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2024 WNBA Power Rankings (Week 3): Angel Reese and the Sky show mettle while steadily climbing

Heading into the weekend with almost four weeks of basketball played, there were not any major shifts at the top of the power rankings this week, but there has been some movement in the middle (looking at you Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky), and we’re starting to get a clearer picture of where each of the WNBA’s 12 teams stand. The Connecticut Sun are off to a historic 9-0 start and remain undefeated on the season. A’ja Wilson continues to lead the Las Vegas Aces and makes a very compelling early case for league MVP. The New York Liberty are looking like themselves again, and after playing the Liberty on Sunday, Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever got some much-needed rest. Tonight, will be the Fever’s first game played since Sunday.

WNBA Week 3 Power Rankings

These Power Rankings reflect where each WNBA team stands after week 3 of the 2024 season. Teams are ranked 1-12 and are grouped by tiers.

Past Rankings: Preseason, Week 1, Week 2

Tier 1 – (Contenders)

  1. Connecticut Sun (9-0) | Previous Rank: 1 – The Sun are still perfect at 9-0 on the season. They are the only undefeated team in the WNBA and are joining the historical ranks with their hot start. Only six other teams have started the season 9-0, and all of those six made it to the WNBA Finals. The Sun’s 88.1 defensive rating is currently best in the league, and as if the Sun weren’t already lethal enough, they signed Veronica Burton to the team after waiving Queen Egbo. The Sun traded for Egbo during training camp, but she only played in three games for the Sun and hadn’t really cracked the rotation in Connecticut. Burton, a guard known for her defense, will provide some backcourt depth for the Sun to relieve Ty Harris, who is averaging 30.6 minutes per game. With the addition of Burton and an undefeated record, is it any surprise the Sun are at the top of the rankings this week?

  2. Las Vegas Aces (5-2) | Previous Rank: 2 – The Aces went 2-1 since last week’s ranking. Their one loss came at the hands of a relentless Atlanta Dream team determined to prove they could hang with reigning champs. Things got a little chippy, but the Dream ultimately pulled out a close win. Despite that road loss, the Aces had dominant wins over the Minnesota Lynx and Dallas Wings. The Aces also bolstered their depth by signing veteran guard, Tiffany Hayes, after parting ways with rookie, Dyaisha Fair. Hayes made an immediate impact off the bench in her Aces debut with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes played against the Dallas Wings. With A’ja Wilson playing like the best player in the world and the return of Chelsea Gray looming, the two-time champions keep their number 2 spot in the rankings.

  3. Minnesota Lynx (7-2) | Previous Rank: 3 – The Lynx had their chance to overtake the Aces in the rankings when they played them head-to-head on May 29, but they lost and the Aces looked like the much better team in that matchup (and that was without Chelsea Gray). The Lynx will meet up with the Aces again on June 11 and will have another chance to prove they are ready to compete with the back-to-back champs, but until then, they will remain at number 3 after going 3-1 since last week’s rankings and dominating all of their other matchups (Mercury, Wings, Sparks).

    Another bright spot for the Lynx is rookie, Alissa Pili. Pili, had a breakout game, with a career-high 20 points, in a win against the Phoenix Mercury. A video of Pili went viral recently of her making a one-handed half-court shot in practice. Pili is also winning off the court. It was reported today that Nike signed her to an endorsement deal as a N7 athlete.

    1. New York Liberty (9-2) | Previous Rank: 4 – After going 5-0 since last week’s rankings, the Liberty move back up into the Contender tier. The Liberty do sit at number 2 in the league standings because they’ve played and won more games than both the Aces and Lynx, but all three teams have two losses and the Liberty have beaten up on teams they’re, quite frankly, supposed to beat (Mercury, Mystics, Fever, Sky, Dream). They do have a case to be ranked 3, but the Lynx beat them earlier this season and looked like the better team while doing it. So for now, the Liberty will remain at number 4 in the rankings.

    Tier 2 – (Good to Very Good)

    1. Seattle Storm (6-3) | Previous Rank: 5 – Seattle has weathered the storm after an inconsistent start to the season and are looking more like the team many envisioned when Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith signed in free agency to team up with Jewell Loyd. The Storm have won their last five games. Ezi Magbegor, the WNBA leader in blocks (three per game), feeling good after her recent contract extension, stepped up big for the Storm in their last game against Phoenix without Ogwumike (eye). Seattle will face their toughest challenge of the season tonight, on the road, going up against the Las Vegas Aces. The Storm’s three losses this season have all come against teams ranked in the Contenders’ tier (Lynx twice and Liberty), and they looked outmatched in all three of those games. Even if the Storm don’t beat Vegas tonight, how they fare against the Aces will be a good litmus test for how they matchup with the league’s top teams. The Storm will remain fifth in this week’s rankings. They do seem to be a notch better than the teams ranked behind them, who all have more losses, but they also don’t appear to be as good as the contenders ahead of them, who all have less losses, or in the case of the Connecticut Sun, no losses, and have also beaten them.
    2. Atlanta Dream (4-4) | Previous Rank: 8 – Another week and the Atlanta Dream still sit at .500 on the season. After going two games above .500 and pulling out their best win of the season against the Aces last Friday, the Dream then went on to lose their next two games against the Sun and Liberty in blowout fashion. Dream Head Coach, Tanisha Wright, didn’t hold back after the team’s loss to the Liberty. Wright was not pleased with the team’s effort in that loss. It’s not a knock against the Dream to lose to two of the top teams in the WNBA, but it’s the way they lost which is of more concern. They’re not even competitive in these games. So, while they do move up in the rankings and get credit for beating the Aces, their inability to string together multiple wins and be more competitive against better teams is why the Dream are sixth in this week’s rankings.

    3. Chicago Sky (4-5) | Previous Rank: 9 – The Chicago Sky continue to be a fun and interesting team; some might even consider them villains. Wherever you land, there’s no denying the Chicago Sky have our attention. Don’t let their record fool you. They’re a pretty good team and they’re figuring it out on the fly. The Sky have gone 2-2 since last week’s rankings, and one of their losses included a 1-point defeat to the Indiana Fever, with some controversy mixed in, after Chennedy Carter body-checked Caitlin Clark. Carter’s foul on Clark has been litigated in the court of public opinion. The backlash that ensued overshadowed the return of Kamilla Cardoso, who looked great in her WNBA regular season debut. If the Chennedy Carter saga wasn’t enough Chicago Sky drama, the league fined Angel Reese and the Sky for violations of its media policy. The team was subject to further scrutiny after comments Carter and Reese made to the media, and for some of Carter’s social media post(s). The team was also confronted outside of their hotel and Carter was peppered with questions about the incident with Clark. For a team with a new head coach in, Teresa Weatherspoon, a popular star rookie, in Angel Reese, another promising rookie, in Kamilla Cardoso and a polarizing, but ultra talented player, in Chennedy Carter, they move and talk like an experienced team and present a united front. They have a lot of eyeballs on them with all of the national media scrutiny recently, plus league fines, yet, they don’t seem to be phased by it. Weatherspoon has navigated her team, rather seamlessly, under the spotlight and has nailed all statements to the media, while also protecting her players in the process. The Sky have moved up one spot in the rankings each week and deference has been given to teams that are supposed to be better than them or have the bigger names, but it’s time to stop hedging and being conservative. Based on their play to this point in the season, seventh seems like the proper ranking for Chicago.

    1. Dallas Wings (3-5) | Previous Rank: 6 – The Dallas Wings are also a better team than their record suggests, but Satou Sabally (shoulder), is not expected to return until after the Olympic break in late August, and Arike Ogunbowale needs more help. Monique Billings has made a big difference for the team, while on a hardship contract, with Natasha Howard also out (foot). The Wings will likely need to figure out a way to keep Billings once Howard returns, but in the interim, she is helping. Dallas went 0-3 since last week’s rankings against the league’s best teams (Sun, Lynx, Aces), so the losses are understandable, but they must try and find a way to stay afloat until they are intact. The Wings are competitive in almost all of their games, but after dropping three in a row, they fall two spots this week to number 8.

    Tier 3 – (Potentially Good)

    1. Phoenix Mercury (4-6) | Previous Rank: 7 – In the preseason rankings, the Mercury were ranked tenth, which felt low, but sitting at nine this week, it doesn’t seem out of place now. The Mercury have shown signs this season that they can be good after starting 3-1. Kahleah Copper was playing like an MVP, and it appeared that the Mercury had been underestimated. However, since their hot start, the Mercury have struggled. They’re 1-5 in their last six games. Their one win came against a rebuilding, Los Angeles Sparks, which included a vintage Diana Taurasi performance, and the only competitive game of the losses, was against the Liberty. The Mercury are being outmatched. Brittney Griner cannot return soon enough, though it’s unlikely she will solve all that ails the Phoenix Mercury. They drop two spots and a tier in this week’s rankings.

    Tier 4 – (Rebuilders)

    1. Los Angeles Sparks (2-7) | Previous Rank: 10 – The Sparks showed early signs that they might be a little better than their record, but as Bill Parcells once said, “you are what your record says you are.” Notwithstanding their record, the Sparks are still a fun watch. Looking ahead at their schedule, it’s hard to see their third win coming soon. Sparks fans should go ahead and enjoy the great play of Dearica Hamby this season and their two rookie sensations, Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson. Both draft picks are having very good seasons so far and Brink is also capturing hearts off the court with some of her recent remarks.

    2. Indiana Fever (2-9) | Previous Rank: 11 – The Indiana Fever got their second win of the season last Saturday in what was supposed to be a showdown between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese to kick off the Commissioner’s Cup. Instead, as mentioned earlier, it was Sky guard, Chennedy Carter, who dominated the headlines after the Fever’s 1-point win. The Fever played the New York Liberty the very next day and lost convincingly. Caitlin Clark had her worst game of the year, scoring only three points, and it was very clear the Indiana Fever needed some rest. At that point having played a league-leading 11 games, the 5-day break was necessary for the team. The Fever return to action tonight, on the road, against the winless Washington Mystics. There’s a case for the Fever to be ranked one spot higher, but since they still have more losses than the Sparks, they will remain at number 11.
    3. Washington Mystics (0-10) | Previous Rank: 12 – The Mystics are still looking for their first win. Injuries to Brittney Sykes (ankle) and Shakira Austin (hip) have really hampered the team. Aaliyah Edwards, nonetheless, has been a bright spot for the team. Edwards has been performing well all season, but made WNBA history last night by becoming the sixth WNBA rookie with 20+ points, 14+ rebounds and 4+ blocks in a game. She’s also the first rookie in the 2024 class to have a 20-point, 10-rebound double double. The Mystics look to get their first win of the season on the second night of a back-to-back, against a very well-rested Indiana Fever team. For now, without any wins on the season, the Mystics remain at number 12 in the rankings.