Mercury maintain hold on top spot
With only four teams in the league sporting winning records, the movement in this week's rankings was minimal. Connecticut has won five consecutive games and continues to inch its way to the top of the pack.
Week 6 Power Rankings
1. Phoenix (9-3; last week: No. 1)
After beating the Lynx on June 15 for the first time since 2011, Phoenix scored its second win over Minnesota in four days. Brittney Griner leads the way, scoring a career-high 28 points Friday against Tulsa, and her 27 points and 18 boards helped offset Maya Moore's 36 points two days earlier. The win streak is at three games, and Griner is averaging five more points per game than she did last season.
2. Minnesota (11-4; No. 3)
Despite the two-game skid to Phoenix, Minnesota maintains the league's best record and ranks second in scoring (Lynx's 82.8 PPG trail only Phoenix's 85.3). Seven of its next 10 games are at home. The Lynx have won two straight and will look to double the streak with consecutive games against 6-10 Seattle.
3. Atlanta (9-4; No. 2)
The Dream remain two games ahead of the pack in the Eastern Conference but just had their franchise record-tying six-game win streak snapped by a loss at New York on Sunday. Four players are averaging double figures, and Shoni Schimmel isn't far behind at 8.7 PPG. Atlanta is also the league's top rebounding team at 38.3 per game; both Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza grab nine a game.
4. Connecticut (7-6; No. 5)
The Sun played only one game last week but won their fifth in a row. Connecticut's longest win streak in two seasons has moved the team into second place in the East after a 1-5 start to the season. In 2013, the Sun won just 10 games.
5. Indiana (6-6; No. 4)
So how do you make up for not having a player like Tamika Catchings in your lineup? Five Fever players are averaging at least nine points per game, and Indiana has the third-best defense in the league. Yes, the Fever haven't won back-to-back games since the first week of the month, but their win-loss-win-loss consistency has kept them at .500 and right in the middle of the East race. Rookie Natasha Howard is averaging an impressive 10.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
6. San Antonio (7-7; No. 9)
It's no coincidence that as Danielle Robinson's season rounds into form, the Stars moved above .500 for the first time in nearly a month with three straight victories, including two on the road. Robinson scored a combined 57 points on 49 percent shooting (20-for-41) in the three wins and is averaging 14.1 PPG on the season. San Antonio lost to Washington on Tuesday at home -- where it is struggling at 3-4 this season -- to fall back to 7-7.
7. Tulsa (5-7; No. 7)
Just when it looked like the Shock were righting the ship, winning four in a row, Tulsa hit the road and lost two games in as many days. Sunday's overtime victory at Chicago could be the turning point the team needs. Skylar Diggins -- playing in front of a lot of fans who cheered her on in South Bend -- scored a career-high 33 points, Glory Johnson added 22 and Odyssey Sims 18.
8. Chicago (6-7; No. 6)
Chicago has lost six of its last seven games (and is a woeful 5-5 at home), the lone win coming June 18 over New York. While we can't help but wonder what Chicago's record would be with a healthy Sylvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne, the Sky should really be thankful for Jessica Breland's All-Star season and the impact she's having.
9. Washington (6-9; No. 8)
It was a woeful week for Washington, which dropped three games in seven days before Tuesday's victory snapped a four-game losing streak. Granted, two of those losses were to East leader Atlanta and one was against Minnesota. In June, the Mystics have scored 67 or fewer points in five of their 11 games. Rookie Bria Hartley leads the way in scoring (11.1) but is one of only two Washington players averaging double figures. The Mystics are shooting 30 percent on 3-pointers (75-of-249).
10. Seattle (6-10; No. 11)
Seattle played its first two back-to-back home games of the season last week -- and both went to overtime. The Storm really felt they let one get away, losing by five points to San Antonio on June 19. Sue Bird and Camille Little made sure it didn't happen again Sunday; Bird hit the tying 3-pointer late in regulation, and Little scored nine of her 22 points in overtime as Seattle topped Washington 89-86 to snap a two-game skid. Seattle's defense ranks second in the league, allowing just 75.9 points per game. But the Storm offense ranks last in the league (71.6 PPG).
11. Los Angeles (5-8; No. 10)
The Sparks have won three games this month and committed a season-high 22 turnovers against San Antonio in their most recent loss. Los Angeles struggled to take advantage of its home swing, going 2-2. After the loss to the Stars, coach Carol Ross was disappointed that L.A. didn't make better adjustments to San Antonio's zone. "We were trying to jam it in when people weren't open. We were just forcing," she said. "If it don't fit, don't force it. It's just basic basketball. I don't care what level it is. We just weren't very good with decision-making in those instances."
12. New York (4-10; No. 12)
Go figure. The Liberty lost five straight and then ended the streak by beating one of the league's hottest teams: Atlanta.
MORE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Hoosiers coach Miller resigns after 21-win year
- Augustus nets 17 in return, powers hot Lynx
- Mystics survive bad 4th quarter to beat Shock
- Prince's 21 points help Sky hold off Dream