WNBA Power Rankings: There’s a new No. 1 (but let’s talk about Las Vegas’ struggles)

Chelsea Gray is still rehabbing an injury and hasn’t played this season. Fellow guard Jackie Young was ill and not with the team in Sunday’s loss. Coach Becky Hammon was ejected late in the game after two technical fouls.

And the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces are getting every opponent’s best shot.

It adds up to a 5-4 record and Las Vegas dropping to No. 7 in ESPN’s WNBA Power Rankings.

The Aces went 1-2 this past week, and it’s the nature of the Power Rankings that teams can move up and down dramatically week to week. The Aces could rocket back up soon, especially if they right the ship this week. They face the Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury and last season’s WNBA Finals opponent, the New York Liberty (3 p.m. ET Saturday, ABC). The Liberty, winners of seven in a row, replace the Connecticut Sun at No. 1.

Las Vegas star A’ja Wilson — who is the MVP front-runner — said after Sunday’s 96-92 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks that there are benefits to early adversity.

“Yeah, we’re in a lull right now, it doesn’t feel great,” Wilson said after the Aces got out to a 14-0 lead Sunday but still lost. “But we have to continue to stick together. If our locker room goes in shambles, than we have a bigger problem than just stat sheets and scoreboards.

“These times are heard, but I guarantee you they will not last forever. It makes you respect the game. Sometimes when you get those bright lights all the time and you’re winning, it kind of covers up and masks a lot of different things. But when that adversity hits, that’s when you really can tell who’s bought in vs. who’s not. Who’s real, who’s phony.”

Wilson’s stats are MVP real: She is the league’s best in scoring (28.3), rebounding (11.8) and blocked shots (3.0). Sunday, she had 31 points and passed the 4,000-point mark in her career, the third-fastest player in the league to reach the milestone (198 games).

She’s doing all she can, but the Aces miss Gray and Young, who struggled with sickness through a home loss to the Seattle Storm on Friday and then didn’t travel to Los Angeles for Sunday’s game. Rookie Kate Martin got her first start in place of Young, and finished with 13 points, a bright spot for the Aces.

“I particularly love for Kate to be in these situations,” Wilson said. “So when [the playoffs] roll around, it’s not a punch in the face. It’s familiar. You’ve been in the trenches.”

Previous rankings: Preseason | May 20 | May 27 | June 3



Previous ranking: 3gn arrow

This week: @ LV (June 15)

The Liberty are coming off a huge week: They won four games, three on the road, and handed Connecticut its first loss. They clinched home-court advantage in the Commissioner’s Cup final (June 25), where they will defend their title. They did all this despite point guard Courtney Vandersloot missing the past three games for personal reasons.

Breanna Stewart scored a season-high 33 points at Chicago. Jonquel Jones got her season high with 29 points against Washington. Sabrina Ionescu led the way with 24 points at Connecticut. Now the Liberty have all week to prepare for Las Vegas.


Previous ranking: 1rd arrow

This week: vs. IND (June 10), @ CHI (June 12), @ DAL (June 15)

After starting the season 9-0 with a win over Washington, the Sun lost their first game of 2024 on Saturday, 82-75 to New York. Connecticut had six players score in double figures vs. the Liberty, but the Sun’s defense let them down. Connecticut allowed New York to shoot 51.7% and was outscored 25-15 in the fourth quarter. But coach Stephanie White said the Sun have the veteran experience to not overreact to just one loss.


Previous ranking: 2rd arrow

This week: @ LV (June 11), vs. LA (June 14)

The Lynx were very close to being 10-1. On May 23, Minnesota fell 83-82 in overtime at Connecticut. Last Friday, the Lynx lost 81-80 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Phoenix. Minnesota’s only decisive loss this season was by 14 to Las Vegas on May 29.

Along with the heartbreaker at Phoenix last week, Minnesota got two wins: at Los Angeles and over Seattle. Lynx guard Kayla McBride is scorching the nets: She scored 70 points and made 16 3-pointers in Minnesota’s three games.


Previous ranking: 4sw ye 40

This week: vs. LA (June 11), @ DAL (June 13), @ PHO (June 16)

After wins over Phoenix and Las Vegas last week, the Storm lost just a little steam Sunday, falling at Minnesota to end a six-game winning streak. But overall the Storm’s chemistry has improved after they started the season losing three of their first four. Jewell Loyd had 65 points and 23 rebounds in the three games.

Previous ranking: 8gn arrow

This week: vs. LV (June 13), vs. SEA (June 16)

The Mercury went 2-1 last week, and center Brittney Griner made her regular-season debut after a toe injury. Phoenix fell at Seattle, got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win at home vs. Minnesota with Griner back on court and prevailed in double overtime at Dallas.

Kahleah Copper, who made the winning shot against the Lynx, led the Mercury in scoring in all three games, totaling 82 points. And while it hasn’t been officially confirmed by USA Basketball, Copper will join Mercury teammates Griner and Diana Taurasi on the U.S. Olympic team.

Griner had 11 points and 4 rebounds against Minnesota and then played 39 minutes with 24 points and 9 rebounds against Dallas.


Previous ranking: 6sw ye 40

This week: vs. WAS (June 11), @ IND (June 13), vs. LA (June 16)

The Dream stay put in the Power Rankings after a 1-1 week. They lost at New York but then bounced back with a victory at Chicago. Tina Charles had a season-high 22 points against the Sky. She did all she could to frustrate Sky rookie post Angel Reese in the game, but then offered her some friendly encouragement afterward, which Reese said she appreciated. Charles is averaging 12.9 points and 9.1 rebounds and has been big addition for Atlanta this season.


Previous: 5rd arrow

This week: vs. MIN (June 11), @ PHO (June 13), vs. NY (June 15)

The Aces won their WNBA championships in 2022 and 2023 with a team that stayed pretty healthy. That is, until the WNBA Finals last season, when they had to overcome the absence of Gray (foot injury) to win the decisive Game 4. Gray is still working her way back and hasn’t played yet this season.

An ill Young battled through 28 minutes in last Friday’s loss to Seattle, going 1 of 12 from the field, then didn’t make the trip to Los Angeles for Sunday’s loss. And as great as Wilson has been (96 points, 31 rebounds in three games last week), the Aces will benefit a lot by getting back to full strength at the guard spot.


Previous ranking: 10gn arrow

This week: @ SEA (June 11), @ MIN (June 14), @ ATL (June 16)

Things didn’t look good for the Sparks after their 86-62 loss to Minnesota at home last Wednesday: At that point they were 2-7 and struggling on offense. But Los Angeles rallied to finish the week with two impressive victories: against Dallas and Las Vegas.

It’s hard to imagine where the Sparks would be this season without Dearica Hamby, who is averaging 20.6 points and 11.6 rebounds. Now comes a major test: seven consecutive games on the road. The Sparks won’t play again in Los Angeles until July 2.


Previous ranking: 9sw ye 40

This week: vs. CON (June 12), @ WAS (June 14), @ IND (June 16)

The Sky went 1-2 last week and lost starting center Elizabeth Williams to a knee injury. That put Kamilla Cardoso into the starting lineup, where she joined fellow rookie Angel Reese. That duo should be a big part of Chicago’s future; Reese already has proved her rebounding prowess translates to the WNBA (9.6 RPG).

Guard Chennedy Carter came off the bench for her season high in points (25) in the Sky’s victory over Washington.


Previous ranking: 11gn arrow

This week: @ CON (June 10), vs. ATL (June 13), vs. CHI (June 16)

The Fever finally got a chance to spend a few days practicing and resting after opening the season with 11 games in 20 days. They had just one game last week, and they played it in a sold-out (20,033) Capital One Center at Washington — the biggest crowd in the league since Game 5 of the 2007 WNBA Finals. Caitlin Clark scored 30 points and tied the rookie record for 3-pointers in a game with seven.

That night, news leaked that she had not been selected for the Olympic team, starting a vigorous debate. On Sunday, Clark said she will be rooting for Team USA in the Paris Games and that her main focus is improving with the Fever.


Previous ranking: 7rd arrow

This week: vs. SEA (June 13), vs. CON (June 16)

The Wings have had a rough last two weeks. They’ve lost five in a row and plummeted in the Power Rankings. Sunday’s double-overtime loss at home to Phoenix was especially hard to take. The positives? Guard Arike Ogunbowale, who has led Dallas in scoring in every game, is second in the WNBA at 26.6 PPG. And Maddy Siegrist, in her second season, has started to blossom as a scorer and is averaging 14.3 PPG. But the Wings have to figure out how to start winning games again.


Previous ranking: 12sw ye 40

This week: @ ATL (June 11), vs. CHI (June 14)

The Mystics are another team that has to figure out how to win, but they’ve been pretty close. Of their four losses last week, three were by single digits. That included pushing our No. 1 team, New York, to the buzzer in a 93-88 loss Sunday. The biggest bright spot so far: rookie Aaliyah Edwards, who had the best week of her young career. She averaged 14.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in the four games.

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