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Sport WNBA Power Rankings: Seattle Storm are back on top

12:31  02 june  2021
12:31  02 june  2021 Source:   fansided.com

Sabrina Ionescu Records New York Liberty's First-Ever Triple Double

  Sabrina Ionescu Records New York Liberty's First-Ever Triple Double Sabrina Ionescu's first WNBA triple-double is also the first for New York Liberty and only the tenth in league history. The WNBA's 25th season is underway, and the fireworks of the historic campaign haven't stopped thanks to a young No. 1 overall pick. Sabrina Ionescu has only played six WNBA games since the 2020 draft, and she's now made New York Liberty and league history. The 23-year-old became the youngest player in WNBA history to record a triple-double, tallying just the tenth in league history. It marks her first professional triple double and the first in Liberty history as well.

As injuries and attrition take their toll on the league's top teams, the Seattle Storm have pushed their way back to the top of the WNBA Power Rankings.

  WNBA Power Rankings: Seattle Storm are back on top © Provided by Fansided

After Sunday, every WNBA team has a win now, as the Minnesota Lynx managed to get out of the cellar with their first victory of the season, an overtime victory over the Connecticut Sun.

But, will that win shake things up in our power rankings this week? Minnesota was set to be last in the rankings and Connecticut first before that game. What's changed now?

Where does each team rank in this week's WNBA Power Rankings?

Yep, we have a change at 12! The Fever have lost three in a row after their win over Washington and were blown out Sunday by the Aces, falling 101-78. Teaira McCowan is finally starting to consistently look as good as many expected after her dominant college career, but one has to wonder what's going on with the rest of the team.

The WNBA’s Rising Stars Are Taking Center Stage

  The WNBA’s Rising Stars Are Taking Center Stage The first week of the 2021 season has been jam-packed with stellar performances from the likes of Sabrina Ionescu & Co., Arike Ogunbowale and A’ja Wilson. Each Thursday this season, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Pickman is diving deep into the WNBA story lines you need to know.The Liberty had waited 575 days between the announcement of their impending move to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and their home opener Friday night against the Fever. In the intervening months, few moments were as important as the night of Sept. 17, 2019.

First-round pick Kysre Gondrezick is still playing little, and 2020 first-rounder Lauren Cox is playing even less. Add in that Kelsey Mitchell is shooting 38.6 percent from the field — the third time in four seasons she's shot under 40 percent — and, well…let's just say that I expect this is the final time this season that there's a change at the 12 spot.

The Wings have now lost four in a row after a season-opening victory. They don't have two of their best players right now because of the Olympic 3×3 stuff, but once Allisha Gray and Satou Sabally are back, there's going to be some upside here. Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale make up one of the most interesting backcourts in the WNBA, but there are some questionable lineup decisions that lead us to wonder what the identity of this team really is.

COVID protocol-related absences: 05/23/21

  COVID protocol-related absences: 05/23/21 Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in COVID-19 Protocol. Here is today’s list: St.St.

Against Phoenix, Charli Collier was the only rookie to play more than five minutes and Kristine Anigwe led the bigs in minutes. Is this a team that can compete for a playoff spot when everyone is back? Is it a team heading for the lottery that needs to play the young players more? I don't know!

As I said above, Minnesota was penciled in as the No. 12 team in the rankings, but then they got that overtime win over Connecticut. Is it an overreaction to move them up two spots?

No! They have Napheesa Collier back and just shored up the backup point guard position by signing Layshia Clarendon, who had 12 points in their Lynx debut and hit the three in overtime to give Minnesota the lead.

This is a team that just felt like it needed to get that first win and they'd get things moving in the right direction. Well, they've got it. There's too much talent here to assume they won't get back into the playoff picture as soon as possible.

WNBA Power Rankings: Can anyone slow down the Connecticut Sun?

  WNBA Power Rankings: Can anyone slow down the Connecticut Sun? The Connecticut Sun were supposed to be a fringe contender without Alyssa Thomas. Instead, they've been a juggernaut, rising to the top of this week's WNBA Power Rankings. We’re now over a week into the 2021 WNBA season and things are starting to solidify as more and more teams re ach full strength. The Sparks and Lynx are both surprisingly struggling, with a combined record of 0-5. The Liberty are 4-1. And the Connecticut Sun have stunned everyone, rolling out to a 5-0 start.

Yikes.

Chicago is without Candace Parker (ankle) and Allie Quigley (hamstring), and it's showing. They've lost four in a row, with the league's second-worst offensive rating over that time. For a team that was supposed to be built around scoring, that's obviously bad. But without Quigley to stretch the floor and Parker to make impressive outlet passes and score from everywhere, things aren't running smoothly. Turnovers in particular are becoming an issue, with a 25.7 turnover percentage during the losing streak.

Like the Sky, the Mystics are without a top player right now, as Elena Delle Donne is still sidelined with a back injury. But led by Tina Charles, having a throwback season in which she's averaging 26.7 points per game, the Mystics are a competitive team. They also just added Myisha Hines-Allen back, shoring up a hole at the four that was becoming a little too apparent. There is a huge question mark here because EDD should be back soon but there's no guarantee of that. Still, Washington seems a little better prepared to weather this stretch than Chicago does.

All In on Five: Betnijah Laney, Sabrina Ionescu have Liberty rolling past expectations

  All In on Five: Betnijah Laney, Sabrina Ionescu have Liberty rolling past expectations The New York Liberty (5-1) are the most surprising story of the young 2021 campaign. The success goes beyond the return of 2020 No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu, but in explaining the team’s best season-opening streak since 2007, the triple-double queen is a good place to start. Ionescu was named the first Eastern Conference Player of the Week after her historic triple-double and showed again Monday night how she earned it. The former Oregon superstar will do whatever is needed that night for the team, whether it be scoring in droves or dishing out no-look assists or pulling down rebounds. And you don’t want to get in a close game against her.

Huge move this week for the Sparks, even though I don't really know how I feel about it. After losing their first two games in such a way that advanced metrics pretty firmly pegged them as the league's worst team, they stormed back to .500 with two wins over Chicago.

But…what do wins over the Parker-less Sky mean? That team has lost four in a row, and Los Angeles is still full of question marks. Sure, Nneka Ogwumike is having a strong season, but this is a team that had to start Bria Holmes and Arella Guirantes on Sunday, so things are…unsettled.

For now, the two-game winning streak moves them from 12th to 7th in the rankings, but this spot feels tentative. I want to see Los Angeles against a team that isn't struggling as much as Chicago.

Phoenix will be without Diana Taurasi for a while still because of a sternum injury, but they've gone 1-1 so far without her. Megan Walker has moved into the starting lineup and is giving the Mercury some solid minutes, while Brittney Griner has been on fire in the past two games, shooting 75 percent from the floor with a pair of 27-point games. Look: Griner's a star in this league, but there's still a lot of people who believe there's another level she can rise to. The early returns with Taurasi out? That's that level. The big question now is if Griner can keep this up.

Adidas Writing New Chapter With Growth of WNBA Roster

  Adidas Writing New Chapter With Growth of WNBA Roster Adidas has doubled its investment in its WNBA roster of athletes over the past year. View the original article to see embedded media.Erica Wheeler could utter the same two words: “That’s me!” The Sparks guard was nearly rendered speechless in April as she got a first look of herself on a larger-than-life Adidas billboard that spans the side of a building in Los Angeles. Anyone driving along the adjacent interstate highway can see Wheeler’s photo accompanied by the phrase “Impossible is Nothing,” the name of Adidas’s latest campaign and all the same a representation of Wheeler’s unique journey to the WNBA.

Despite losing to the Dream on Saturday, New York learned an important thing: if Sabrina Ionescu is struggling, there are other players who can step up and fill the void. Rookie Michaela Onyenwere had 29 points. Sami Whitcomb was shooting the lights out of the ball. Oh, and New York's actual best player, Betnijah Laney, extended her streak of games with 20 or more points to seven. This is a fun team that shoots threes and runs the floor and plays some really solid defense. I think some people got fooled early on into thinking they were a little better than they are, but I see no reason to think they'll fall out of the playoffs. Ionescu will have some learning pains and the rest of the team will have to continue stepping up to help them weather those games where defenses manage to bother her.

Huh?

What?

How?

The Dream have won four consecutive games. After losing their head coach just before the season tipped off and then dropping their first two games, it looked like Atlanta was heading for the lottery. Again.

But Courtney Williams is shooting 54.5 percent from three over the past four games. Tiffany Hayes is scoring 19.5 points per contest during this span. Crystal Bradford went from out of the league to being a solid contributor. A Chennedy Carter elbow injury threatens to derail things, but for now, Atlanta's playing like a top-four team over the past week.

The Aces have now won three games in a row. After a slightly shaky start, Vegas is right back where we expected they'd be: in the hunt for a WNBA championship.

Over the last three games, Dearica Hamby is shooting 70.4 percent from the floor. Chelsea Gray is averaging 8.7 assists and 2.7 steals per game. Jackie Young is living up to the hype of being the No. 1 overall pick in 2019. And Liz Cambage isn't even up to speed yet, as she's played just 23.3 minutes per game during the winning streak. There are still plenty of reasons to wonder about how Liz and A'ja Wilson work next to each other and what that does to Vegas' spacing, but right now the talent is leading to wins.

The Wings Have Arrived Sooner Than Expected

  The Wings Have Arrived Sooner Than Expected With a young core led by Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas could be playoff-bound ahead of schedule. © Provided by Sports Illustrated Each Thursday this season, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Pickman is diving deep into the WNBA story lines you need to know. With 4.5 seconds to play in the Wings’ second consecutive road game against the Storm this past Sunday, Dallas guard Arike Ogunbowale received an inbounds pass on the left wing with her back toward the basket.

Connecticut lost in overtime to a winless team, so they're dropping a spot because it seems like that should be a rule. They aren't dropping a second spot yet, though the Aces are right there in the rearview mirror.

The Sun are getting some great contributions from a lot of places. Jonquel Jones and DeWanna Bonner are the obvious ones, but Brionna Jones is making a case for Most Improved Player, and Natisha Hiedeman is making a slightly lesser case for the award, as well. Rookie DiJonai Carrington is also giving the Sun some really good bench minutes.

We got some unexpected news on Sunday, as the Storm announced that head coach Dan Hughes was retiring and Noelle Quinn was replacing him. That's a seismic shift, but Quinn's got a lot of experience as a player and an assistant coach. She also has something that not many other teams have: two bonafide MVP candidates. Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd are playing some of the best basketball of their careers right now and have the Storm as the only one-loss team in the W. I still have some of the same concerns I've had since the offseason about depth in Seattle and who takes the load off Stewie and Loyd when they need someone else to emerge, but for now, this team is playing like the league's best team.

Vikings' Mike Zimmer: Players not vaccinated against COVID-19 will have 'harder time' this season .
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said those who don't receive shots will only make things more difficult for themselves throughout the summer and fall months. He explained:"The unvaccinated players are going to have a harder time in the season. They’re going to be wearing masks, they’ll have to social distance. They’ll have daily testings. They won’t be able to go home for bye week. They’ll have to come back here and test every day."When we go on the road, they won’t be able to go out to dinner with anybody. They’ll have to travel on buses differently, travel on planes differently.

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