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2024 WNBA Power Rankings (Week 2): Caitlin Clark scores 30 in loss; Sun rise, Lynx loom

Two weeks of glorious basketball has been played so far in the 2024 WNBA season, which is just enough to start getting a sense of how the league’s 12 teams are faring. Caitlin Clark has experienced some growing pains, which was to be expected, but the main takeaway is that she will be just fine and the Fever (1-7), while only having one win on the season, seem to progress with each game. As far as the top team in the W? It’s only been a couple of weeks, but the Connecticut Sun (6-0) hold the top spot for now, with the Las Vegas Aces (3-1) looking to reclaim their throne and the Minnesota Lynx (4-1) on the heels of both teams. Here’s a breakdown of power rankings after the second week of WNBA action.

WNBA Week 2 Power Rankings

These Power Rankings reflect where each WNBA team stands after week 2 of the 2024 season. Teams are ranked 1-12 and are grouped by tiers.

Past Rankings: Preseason, Week 1

Tier 1 – (Contenders)

  1. Connecticut Sun (6-0) | Previous Rank: 1 – The Sun sit at a perfect 6-0 on the season and are the only undefeated team currently in the league. Led by their floor general, Alyssa Thomas, the Sun’s defense has been very pesky, boasting a defensive rating of 91.5, which is currently second best in the WNBA. Their offense isn’t too shabby either, with an offensive rating of 104.4, for third best in the league. The Sun are getting contributions from multiple players, and it shows in the variety of ways they’ve been able to win a lot of close games this season. Three of their last four games have been decided by four points or less. The Eastern Conference Player of the Week, DeWanna Bonner, is averaging 20.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game this season. She was critical in the Sun’s win on the road against the Chicago Sky after Alyssa Thomas was ejected in the third quarter for a flagrant foul 2 on Angel Reese. Bonner took over the game like the seasoned veteran that she is to lead the team to its fifth win to remain unbeaten on the season. DiJonai Carrington, a likely early candidate for Most Improved Player, is excelling as a starter this year averaging 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Her two-way versatility has been great for the Sun. She was lauded for her excellent defense on Caitlin Clark in the Sun’s season opener and has even demonstrated some blocking prowess early on in the season. Brionna Jones seems to have settled in after a few games and has scored 51 points over her last three games on 23-for-36 shooting from the field. Couple that with great point guard play and three-point shooting from Tyasha Harris and it all adds up to the Connecticut Sun at number one.

  1. Las Vegas Aces (3-1) | Previous Rank: 3 – Why are the reigning champs sitting at number two? Look no further than the absence of their All-Star point guard, Chelsea Gray. The Aces are capable of winning games without Gray. They had to do it at the highest stage in game 4 of the WNBA Finals just last year, and they’ve already won three games this season without her, but they didn’t look like their usual selves, particularly on defense, in their first three games, which included a homecourt loss to the Phoenix Mercury. Becky Hammon didn’t hold back when discussing her team’s early play this season. With no timetable for Gray’s return provided, the Aces will have to continue to adjust to life without Gray for the foreseeable future. Despite this, the Aces are still very formidable with the best offensive rating in the league of 109.9; they just don’t look as unstoppable anymore. In the interim, players on the team will have to step up. A’ja Wilson is averaging 25.5 points (third in the league), 12.8 rebounds (first) and 2.3 blocks per game (third), all while shooting 50% from the field. Jackie Young, who has had to take over some of Chelsea Gray’s duties while she’s out, is averaging 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game. Kelsey Plum is also chipping in with 20.8 points and 5.5 assists per game. Rookie Kate Martin, out of University of Iowa, seems to be fitting right in with the Aces and is providing great impact off the bench. Multiple players contributed to their bounce back win over the Fever on Saturday. That will be the formula until Chelsea Gray returns, but with A’ja Wilson leading the way, they’re likely to remain at the top of these rankings. For now, they are number two.

  1. Minnesota Lynx (4-1) | Previous Rank: 4 – The Lynx may be playing the best basketball in the Association. Their only loss of the season was in overtime to the Connecticut Sun by one point, and their wins have been against worthy opponents in the Seattle Storm, New York Liberty, and Atlanta Dream. Their average margin of victory in their four games is 13 points and their net rating of 11.6 is only second to the Connecticut Sun (12.8). It’s no surprise the Lynx are performing so well behind the stellar play of Napheesa Collier, who is averaging 23 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4 assists per game and is making an early case for league MVP, according to her coach, Cheryl Reeve. The Lynx certainly could have been second in this ranking, but deference was given to the reigning champs. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long to see how the two teams matchup because the Lynx, with the best defensive rating in the league of 91.2, will be going head-to-head at home tonight with the defending champs. As already mentioned, the Aces top the league in offensive rating at a whopping 109.9. A victory against the two-time champs would be a statement win for the Lynx and would likely warrant ranking the Lynx ahead of Vegas, but until then, the Lynx will remain at number three, which is one rank higher than they were last week.

Tier 2 – (Good to Very Good)

  1. New York Liberty (4-2) | Previous Rank: 2 – Something seems off with the New York Liberty. Coming off a Finals appearance, the team seems to have taken a step back. They’ve dropped their last two games to the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx, respectively, and never really seemed in control of either game. Their two most dominant wins this season came against the Indiana Fever, who have only won one game so far this year. They escaped their season opener against the Washington Mystics, who are 0-6. Their best win so far this year came against the Seattle Storm, who were struggling themselves to start the season. Breanna Stewart is averaging 19.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, which is down from her MVP season last year (23 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.8 APG). Their offense seems to go stagnant at times, but despite that, the Liberty are still fourth in offensive rating (103.7), fourth in defensive rating (95.5) and overall, third in net rating (8.3). The Liberty are still a very good team and look to bounce back tonight when they play the Phoenix Mercury at home. All of this could be an overreaction, and the Libs are likely to get back to their winning ways, but back-to-back losses cannot be overlooked and that is why they have dropped two spots since last week and are currently ranked fourth.

  1. Seattle Storm (4-3) | Previous Rank: 8 – The league’s newest superteam got off to a bumpy start, going 1-3 in their first four games and 3-0 in their last three. It’s hard to know what to make of this team. Their three losses came at the hands of the Minnesota Lynx (twice) and New York Liberty, who are two of the top teams in the WNBA. Their four wins were against the Washinton Mystics (twice), Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky, who have a combined three wins on the season. The bringing together of three stars in Jewell Loyd, Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith, usually will take some time to gel, which is understandable. Jewell Loyd went through a brief shooting slump to start the season and then unfortunately for Indiana, found her shot when the Storm faced the Fever in their third game of the season. Ogwumike, who is averaging 19 points on 62.5% from the field, and 7.6 rebounds, was sidelined for two games after injuring her ankle in a double overtime loss to the Lynx. In their win against the Mystics on Saturday, the trio provided a glimpse of what the future may look like for them once they develop more on-court chemistry. Clearly, the Storm are a work-in-progress, but they’ve looked much better in their last three games, which is why they moved up three spots to number five in this week’s rankings.

  1. Dallas Wings (3-2) | Previous Rank: 7 – The Wings are a tricky team to evaluate because they are missing Satou Sabally (shoulder), and she is not expected to return until after the Olympic break in late August. In addition, after their first game of the season, Natasha Howard, another key rotation player, broke her foot and is expected to miss 3-6 weeks. The Wings should still have enough to sustain, but that puts a larger load on Arike Ogunbowale, who is currently averaging 28.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Arike can at times be a high-variance player, but she will have to continue to play at a very high-level for Dallas to withstand until Sabally and Howard return. Fortunately, the Wings were able to sign Monique Billings to a salary cap hardship contract after Howard’s injury and she’s already making a difference for the team. The Wings are likely to remain in this middle-of-the-pack ranking until Sabally and Howard return, but they did move up one spot from last week to number 7.

  1. Phoenix Mercury (3-3) | Previous Rank: 5 – After starting 3-1 on the season, the Phoenix Mercury went 0-2 in blowout losses to the Dallas Wings and Connecticut Sun, respectively. After losing to the Sun last night, the Mercury have a brutal road schedule for the next few games. They are playing the New York Liberty tonight in a back-back, then face the Minnesota Lynx on Friday and conclude the weekend at home against the Sparks. Kahleah Copper had a quiet game last night in the Mercury’s loss to the Sun, but she’s been leading the way for this new-look Sun team, which is why she was selected Western Conference Player of the Week. Until Brittney Griner returns from her toe fracture, Diana Taurasi and especially Kahleah Copper, will have to sustain a high-level of play. Fortunately for the team, Griner was spotted at practice without a walking boot, so it appears that she is progressing, and help is on the way, but currently, there is no reported timeline for her return. The Mercury did beat the Aces earlier this season, so they’ve demonstrated the ability to compete with a top team in the league, but until they get back on the winning track, they fall to number 8 this week in the rankings.

  1. Atlanta Dream (2-2) | Previous Rank: 6 – The Atlanta Dream sit at .500 on the season, and they’ve pretty much played like a middle-of-the-pack team. They win a game, then lose a game and based on their upcoming schedule, it seems like that trend is likely to continue. They play the 0-6 Mystics tonight and then face the Aces and Sun at home on Friday and Sunday, respectively. It would be great if the Dream could string together a few wins in a row. To do that they will need Rhyne Howard and Allisha Gray to lead them along with veteran Tina Charles. The team is without their starting point guard, Jordin Canada, who has yet to play this season due to a hand injury, which is impacting them. Her ability to score and pass will help to create so much more offense for this team when she does return, but the Dream will need some help from their existing supporting cast to get some more wins and move ahead in the power rankings. For now, they drop to number 6.

Tier 3 – (Potentially Good)

  1. Chicago Sky (2-3) | Previous Rank: 10 – The Chicago Sky are a fun and interesting team. Early observations are that they are good and may be better than many expected. Even though their record is one game below .500, they have beaten the New York Liberty, twice if you count the preseason, and hung in there with the Connecticut Sun. They’ve lost to and beaten the Dallas Wings. The only game where they appeared outmatched this season, was last night against the Seattle Storm. They’re doing all this without their third pick in the Draft, Kamilla Cardoso. Cardoso was injured in her WNBA preseason debut. Initial reports were that she would miss 4-6 weeks due to the shoulder injury she sustained. However, the timetable has been pushed up and it appears that Kamilla will be returning on June 1, just in time for the Sky’s matchup with Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever. Meanwhile, Angel Reese notched her first double double last night in a loss to the Seattle Storm and she continues to be an offensive rebounding machine. She’s grabbed 24 offensive boards through five games so far this season, which accounts for 12.5 percent of her team’s misses. At the WNBA Draft, Kamilla Cardoso said “nobody’s gonna get no rebounds on us” referring to herself and Angel Reese, and she may just be right. Couple that with the additions of Marina Mabrey and Chennedy Carter to the team, who provide shooting and scoring off the bench, respectively, and that’s how you get a team with the potential to sneak into the playoffs. The Sky may be better than ninth, but this ranking feels appropriate at the moment.

Tier 4 – (Rebuilders)

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (2-4) | Previous Rank: 9 – The Sparks are another interesting team that could maybe move back up to Tier 3. The final scores in their six games played so far this season don’t tell the full story. The Sparks have been competitive in every game they’ve played so far this year, but they haven’t been able to close them out. Crunch time execution is usually something rebuilding and/or young teams struggle with, which the Sparks are a combination of, with veterans like Dearica Hamby, Kia Nurse and Lexie Brown mixed in. Chances are the team will get better at closing out games as the season progresses. Cameron Brink is off to a great start in her rookie season. She had a career-high 21 points on Saturday in a loss to the Indiana Fever. Additionally, her defense and rim protection does not disappoint. Brink is averaging nearly three blocks per game through six games. Sparks rookie, Rickea Jackson, is also having quite the start to the season and got her first career start last night in a win over the Indiana Fever. Jackson is currently averaging 10 points per game on 50% shooting from the field. Both Brink and Jackson are shooting 43.8% and 46.2%, respectively, from the three-point line. The Sparks are also still expecting Azurá Stevens back this season. The Sparks have a lot of moving parts, and do have the potential to move up, but for now, their current ranking is 10.

  1. Indiana Fever (1-7) | Previous Rank: 12 – Caitlin Clark won her first WNBA game on Saturday against the Los Angeles Sparks in front of a sellout crowd of 19,103 at Arena. After winning her first game, the very next day, Clark got to face off against her best friend and former Iowa teammate, Kate Martin, who plays for the Las Vegas Aces. Kate Martin walked away with the win, but the bond the two share was on full display when they embraced ahead of the game. Last night Clark scored 30 points, this time in a loss to the Sparks. Individually, Caitlin is achieving many milestones, however, the Indiana Fever continue to struggle to win games. It’s eight games into their season and the Fever have only won a single game. Caitlin Clark and Aliyah Boston are still learning how to work together. Fever Head Coach, Christie Sides, has changed the starting lineup so the team can play at a faster pace with Temi Fagbenle. Their remaining schedule this week includes the Storm, Sky and Liberty. It’s hard to look at any upcoming games on their schedule and pencil in a win. While the team continues to preach patience and grace, it’s hard not to wonder if frustrations are rising, but growing pains are part of the process. For any other rookie coming into the league, they would be able to grow and develop on a team without media attention and scrutiny, but Caitlin Clark is no ordinary rookie, and a lot of parties are invested in her success. Despite the losing record, the team has improved with each game, even if it’s not reflected in their record. Due to their modest improvement, they also moved up one spot in these rankings to number 11.

  1. Washington Mystics (0-6) | Previous Rank: 11 – The Mystics are still searching for their first win of the season. Part of their struggles are due to losing Brittney Sykes in their second game after injuring her ankle. Shakira Austin has also missed two games and when she does play, she has been on a minutes-restriction due to injury management for her hip. Some bright spots for the Mystics this season have been Aaliyah Edwards, sixth pick in the WNBA Draft, and 31-year-old rookie, Julie Vanloo, playing well as starters. Except for their last game, in a loss to the Seattle Storm, the Mystics have been competitive in games. They are just struggling to close out opponents. Once Sykes returns to the team and Shakira Austin can play more regular rotation minutes, the Mystics should be able to get some wins, but until then, they are likely to remain at number 12.