WNBA Energy Rankings — Chicago Sky up, Seattle Storm down and Connecticut Solar take over No. 1 spot

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9:30 AM ETMechelle VoepelESPN.com CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, girls’s school basketball, and different school sports activities for espnW. Voepel started overlaying girls’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.The defending champion Chicago Sky simply had their finest week but of the 2022 WNBA season, giving them momentum for his or her upcoming highway journey east. It moved the Sky up a few notches on this week’s WNBA Energy Rankings, and units up a giant matchup Friday in opposition to the Connecticut Solar, our new No. 1 staff which moved as much as the highest spot after a gritty 3-1 West Coast highway journey.The Sky, like many WNBA groups, are nonetheless placing collectively the items after late arrival/damage points contributed to a 4-3 begin. However after three victories this previous week, take a look at the Sky now. They’re very balanced offensively, with seven gamers averaging between 13.8 and eight.9 factors. That does not embrace veteran guard Allie Quigley (7.9 PPG), who remains to be discovering her recreation after coping with a knee damage.Coach James Wade favored what he noticed in Sunday’s 91-82 victory over the Washington Mystics. Candace Parker had a double-double, three gamers had six assists (Parker, Emma Meesseman and Courtney Vandersloot) and 9 gamers scored a minimum of seven factors. The way in which the Sky moved the ball and shot it (55.4%) made them extremely onerous to protect.”The chemistry’s constructing,” Wade mentioned. “Extra time collectively, gamers getting comfy, communication’s constructing. And only a constant buy-in of your leaders.”2 RelatedWade additionally made this level about 6-foot-4 ahead Meesseman, who’s in her first yr in Chicago: As huge a contribution as she will make offensively, she can also be superb defensively.”Emma’s onerous to play in opposition to on the defensive finish,” Wade mentioned. “She’s in a position to exit and never solely cease her man but additionally assist others as nicely. That is what we’d like from that place: a variety of mobility, toughness and simply disruption.”Fellow Belgian standout Julie Allemand, a guard, is anticipated to hitch the Sky later this week as they journey to Washington, Connecticut and New York. The matchup with the Solar on Friday would be the first of 4 between the groups that met within the semifinals final season.”I feel as a staff, we’re nonetheless looking for the stream, however at the moment was a extremely good step ahead,” Meesseman mentioned after the victory over the Mystics.Earlier rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4play0:18The Solar storm into the lead after a 3-pointer by Jonquel Jones.1. Connecticut SunRecord: 9-3Previous rating: 2The Solar and the Aces cut up their much-anticipated back-to-back conferences, so it is not as if the Aces actually did something unsuitable to drop from the No. 1 spot. However Connecticut deserves a “reward” for its prowess within the Pacific time zone. That features rallying within the fourth quarter to beat each Phoenix and Seattle. The Solar had 32 factors within the last interval in opposition to the Storm on Sunday, and confirmed off their highly effective inside recreation as Jonquel Jones, DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones mixed to complete with 67 factors, whereas Alyssa Thomas was two factors in need of a triple-double.This week: vs. Indiana (Wednesday), vs. Chicago (Friday)Expertise the 2022 WNBA season like by no means earlier than with the primary full-featured fantasy league recreation devoted to an expert girls’s sport. Get a staff or begin a league at the moment!.Join free!
2. Las Vegas AcesRecord: 10-2Previous rating: 1The video games in opposition to the Solar felt playoff-worthy, and the second matchup specifically was very bodily. Aces guard Jackie Younger, who’s having a spectacular season, suffered an ankle damage early within the fourth quarter, and her absence the remainder of the way in which after scoring a season-high 26 factors made a giant distinction. Guard Chelsea Grey needed to depart that recreation late after getting hit within the face, however she was again for Sunday’s victory over the Wings. Younger remains to be out, however the timing helps: The Aces play simply as soon as this week. Guard Kelsey Plum can also be placing on a present; she scored a season-high 32 factors Sunday and has led the Aces in assists eight of their 12 video games, together with the final 5 in a row.This week: at Los Angeles (Saturday)Kahleah Copper (team-high 13.8 PPG) and Chicago (7-3) have received three consecutive video games and are two video games behind league-leader Las Vegas within the WNBA standings.¬†Wealthy von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire3. Chicago SkyRecord: 7-3Previous rating: 5So far, the Sky’s bench has been an asset, and that can be much more the case when Allemand arrives. Chicago bought 35 factors from its reserves Sunday in opposition to the Mystics, led by guard Dana Evans’ 12. She mentioned Wade’s recommendation to her is, “He simply at all times tells me to be myself. For me, it is simply being some extent guard first after which determining what I have to do, if that is scoring or getting any individual the ball.”Quigley hasn’t been capturing like herself so far (6 of 27, 22.2%, from 3-point vary) after getting back from the damage, however Wade is assured that can change. “I inform her I imagine in her … it may come again,” Wade mentioned. “She’s one of the best shooter I’ve ever coached; it is about her getting her timing and her rhythm.”This week: at Washington (Wednesday), at Connecticut (Friday), at New York (Sunday)4. Atlanta DreamRecord: 7-4Previous rating: 7The Dream went 2-1 final week, with wins over Minnesota and Indiana, and proceed to be probably the most nice shock of the WNBA season. Sunday’s victory in opposition to the Fever was a showcase for Nia Coffey, who had her second double-double (16 factors, 10 rebounds) of the season and third of her six-season WNBA profession. The ahead out of Northwestern is in her second go-round with Atlanta (she spent the 2019 season there) and to date has been a key a part of the Dream’s beginning lineup.This week: at Seattle (Tuesday), at Phoenix (Friday)play0:16Tianna Hawkins throws down the strikes for a pleasant bucket5. Washington MysticsRecord: 7-5Previous rating: 3It was a disappointing 1-2 week for Washington, particularly a loss at dwelling to New York during which the Mystics had been outshot 11-5 from behind the arc. Ahead Elena Delle Donne performed in that recreation, however then rested and did not make Sunday’s journey to Chicago, which was additionally a loss. Washington will get one other shot on the Sky this week. Coach Mike Thibault has been out resulting from well being and security protocols.This week: vs. Chicago (Wednesday), at Minnesota (Friday), vs. Phoenix (Sunday)6. Dallas WingsRecord: 6-5Previous rating: 6Frustration can get one of the best of us, and that occurred to Wings star Arike Ogunbowale in a loss at Los Angeles. She went to the road with lower than a second left and an opportunity to tie the rating, however missed the primary free throw after which pump-faked the second for a capturing violation. Ogunbowale vented by kicking the prolonged scorer’s desk, however then bounced again with 16 factors and 6 rebounds as Dallas beat Seattle. A Sunday loss at Las Vegas made it a 1-2 highway journey for the Wings, however they keep put within the energy rankings.This week: vs. Seattle (Friday), vs. Seattle (Sunday)play0:19Sparks’ Brittney Sykes shakes off a defender with a crossover and will get to the rim for a basket.7. Los Angeles SparksRecord: 5-7Previous rating: 8After Ogunbowale’s misadventure on the foul line derailed a possible additional time, the Sparks grabbed the victory over Dallas after which appeared to increase Phoenix’s shedding streak. However a loss on the highway Sunday to the Mercury — heart Liz Cambage had a season low in factors (eight) and minutes (13) — left Los Angeles with a 1-1 week. The excellent news was defensive stalwart Brittney Sykes had two of her finest offensive video games, with a mixed 38 factors and 9 assists. Now, how will the Sparks react to elevated observe time, as they’ve simply two video games over the following two weeks?This week: vs. Las Vegas (Saturday)8. Seattle StormRecord: 5-5Previous rating: 4The Storm went 0-2 and are sitting at .500, which isn’t the place they anticipated to be in early June. COVID-19 has had an affect with Sue Chook and Ezi Magbegor being out three video games every. And heart Mercedes Russell simply returned for final week’s video games in opposition to Dallas and Connecticut after lacking the early a part of the season with an non-basketball damage. Chook and Magbegor had been again in opposition to the Solar, and Seattle had a 67-61 lead going into the fourth quarter. Then Connecticut shredded the Storm’s protection for 32 factors and the win. Pretty much as good because the Solar are, that is not a nasty loss, however Seattle is hoping to remain wholesome and get again to the staff the Storm suppose they are often.This week: vs. Atlanta (Tuesday), at Dallas (Friday), at Dallas (Sunday)9. Minnesota LynxRecord: 3-8Previous rating: 10Two of Minnesota’s three wins so far are in opposition to New York, which tells you it has been a tough season for the Lynx. They play the second of their back-to-back video games at New York on Tuesday after beating the Liberty on Sunday. That adopted a loss at Atlanta during which the Lynx had 24 turnovers, nearly twice as many because the Dream. A 1-1 week is not the worst, after all, nevertheless it retains the Lynx treading water under a playoff spot.This week: at New York (Tuesday), vs. Washington (Friday), vs. Indiana (Sunday)play0:18Skylar Diggins-Smith crosses over then pulls up for 210. Phoenix MercuryRecord: 3-8Previous rating: 11The Mercury lastly may let loose a sigh of reduction as they beat Los Angeles on Sunday — following losses to Chicago and Connecticut earlier within the week — and ended a seven-game skid. However even the 2 defeats appeared like steps ahead. Diana Taurasi was ejected for complaining to officers within the second quarter at Chicago, however the Mercury misplaced to final yr’s WNBA Finals opponent by simply three factors. Then they led the Solar for a lot of that recreation earlier than it bought away within the last minutes. After scoring simply 5 factors with the early exit within the Windy Metropolis, Taurasi had a mixed 51 factors and 11 assists in opposition to the Solar and Sparks. Skylar Diggins-Smith additionally totaled 51 factors in these two video games. Once they’re each scoring, issues go far more easily for the Mercury.This week: vs. Atlanta (Friday), at Washington (Sunday)play0:16Sabrina Ionescu connects on a 3-pointer from approach past the arc.11. New York LibertyRecord: 3-8Previous rating: 12At final, it was a very good week for the Liberty, who went 2-1. They moved decisively out of final place within the Energy Rankings, and would have jumped up even additional had they defeated Minnesota at dwelling on Sunday. Because it was, their wins over Indiana and at Washington had been confidence-builders. And it was a notable stretch for guard Sabrina Ionescu, who led New York in scoring all three video games with 23, 24 and 31 factors.This week: vs. Minnesota (Tuesday), at Indiana (Friday), vs. Chicago (Sunday)12. Indiana FeverRecord: 3-10Previous rating: 9With new coach Carlos Knox settling in, the Fever had a tough 0-3 week with losses to Washington, New York and Atlanta. In brief, after the feel-good second of Indiana profitable Knox’s debut on Might 27, after they scored 101 factors, the Fever then averaged 71.6 PPG of their three losses. Kelsey Mitchell has been a constant scoring risk (19.5 PPG), and rookies NaLyssa Smith, Queen Egbo and Emily Engstler are all averaging a minimum of 7.0 rebounds. However Indiana now could be within the cellar.This week: at Connecticut (Wednesday), vs. New York (Friday), at Minnesota (Sunday)

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