – Dallas has won 3 of their last 4 games and look like a team that is not ready to give up on their season just yet.  With only 7 games left and sitting 4 games back of the 8th place Lynx, it is unlikely they’ll break into the playoffs, but Brian Agler has to be pleased with the development of this young team around rookie of the year candidate Arike Ogunbowale.  The future is bright for the Wings who will need to add some size in next years draft.
  10. Indiana Fever (9 – 17) – The Fever still have a glimmer of hope that they could make the playoffs but it is not probable.  Still it has been a successful year for Indiana in my eyes as they’ve seen the emergence of all star Erica Wheeler, a glimpse of the extremely bright future of rookie Teaira McCowan, and boast a slew of young super talented guards and shooters that will only get better.
  11. New York Liberty (8 – 18) – Perhaps the most disappointing season goes to the Liberty despite Atlanta’s abysmal year.  For a minute, New York looked like they were going to make a run for the playoffs but have now lost 8 in a row.  Asia Durr has had a difficult rookie season marred by injuries and lackluster performances and everyone not named Tina Charles has been inconsistent despite the occasional brilliant game here and there.
  12. Atlanta Dream (5 – 21) – Who takes the heat for what has happened to the dream this season? Players? Coaches? Front office? All of the above? The Dream have lost 11 in a row and look they just want it to end so they can all get back overseas playing for their international clubs.  What a difference a year makes.  I’m at a loss as to how the dream proceed for next year but clearly some changes are needed and it probably begins with Nicki Collen whether that’s fair or not…

X – indicates playoff spot has been clinched.

QotC Week 11 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power Rankings for Week 11 Monday, August 12th:

  1. Washington Mystics (17 – 7) – After posting routine wins against the Lynx and Fever, the Mystics are back in first place despite All Star Kristi Toliver sitting with a knee injury in Sunday’s contest. Aerial Powers got the start and had a nice game while Meeseman continues to impress as the Mystics not-so-secret weapon off the bench.
  2. Los Angeles Sparks (15 – 8) – The Sparks are riding a 5 game winning streak propelled by the return of Candace Parker (who will apparently have an overall rating of 93 in NBA2k20 coming out this fall). They look like the team I expected them to be at the beginning of the year and they are still missing key players to injury. No one would be surprised if this team made a deep run and took it all this year despite the up and down season.
  3. Las Vegas Aces (16 – 9) – Liz Cambage wrote a must-read personal essay for the Player’s Tribune about her recent absences from the W, citing mental health and riptide like anxiety attacks and depression. And she came back with a super strong outing in Vegas’ win over the Sun. Dearica Hamby continues to impress in place of A’ja Wilson and number 1 overall pick Jackie Young is beginning to come into her own. Vegas will need Wilson back to steal a top 2 spot heading into the playoffs.
  4. Connecticut Sun (16 – 8) – The streaky Sun have had an off week losing to the Lynx and the Aces. The only top 4 team that is mostly whole (Layshia Clarendon is still out but all 5 starters are active) will need to take advantage of their beleaguered opponents while they can. Holding onto a top 2 spot will be challenging down the stretch as Vegas and LA are cruising in.
  5. Chicago Sky (14 – 10) – The Sky have been holding down the 5 spot in our power rankings for a while now and there’s no reason to think that will change anytime soon. They’ve proven that they can compete with anyone in the league but have lost some close games that will come back to haunt them when the playoff seedings come out. The veterans are performing admirably, so if they can get a bit more from their younger players not named Diamond Deshields, they could be dangerous in the playoffs.
  6. Seattle Storm (14 – 11) – Jewell Loyd has conceded her starting spot to Sami Whitcomb for the time being who has been absolutely dynamic for the Storm since Loyd went out with Injury. Alysha Clark has been an unsung hero for this team as well providing solid defense and scoring not to mention much needed on the court leadership. Its difficult to predict where the Storm will finish the season though I wouldn’t be surprised if they found a way to win it all or miss the playoffs entirely.
  7. Minnesota Lynx (12 – 12) – The Lynx returned WNBA legend Seimone Augustus this week and won 2 out of 3 losing in blowout fashion to the Mystics. However, with Augustus back, the Lynx are considerably more dangerous with significant scoring threats at each position and no one will want to face them in a one game playoff. The Lynx could easily come away with a number of individual year end accolades.
  8. Phoenix Mercury (11 – 12) – The Mercury lost more than a close game against Dallas on Saturday. With three players ejected during an on court fight and the league looking into additional sanctions, the Mercury could soon be without Griner, arguably the leagues most valuable player to her team. If that happens, the Mercury may have a difficult time holding onto the last playoff spot as they simply can’t afford to lose anymore players. On a bright note, rookie Brianna Turner has made the most of her recent minutes recording back to back double digit rebounding games
  9. Indiana Fever (9 – 16) – The Fever could be the Cinderella story we didn’t think we’d get this year. Picked almost unanimously to finish last this season, the Fever have found answers up and down the roster with contributions night in and night out from the hot hand. It won’t be easy to sneak into the playoff picture but there is most definitely hope, particularly in Phoenix loses Griner for any extended period of time.
  10. Dallas Wings (7 – 17) – Many believe Arike Ogunbowale is now the front-runner for Rookie of the year. The Notre Dame grad has shouldered a heavy burden in her rookie season playing out of position and being asked to take the most meaningful shots late in games. Picking up Kristine Anigwe gives Dallas a lot to look forward to in the coming years. It won’t be long before Dallas is pushing for a championship.
  11. New York Liberty (8 – 15) – The Liberty have been reeling since the all star break, losing their last 5 and looking fairly lost. Asia Durr is again out with a strained groin and Kia Nurse has been ice cold lately. Tina Charles continues to do her thing, but NY might think about trading the legend for a haul of younger players to plan for the future.
  12. Atlanta Dream (5 – 19) – Despite a career high 34 point performance from Tiffany Hayes on Saturday against the Fever, the Dream are winless in their last 9 contests. At this point the silver lining is that the Dream are likely to secure a solid pick in next year’s draft, but beyond that, there isn’t much to look forward to for this team. Angel McCoughtry will likely sit out the rest of the season and be traded in the off season to a contender ready to give up some young talent for the veteran All Star.

QotC Week 10 Power Rankings

Jon’s first power rankings.

So Paul has been our power ranking guru but it’s time to switch it up for this week while on vacation and give Paul the week off. Here is my week 10 power rankings!

Connecticut Sun (16-6) – BURN IT DOWN!!! The Sun are back and in a big way. This streaky team has gone on another huge winning steak.  After starting the season 9-1 and having a bad stretch they are back on top of our power ranking and holding down the number one seed for the playoffs. This team plays great D and shares the basketball so well.  They play to exploit match ups and almost any one of their starters can go off on any given night.  I have a feeling this team is going to stay as the number 1 team all year because when they are hot they are basically unbeatable.  Hopefully they can continue this into the playoffs.

Washington Mystics (15-7)– Washington has taken sole possession of the 2 seed as they knocked off the Aces in the earthquake make up game.  They have been playing amazing basketball lately and look as good if not better then last year.  The MVP race looks all but locked up as Elena Delle Donne has been going off and took down another player of the week scoring 26 and 8 and has been the reason this team is where they are.  They are my favorite to win the whole thing this year but as this year has shown anything can happen.

Las Vegas Aces (15-8) – Las Vegas is our number 3 team as they keep playing great basketball.  They are clearly one of, if not the deepest team in the league as they are able to be next one up with Dearica Hambey with A’ja Wilson going down.  They are 2-2 out of the break with one of those losses being the resumed game from the earthquake last month.  They score in bunches, they exploit any match ups they need to, and they aren’t as selfish as you would think a team with this much star power can be.  They need to fix their turnover problem as they average 14 a game so if they bring that down they will be fighting for one of the top two seeds for the whole second half of the season.

Los Angeles Sparks (13-8)– CP3 is back (Candace Parker!!!!) and in her first week back she won player of the week with the Sparks going 2-0.  She is the GOAT! Averaging 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in her first week back.  She has looked electric and has made this team better in every way.  Last week we were saying this could be the what if season for the Sparks and Candace has quickly changed everything.  The team just looks scary as they have the depth and skill to be the best in the league. Watch out here they come!!!!!

Phoenix Mercury (11-10) – The Currently injury plagued Mercury are still playing great basketball.  They have moved up to 5th on this list and they can beat anyone on any given night. A real contender to go to the finals this year.  Brittney Griner is playing at an MVP level this season and has had two monster games coming out of the all-star break 28-26 points in both of those games.  They are 1-2 out of the break but that doesn’t mean they haven’t played good basketball and with the amount of injuries they have been battling I am happy to put them in the 5th spot.

Chicago Sky (12-9) – The Chicago Sky are the biggest surprise to me this season as they keep on BALLING! Diamond DeShields is proving why she is an Allstar night in and night out and Steph Dolson is proving she is one of the most underrated bigs in the league.  They are sitting at 6th on the power ranking but are actually in 5th place and I can see them staying up around this level all season because they play as a family.  I love this team and hope they can continue to get better. They could be a dark horse come play off time as they have the shooters to win any game.

Seattle Storm (12 –11) – The Seattle Storm magic might be wearing off a bit.  They have been able to battle through it all this season but they are currently on a 3 game losing streak coming out of the all star break with losses vs the Mystics and Sparks and have fallen to 7th on our power rankings.  They will always be a threat but as for competing for a championship this year after winning last year it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for them. 

Minnesota Lynx (10 – 11) – The Lynx are one of the teams in the playoff picture to be worried about.  They are on a 4 game losing streak and have lost 5 of 6 but all close games with the worse loss coming by 11 points to the Fever.  They’re looking to snap the streak tonight against the dream but if they lose again tonight the road doesn’t get much easier as they play the top two teams Friday (CT) and Sunday (DC).  The streak could easily get to 7 by the end of the week if they don’t win tonight. On a high note, Napheesa Collier was just named Rookie of the month. But she only averages 11 points per game tand he Rookie of the year has gone to the highest scoring rookie 12 of 15 seasons and Arike Ogunbowale is averaging 15 per game.

Indiana Fever (8– 15) – The Allstar break did wonders for the Fever.  They have come out of the break 2-0 with a 2 point win over the Dream, with a game winning shot from Allstar game MVP Erica Wheeler. Then a 20 point come back against the Lynx to win by 11.  The team is playing better basketball and could continue to fight for the final playoff spot. 

New York Liberty (8 – 13) – After sending Kia Nurse and Tina Charles to the all star gaming and getting their long list of Euro basketball players back I expected the Liberty to keep playing exciting basketball.  Since coming back from the break that has not been the case as the Liberty are 0-2 losing by 15 to the Sun and 23 to the Wings.  With Asia Durr back into the starting lineup I expect to see some more exciting basketball as she was playing great before her injury.  Hopefully we can see them get back to playing tough competitive basketball.

Dallas Wings (6-16) – Dallas out of the break have been looking like they have all season, young and inexperienced.  They have had flashes of good basketball with Arike Ogunbowale taking over as the top rookie this year and reacquired Megan Gustafson showing why she deserves to play in this league, having scored 11 points with 8 boards in back to back games. The team is 2 years younger in average age than any team in the league. The future with Diggins-Smith, Jefferson, and Stevens all coming back could be huge factors next year and AS I was writing this Dallas traded Theresa Plaisance for Kristine Anigwe good move for both sides.

Atlanta Dream (5 – 17) – Atlanta’s abysmal season continues. It’s getting bad at this point as they are on a 7 game losing streak after winning 3 outta 4 before that. After coming one game shy of the WNBA finals last year it’s sad to see where this team is at. The Dream are missing McCoughtry bad and there hasn’t been many updates lately on her return.  It’s looking more like she might take this whole season to rehab with the team as far back as they are.

QotC Week 9 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power Rankings for Week 9 Monday, July 29th:

  1. Washington Mystics (12 – 6) – Team Delle Donne may have come up short in the All Star Game, but they start the second half of the season as our number 1 team.  They’ll look to get back on track against the Phoenix Mercury Tuesday night on Twitter.  Its always interesting to see who comes back from the break sharp and who needs a few games to find their rhythm.  Unfortunately there is little room for error as the Mystics chase the Aces and Sun for a coveted top two spot.
  2. Las Vegas Aces (13 – 6) – Las Vegas lived up to its reputation as sun city this past weekend hosting the all star game festivities and parties with none other than Star Liz Cambage DJing a set Friday night.  However, on the court, the Aces are challenged to adjust without A’ja Wilson who is working her way back from an ankle injury but is still confined to the boot.  They proved they can win without her with a convincing win over the Storm before the break, and Dearica Hamby looks ready to step up and fill Wilson’s shoes.
  3. Connecticut Sun (13 – 6) – One of my biggest takeaways from the all star game is that Jonquel Jones is only scratching the surface of her potential.  She had an impressive showing in the Skills Challenge followed up by a solid all star game where she displayed her silky shot from long distance.  If she’s mentally prepared for superstardom, the makeup of this Sun team could shift from a well-balanced 5 woman attack to the Jonquel show who above average support. Oh and Shekinna Stricklen won the 3 point contest.  The Sun are ready to Burn It Down.
  4. Seattle Storm (12 – 9) – Seattle looks to build on an impressive season so far as Jewell Loyd gets back up to speed and finds her rhythm again.  Jordin Canada and Natasha Howard both look like top 5 candidates for Most Improved Player honors and Mercedes Russell has been impressive at the 5 since joining the starting lineup.  Dan Hughes must continue to find meaningful minutes for Sami Whitcomb who has been incredible in extended minutes while Jewell Loyd was out with injury.
  5. Chicago Sky (11 – 8) – The Chicago Sky were out in force for the all star festivities supporting their extremely talented backcourt trio.  Diamond DeShields emergence as an all star and dominant force is largely responsible for what many consider a surprisingly good season for the Sky, especially after losing number 4 overall pick Katie Lou Samuelson to injury early on.  The Sky are deep with next level athleticism from multiple spots on the floor, but they’re going to have their hands full come playoff time when they go up against some of the bigger teams in the league.
  6. Phoenix Mercury (10 – 8) – Speaking of bigger teams in the league…Britney Griner delighted fans with multiple throw downs in the all star game, all of which looked effortless for the perennial all star.  But mystery surrounding Diana Taurasi and her return have me concerned that the Mercury might not be able to put it together in time for a deep playoff run.  Expect the Mercury to look for meaningful help at the guard position in next year’s draft.
  7. Los Angeles Sparks (11 – 8) – 2019 might be the year of what could have been for the Sparks.  Injuries and suspensions have forced the Sparks to lean more heavily on all stars Chelsea Gray and Nneka Ogwumike who have done a phenomenal job keeping the Sparks relevant this year.  If 6’7″ rookie Kalani Brown can take the next step in her development, the Sparks could be scary good next year combining skill, size, and scoring from all spots on the floor.
  8. Minnesota Lynx (10 – 10) – Its a bit disheartening to see the Lynx fall to .500 on the season as we begin the second half.  They have a lot to be excited about for the future, but will have their hands full staving off the Liberty for the final spot in the WNBA playoffs.  Despite a complimentary trio of all stars with diverse skillsets, the Lynx are seriously missing Maya Moore’s passion, ferocity, and ability to close out close games.  Most of the Lynx’s losses have been tight games that didn’t go their way in the final minutes.
  9. New York Liberty (8 – 11) – First timer Kia Nurse dropped 15 efficient points in the all star game and 7 time all star Tina Charles mostly took a back seat to let the younger players enjoy the spotlight.  But as the Liberty look to make a push for the final playoff spot, expect Tina Charles to step up and put this team on her back as she has done time and time again.  Katie Smith may be on a short leash if she is unable to lead this talented group to the playoffs.
  10. Indiana Fever (6 – 15) – The fever were not expected to be very competitive this year, but expect newly crowned 2019 WNBA all star game MVP Erica Wheeler to take on more responsibility as her confidence grows.  The Fever might look to make some meaningful trades and shake up the team chemistry down the stretch as they continue to rebuild a winning culture.  Shout out to big T (Teaiera McCowan) who has steadily improved and acclimated to the WNBA all season long.
  11. Dallas Wings (5 – 14) – It was a quiet week for Dallas who did not send anyone to the all star game.  Rumors that Skyler Diggins Smith is nearing a return is welcome news for this group of young talent that is lacking veteran leadership.  Diggins-Smith was also announced as a new member of Team USA basketball that will participate in a new training and promotion program during the fall, winter and spring designed to grow interest in the game and prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
  12. Atlanta Dream (5 – 15) – Despite not having an all star selected this year, the Dream sent Elizabeth Williams to Vegas to compete in the Skills Challenge where she showed off her skill set but ultimately came up short.  Despite having some strong individual talents, the Dream are lacking leadership and a cohesive offensive philosophy.  Will Angel McCoughtry return to lift the Dream? Will they score big in next year’s draft? Somethings gotta give.

QotC Week 8 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power Rankings for Week 8 Monday, July 22nd:

  1. Washington Mystics (11 – 6) – The Mystics bounced back with two wins this week as Elena Delle Donne returned to action.  In a season where some teams are displaying incredible depth, the Mystics look like two different teams depending on whether EDD is on court or not.  Still, simply because they’re the best team when she’s on the court, they hold the top spot in our rankings and assuming they stay healthy, the Mystics are my pick to win it all.
  2. Las Vegas Aces (12 – 6) – Vegas is winning, and having fun doing it, just take a look at the Instagram videos and tweets, but they just lost All Star A’ja Wilson to an ankle injury and while it’s not serious, it will keep her sidelined for the time being.  Vegas has been lucky this season with minimal injuries or missing players, but they’re about 7 players deep so anymore injuries and they may not be able to maintain their winning ways.
  3. Connecticut Sun (12 – 6) – The Sun continue to bounce back and for the time being have avoided a repeat of last season when they fell to .500 before winning again.  Still, I’m not entirely sold that they’ll keep winning and hold onto a top spot.  Every team is afforded their lulls, but the Sun seem to be extremely streaky and that can either work for or against you come playoff time.  With just a contest against the NY Liberty on the schedule before the All Star break, they’re looking strong heading into the second half.
  4. Seattle Storm (12 – 8) – The Storm are riding a 4 game winning streak which they’ll look to extend tomorrow night against the Aces on ESPN2.  I’m done writing about how surprising the Storm’s performance is this season since the season is more than halfway through and they’re still a top team.  However, this could change if Natasha Howard’s domestic violence inquiry goes against her.  The Sparks’ Riquna Williams was slapped with a 10 game suspension for domestic violence and if Natasha Howard suffers the same, it will be yet another opportunity for the Storm to show the quality of their depth.
  5. Chicago Sky (11 – 8) – The Sky have an extended break with no games until the 30th, but send their very talented three player backcourt to the All Star Game.  However, their 4 game winning streak comes at the expense of the 4 teams on the outside looking in so Sky fans shouldn’t hold their breath for a WNBA championship this year.  Their schedule gets significantly more challenging after the All Star Break so we shall see whether the Sky can keep up with the other title contenders.
  6. Minnesota Lynx (10 – 9) – Despite sitting at 10 – 9 after two tough losses this week, the Lynx boast the league’s 5th best scoring differential suggesting that they’re better than the record indicates.  This is a dangerous team with a lot of weapons and I wouldn’t want to face them in a winner takes all playoff game.  The all star break couldn’t come at a better time for this team which looks a bit fatigued, physically and mentally from a tough season with a lot of missing personnel.
  7. Phoenix Mercury (9 – 8) – Diana Taurasi returned for one game and has been riding the bench since.  Undoubtedly a precaution as the Mercury have enough weapons to get them to the playoffs at which point they become as dangerous as anyone if Taurasi is healthy.  Griner and Bonner continue to be an intimidating scoring pair with the potential to take over the game when needed and will represent the Mercury in the all star game.  Don’t sleep on this team down the stretch.
  8. Los Angeles Sparks (10 – 8) – My preseason picks to win the championship have not had the year they needed.  Between a slew of injuries to impact players, Riquna Williams suspension, questions about new coach Derek Fisher, and inconsistent play, the Sparks simply don’t look as threatening as they were expected to be this year.  They’re undoubtedly a winning team this year, but its hard to see them beating the Aces or Mystics in a playoff series.
  9. New York Liberty (8 – 10) – The Liberty need to find something extra if they’re going to get into the playoff picture.  While they are only 1.5 games out, the competition is stiff and the Liberty don’t seem to have any hidden weapons waiting to emerge.  Number 2 overall pick Asia Durr has been out with a groin strain though there has been some mystery around her absence and the team could very much use a scorer like Durr back on the floor.  Katie Smith needs to find a winning formula and fast or the Liberty will lose out on the playoffs AND the top draft pick in next year’s draft.
  10. Indiana fever (6 – 14) – Then there’s everybody else.  The Fever are riding a 5 game losing streak right now and have very little to show for yet another rebuilding season.  They send two players to the All Star game in aging star Candice Dupree and Erica Wheeler: perhaps the two all stars that have been talked about least this year.  Expect the Fever to continue the battle for 10th place with the Wings and Dream without much hope for ascension.
  11. Dallas Wings (5 – 14) – The good news is, they will likely have the Rookie of the Year this year as Ogunbowale continues to be the go-to player for the Wings.  There’s a solid core here that looks like it could be capable of winning a lot of games, but they are lacking leadership.  The hope of Skyler Diggins Smith returning early enough to make an impact is gone but the Wings would benefit from having a handful of games with her back on the court to develop some chemistry in anticipation of a stronger showing next year.
  12. Atlanta Dream (5 – 14) – The Dream could just as easily be ranked 10th as 12th, but I’ve gotta put someone last so its the Dream because I don’t see enough talent on this roster to feel hopeful about the future without some big changes.  Angel McCoughtry would be a big change, but its unclear if she’ll be back this season and at age 32, one wonders how good she’ll be when she does come back.  If I were the dream, I’d be trading some of my talent for future draft picks and young undeveloped studs.

QotC Week 7 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power Rankings for Week 7 Monday, July 15th:

  1. Washington Mystics (9 – 6) – The Mystics took a couple tough losses to Phoenix and Las Vegas this week without 2 time All Star Captain Elena Delle Donne on the court.  But to be frank, I don’t care.  They’re still the best team in the WNBA when at full strength and despite the fractured nose, I expect Delle Donne to return before too long and continue leading this team to a top seed by the end of the season.  Meeseman returned form the Euros this week and looked good.  Mystics = scary.
  2. Las Vegas Aces (11 – 5) – Kudos to the Aces for sending 3 players to the All Star game as starters in Captain, A’ja Wilson and standouts Liz Cambage and Kayla McBride.  They’re win streak is up to 5 but needs an asterisk as they were down by 15 to the Mystics in Vegas when disaster struck and the conclusion had to be postponed.  Still, this uber-talented team is putting it all together and looking like the kind of superteam fans were excited about in the preseason.
  3. Connecticut Sun (11 – 6) – The Sun broke their 5 game losing streak this week and recorded two hard fought wins against the Mercury and Fever.  I am hesitantly optimistic about how they build upon these wins and hopeful that Jonquel Jones’ nod as an all star starter will give her confidence to step up and put this team on her back when necessary.  But in a year with as much parity as we’re seeing, I am not confident that they’ll hold onto a top spot for the rest of the season.
  4. Minnesota Lynx (10 – 7) – As with many others, I was expecting the Lynx to be in rebuild mode without Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus, or Rebekkah Brunson, but a new deadly trifecta has emerged in Odyssey Sims, Sylvia Fowles, and Napheesa Collier.  The trio looks deadly and the supporting cast looks strong.  If Maya Moore comes back in the future, the Lynx will continue to be a top-tier team to be reckoned with.
  5. Seattle Storm (10 – 8) – With Sue Bird still working her way back from injury, Jordin Canada has emerged as one of the most electric and exciting point guards in the WNBA sitting among the league leaders in assists and steals.  The Storm have to feel very optimistic about the future given the depth that has been on display this year.  Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd earn all star starter nods, and assuming Natasha Howard avoids suspension (domestic violence allegations), the Storm should only get stronger as the season goes along.
  6. Los Angeles Sparks (9 – 7) – After watching Candace Parker go down with her second injury on the year which is being reported as an ankle injury, I have lost faith that the Sparks can make a deep run in the playoffs.  Many believe Parkers injury could be as serious as an achilles tear and I can’t help but have flashbacks to Kevin Durant’s injury in the playoffs for the Warriors which he rushed back from and immediately reinjured.  Hopefully Parker and the Sparks can avoid a similar fate.  Nneka Ogwumike gets snubbed on All Star voting but will likely join Chelsea Gray in Vegas off the bench.
  7. Chicago Sky (9 – 8) – Diamond DeShields continues to step into the limelight for a Chicago Sky team that holds their own against anyone in the league but haven’t been able to string together multiple wins.  However, players returning from injury and the euros could provide additional depth to a team that might surprise viewers come playoff time.  This won’t be their year, but I’m excited to see how this team develops over the next few years.
  8. Phoenix Mercury (7 – 8) – Taurasi returned for 16 minutes in a loss to the Sun and looked impactful but did not play two days later in the Mercury’s loss to the Lynx.  Brittney Griner secured a spot amongst the all star starters but Dewanna Bonner did not despite many believing her to be a solid candidate for MVP.  Chances are Taurasi simply needed more time to recover after making her season debut.  I expect Phoenix to hold onto a playoff spot and be dangerous in the fall.
  9. New York Liberty (7 – 10) – Sophomore guard Kia Nurse earned her first all star selection but Tina Charles did not.  The Liberty are looking almost whole again after returning 3 players from the Euros but still have work to do if they’re to find themselves in the playoff picture.  Amongst the teams on the outside looking in, they definitely have the talent and cohesion to get there but might lack the clutch late game heroics needed to record a few more W’s.
  10. Dallas Wings (5 – 11) – Rookie Arike Ogunbowale is probably your frontrunner for Rookie of the Year after a slight dropoff in production from Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier and Ogunbowale’s high usage.  Dallas looks like a gritty team that is slowly discovering their power.  Undersized after Liz Cambage was traded to Vegas, the Wings’ forwards have their work cut out for them on both ends of the floor night in and night out in containing the other teams in what has been a forward-dominated season so far.
  11. Atlanta Dream (5 – 11) – Atlanta has begun to find a winning formula in tight, pesky defense and aggressive iso-play.  I don’t love the offensive flow and shot selection, but if they can clean some of that up and set up more open looks, they’ll likely find themselves out of the basement before year’s end.  Tiffany Hayes and Renee Montgomery impress night in and night out, but would do well to be more selective when it comes to the difficulty level of the shots they take.
  12. Indiana Fever (6 – 12) – Teaira McCowan looks like she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come and has already asserted herself as one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the league.  As the offensive game develops, she will offer the Fever a coveted option to play inside-out with a series of talented shooters surrounding her.  Kelsey Mitchell needs to improve her efficiency and shot selection, but Tiffany Mitchell (no relation) looks deadly as a 6th woman of the year candidate.

QotC Week 6 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power Rankings for Week 6 Monday, July 8th:

  1. Washington Mystics (9 – 4) – The Mystics should probably be 10 – 4 after leading the Aces by 15 at the half before being forced to  cancel the game due to an “act of god.”  Earthquakes aside, there’s no reason to think the Mystics are anything other than the top team in the W this season despite suffering a loss on Sunday to the Sparks.  Elena Delle Donne appeared to suffer a bloody nose after a no call on a missed jumper in the 2nd minute of the game and did not return.
  2. Las Vegas Aces (9 – 5) – The Aces ride a three game winning streak into the number 2 spot in our rankings and boast 4 representatives among the top 20 in wnba All Star voting as of July 2nd.  They looked outmatched in the 1st half of their match against the Mystics but were spared the loss when a 6.9 southern cal earthquake shook the Mandalay Bay Events Center.  A’ja Wilson looks like she wants to follow up her 2018 Rookie of the Year award with a 2019 MVP.
  3. Connecticut Sun (9 – 5) – Nothing good to report from the Sun this week who played one game at home and lost to the Minnesota Lynx.  Expect the competition to only get stiffer as Eurobasket has ended and many teams are expecting reinforcements.  Head coach Curt Miller has his hands full righting the ship and avoiding a repeat of last year’s narrative which saw a disappointing one game end to a strong season.
  4. Los Angeles Sparks (7 – 6) – The Sparks are looking a bit more like themselves this past week as they cap a three game win streak with a strong win against the Mystics (albeit without Delle Donne).  My faith in the preseason favorites is restored and I expect them to just get better as the season progresses.  Nneka Ogwumike looks to be hitting her MVP form as the court is opened up by the dangerous outside play of Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray, who recorded the WNBA’s 8th regular season triple double on Sunday.
  5. Minnesota Lynx (8 – 6) – Minnesota took advantage of slumping teams this week recording wins against the Dream and Sun.  Odyssey Sims has acclimated well to her new team and looks to be a long term solution at point guard.  Injuries have forced the Lynx to rely on their depth which is probably performing to its peak at present.  If they’re to challenge for a title, they’ll need reinforcements from their injured list.
  6. Phoenix Mercury (6 – 6) – Phoenix gets ranked 1st among teams even at .500 this week because they’re about to get Diana Taurasi back and when you add the GOAT to a .500 team seeing strong performances from Britney Griner and DeWanna Bonner, I expect a lot.  The Mercury are a team nobody wants to face in the playoffs regardless of how strong their season record is, so as long as they hold onto a playoff spot, I won’t be betting against them.
  7. Chicago Sky (7 – 7) – The Sky matched the Aces through three quarters on the road before disappearing in the 4th and dropping below .500 for the first time since opening 1 – 2 but rebounding with a solid win at home against the Wings.  They’ll need to do a better job closing out close games against playoff contenders if they’re going to hold onto a playoff spot.  Jantel Lavender has proven to be a strong pickup and should be encouraged to continue to assert herself as a top scorer for this team.
  8. Seattle Storm (8 – 8) – It is not surprising that the Storm have finally hit a rough patch as the injuries to star players multiplied.  Still, the three game losing streak is not representative of how well the Storm have played losing two of the three by 2 points or less.  Competition for the final few spots in the playoff picture has become tighter and the Storm could find themselves on the outside looking in if they don’t get some help soon.  They’ll enjoy having the week off to regroup.
  9. New York Liberty (7 – 8) – I had penciled in the Liberty in the 7 slot after a 4 game win streak until they were blown out by the visiting Aces.  Kia Nurse has emerged as a constant scoring threat from anywhere on the floor at anytime of the game, but a lackluster shooting night for her translated into a blowout loss.  The margin for error for this Liberty team is low, but when they’re clicking, they’re as dangerous as anyone.  They return 4 players from Eurobasket this week as they continue to turn their season around and challenge for a playoff spot.
  10. Indiana Fever (6 – 9) – The Fever are on the outside looking in and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.  Most expected the Fever to be another year or two away from seeing their rebuild come to fruition but another solid draft pick next year could round out this team of young talent.  Indiana is one of three teams without a player in the top 20 for all star voting so a 6 – 9 record is actually quite remarkable and a testament to Pokey Chatman’s coaching.
  11. Dallas Wings (4 – 9) – Dallas has a stark home – road split boasting a winning record at College Park Center at 4 – 3 but has yet to record a win on the road.  Rookie Arike Ogunbowale has been a (sometimes) bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for a team searching for their identity in the wake of the Liz Cambage trade and Diggins-Smith injury.  You won’t hear any complaints from the rookie though, who is getting a chance to do exactly what she wants to do, put up shots in volume.
  12. Atlanta Dream (3 – 10) – The dream conquered an injury plagued Storm team on the road this week before losing by 2 to Phoenix.  Brittney Sykes is perhaps the most underrated player in the WNBA and if I were the Dream’s front office, I’d try to build around the athletic guard.  Everyone is getting ample playing time and a chance to step up as Nicki Collen continues to search for answers on the roster.

QotC Week 5 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power Rankings for Week 5 Monday, July 1: 

  1. Washington Mystics (9 – 3) – We all know what Washington is capable of on offense, but it is their defensive efficiency that stands out as they take the top spot from the Connecticut Sun after a 43 point blowout win at home.  Burn THAT down, Sun.  Apart from what has become a star studded starting lineup the Mystics are getting strong contributions from the bench and are now the team to beat.  Oh and Emma Meeseman returns in a week.
  2. Connecticut Sun (9 – 4) – The Sun had a shaky week on the road and have lost 3 in a row after starting 9 – 1.  De Ja Vu anyone?  The Sun started the 2018 season 7 – 1 before falling to 10 – 10 with a mid season rough patch.  Luckily they bounced back and won 9 of their last 10 but Curt Miller’s squad has to hope for more this season.  The top two seeds get important byes in the current wnba playoff format and the Sun aren’t likely to secure a top 2 spot if they fall to .500 again.
  3. Las Vegas Aces (7 – 5) – Aces’ fans can’t help but feel a little frustrated with how this year has gone.  They’re up, they’re down, they win, they lose.  If there’s one thing the Aces are, it’s inconsistent.  Former Number 1 pick A’ja Wilson dropped 39 on 14 – 20 shooting in a win against the fever.  Former Number 1 pick Kelsey Plum went 0 – 8 in that same game.  There’s no doubt the talent is there (I sound like a broken record).  What is it going to take to win a few in a row and find some separation from the rest of the pack?
  4. Seattle Storm (8 – 6) – The Storm continue to impress by winning with a “next woman up” mentality despite the growing injury list.  Jewell Loyd is out for 2 – 4 weeks with an ankle injury, so Sami Whitcomb steps up and drops 13, 6, and 5 in a tight home loss to the surging Mercury.  Presumably the Storm will get most of their stars back this year, but can the current crop keep them in the hunt for the top spots until then?
  5. Los Angeles Sparks (6 – 6) – The Sparks are 1st in my rankings among teams even at .500 because of what I expect from this group of talent.  They bounced back with a couple of wins this week against quality opponents in the Aces and Sky with the win against the Sky looking a bit more like the kind of score lines I was expecting from the Sparks this season.  Candace Parker is only going to get better as the season goes on.  Look out for a marquee matchup with Washington this week!
  6. Phoenix Mercury (5 – 5) – The Mercury are 2nd among teams even at .500 because Diana Taurasi isn’t back yet.  Odd that it was rumored Taurasi would return a week ago and still hasn’t played a minute.  I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see how good the Mercury are going to be when she returns.  Are they title contenders? Are they middle of the pack? Unclear.  In a season when every team has significant strengths, its going to be the teams that can squeeze out the close ones that will thrive and no one is better at that than Diana Taurasi.
  7. Chicago Sky (6 – 6) – The Sky have lost three in a row but all to quality opponents.  Despite the losses I am actually more of a believer in the Sky now than I was a few weeks ago.  I like the shooting, I like the pace of play, I like the team chemistry that continues to grow.  I question who they turn to late in a game when they need a bucket.  Do they have that player right now? You can say that anyone of the starters (and some bench players I might add) could be that player on any given night, but that’s also an indication to me that they simply don’t have that type of star right now.
  8. Minnesota Lynx (6 – 6) – The Lynx have played 10 straight games decided by a single digit scoring margin including a number of nailbiters, but that amount of tension day in and day out is going to wear on a young team still developing its new identity.  I expect this team to continue to hover around the .500 mark for the rest of the season.  It also wouldn’t surprise me to hear the Lynx mentioned in trade rumors later this summer as they will look to build the next potential dynasty.
  9. New York Liberty (5 – 7) – The Liberty are 5 – 3 in their last 8 after a slow start.  I expect them to challenge for a playoff spot, particularly when they get their overseas talent back in a week or so.  The identity of this team is starting to take shape with Tina Charles at the helm and strong, young, guard support from Asia Durr, Kia Nurse, and Brittany Boyd.  The future is bright for the Liberty.
  10. Indiana Fever (5 – 9) – The Fever have struggled of late losing 4 in a row after what many thought was a surprisingly positive start to the season.  But for the most part these losses have been tight.  They’ll need more consistency from their guards if they’re going to start winning those close ones, but veteran Candace Dupree has been an ageless wonder providing some much needed leadership and scoring.
  11. Dallas Wings (4 – 7) – Dallas won two out of three games this week that were all decided by 3 points or less.  Rookie sensation Arike Ogunbowale looks like she is starting to adjust to the league despite posting a 2 – 23 game in their lone loss this week.  And to me, Dallas looks like a team that recently remembered that they’re actually really talented.  Their record is more a reflection of how intensely competitive the WNBA is this year.
  12. Atlanta Dream (2 – 8) – The nightmare season continues for the dream who can’t seem to find any answers to a league overflowing with talent.  Shots aren’t falling, the defense doesn’t look sharp, and on the court leadership is lacking.  I expect the Dream to be involved in trade talks to move their veteran talent and get younger in a hurry.  The rebuild is on.

QotC Week 4 Power Rankings

Our WNBA Power rankings for Week 4 Monday, June 24:

  1. Connecticut Sun (9 – 2) – Despite a road loss on Sunday to the streaking Chicago Sky, the Sun continue to separate themselves as the elite team in the WNBA this season.  As the rest of the league says goodbye to some of their players to the European Championships, the Sun remain intact and strong.  Expect them to continue their run of dominance as the team chemistry spreads to a deep bench.  Burn it down indeed.
  2. Washington Mystics (7 – 3) – Two of the Mystics three losses on the season have come at the hands of the Sun, but the rest of the league should be on notice after Elena Delle Donne had a killer week looking very much in midseason MVP form.  They lose Meeseman to the Euros but have more than enough depth to continue winning until she returns.  Look for the Mystics to return to the WNBA finals this year.
  3. Seattle Storm (7 – 4) – Dan Hughes’ return to action breathes new life into his defending champs and the Storm remain undefeated at home after a tight win against Indiana.  Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd look like the second coming of Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird so the future is bright for a Storm team that has a knack for winning even without their injured stars.
  4. Chicago Sky (6 – 3) – If you’re like me, you’ve been hesitant to buy into the Chicago Sky this season as the frontrunners they’ve appeared to be, but after an 18 point win against the Sun, they’re turning some heads.  Diamond DeShields looks deadly in transition and the pace of game is propelling the sky to some high scoring games that they’re winning.  They have a tough week ahead with games against the Mystics, Storm, and Sparks but if they can take 2 out of 3, expect them to rise even further in these rankings.
  5. Las Vegas Aces (5 – 4) – The Aces split their games this week to stay ahead of the curve on the season but they’ll need more consistency if they’re going to make a deep playoff run.  The bench has been a strength for Las Vegas but they’ll need more from their number 1 picks (Jackie Young, A’ja Wilson, and Kelsey Plum) to challenge the league leaders.  Mark your calendar for Tuesday night at 10pm EST when the Storm visit the Aces live on twitter.
  6. Minnesota Lynx (5 – 5) – The Lynx remain in the fold challenging the top teams but look like they simply don’t have enough firepower to win consistently.  This year will be a monumental success if they reach the playoffs, win a game or two, and look forward to the return of Maya Moore next year and how scary they will be when Moore, Collier, and Fowles develop their chemistry.  The new era in Minnesota looks promising and Cheryl Reeve’s history of success will undoubtedly continue.
  7. Los Angeles Sparks (4 – 6) – The Sparks have lost 3 in a row since Candace Parker’s return and fans are starting to wonder what seems to be the problem.  On paper the Sparks appear to be among the most talented teams in the league, but something isn’t clicking.  First year coach Derek Fisher will likely be looked at if they don’t turn this season around.  With all the stars off the court this season, many thought the Sparks would be a shoo-in for the finals.  The picture is less clear now.
  8. Indiana Fever (5 – 6) – The Fever are winning games by committee getting contributions from whoever is hot that night whether it’s off the bench or in the starting five.  They’re routinely winning the battle on the boards but lead the league in fouls.  If they can clean up the foul trouble, maybe they can win a few more of the close ones.  Hard not to root for the Fever to make it back to the postseason for the first time since Catchings retired.
  9. Phoenix Mercury (3 – 5) – The Mercury teased a Taurasi return before reneging this past Sunday.  They emerged victorious against the struggling Sparks nonetheless and with Taurasi’s return on the horizon, expect the Mercury to rack up a few wins in short order and work their way back into the playoff picture.  Easy to forget the Mercury stretched the defending champion Storm the furthest in last years finals with a team that looks very much like the one on the court when Taurasi returns.
  10. New York Liberty (3 – 7) – The Liberty played two tight games this week but lost both.  Rookie sensation Asia Durr is beginning to find her confidence and Kia Nurse has developed into scoring threat from anywhere on the court when you need a bucket.  Brittany Boyd has been effective as the team’s primary point guard, but expect New York to look for another solid option at PG in next year’s draft.  I hear the Oregon Ducks have a decent point guard the Liberty could be targeting…
  11. Dallas Wings (2 – 6) – The Dallas Wings are searching for answers in the front court and everyone is getting a chance to step up.  Guard play will be this teams strength bolstered when Skyler Diggins-Smith returns, but rookie Arike Ogunbowale picks up right where she left off at Notre Dame putting up big scoring numbers, but requiring a lot of shots to do it.  Efficiency will be the key if Dallas is going to develop into a contender this year or beyond.
  12. Atlanta Dream (2 – 7) – The Dream have had arguably one of the most difficult schedules thus far in 2019 but will have a chance to reevaluate and regroup with 6 days off this week before a Sunday clash with the New York Liberty.  Reports that the dream wanted to trade all star Angel McCoughtry in the offseason support the hypothesis that they are tanking the season and in the midst of a rebuild.  Surprising news on the heels of a second place finish in 2018.  Time to look to the future.